Speakers Push Air

New Wine In Old Bottles.
January 13, 2008, 1:55 pm
Filed under: MP3

A confession. All three of these tunes I first heard on Mark Lamarr’s Saturday morning (or Friday night, if you prefer – midnight – 3am) show on Radio 2. But then probably 50% of all the best ‘new’ (to me) music arrives via that show – whatever people’s feelings about Lamarr are (largely based on Buzzcocks, it seems – and for the record, I like the guy a lot), he really knows his stuff, he’s utterly immersed in it. His genre shows – the rock’n’roll one, the reggae one, the sixties / garage one – they’re all good. But the Friday show – God’s Jukebox – is the only essential listening I have in any week. 3 hours for him to cover gospel, blues, reggae, hip hop, ska, country, garage, soul, some jazz, a bit of indie.. And it’s rare that I dislike more than a handful of songs a week.

ANYWAY… here’s three tracks he’s played of late that have a fantastic vintage quality – without, I think, slipping into pastiche.

It turns out that Magic Sam, the man behind For Old Time’s Sake, told me about CW Stoneking a while ago. But I was drunk. So I heard Stoneking first on Lamarr. Perhaps the most ‘authentic’ (whatever that means) of the artists featured, Stoneking is a real curiosity. His wikipedia biog starts

“Stoneking was born to American parents in Katherine, Australia in 1974 and raised in the Aboriginal community of Papunya until the age of 9 and then in Sydney where he began playing the guitar at the age of 11. In 1997 he moved to Melbourne after some years living in Mailors Flat near Warrnambool in rural Victoria and began performing as a solo blues guitarist and singer in the 1920s-30s style.”

He refers to himself as a hokum player (a new one for me) and his finest album, King Hokum, is the source of this track, which I think is just wonderful.

CW Stoneking – Goin’ The Country
from the album King Hokum (Inertia)

Next up are Ollabelle (Levon Helm from The Band’s daughter, or something). I’m mostly in agreement with Lamarr about Ollabelle – this track is spine-tinglingly marvellous, and nothing else they’ve done comes close. I’m not as dismissive of the rest as he is – there’s some decent stuff, especially on self-titled album this comes from – but it’s still not on a par with Before This Time.

Ollabelle – Before This Time
from the album Ollabelle (Sony)

Probably the best known of the 3 act here (in the UK at least) are Kitty, Daisy & Lewis. Three ludicrously young, ludicrously photogenic north London teens from a musical family, they seem steeped in all the good stuff – rockabilly, swing and jump jazz, country – and have a slavish, Toerag-esque love for analogue, bakelite and pomade

Their debut album is a long time coming, I do worry how much of the attention on them is age-related and that they might be considered unremarkable once they’ve all passed voting age, but nonetheless they are really, really good. Some decent original material, faultless choices when it comes to cover versions and a genuinely raw and spirited energy to their recordings (and, based on the one time I’ve seen them, their shows).

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – Ooo Wee
from the compilation A-Z: Kitty Daisy and Lewis: the Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll  (Sunday Best)

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