after a brief 31-year hiatus…

…legendary British post punk band Local Heroes (SW9) are back in the studio and recording a third album, this time going by the name Commoner.

This site is often pretty sleepy, but since singer-guitarist Kevin Armstrong has been hanging about here lately, site stats have jumped, and I am getting a lot of hits on my original SW9 post in which I sang the praises of their first two albums from 1980-81.

Who reforms a band after 31 years? A certain ode springs to mind….

They shall grow not old, as we grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

Although photographs of the trio on Kevin’s website do show the  lads looking somewhat more aged than their previous incarnation but they ain’t no MTV boy band so who cares, right? Is the music any good?

The preview track from the forthcoming third LP can be accessed by going here.

What do I think? Hard to tell from only one track but I like it so far. The guitar and voice reminds me of King Crimson on the albums Beat and Discipline, which is a fair turn-around from the trio’s first two records, but who knows what they’ve been listening to in the last 31 years? Generally, the song has the same melodic intelligence that the first two records had, but the bass is playing less of a role, I miss that personally, I loved the bass playing on the other records.

Looking forward to hearing more to see how the whole thing is going to fit together.

Steve.

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Remember Me, Marlena

We had an Easter Monday Jam with the Posse of Wonderful (variously called Law of the Sea, The Night Terrors, Grown Man Cry, or Hey Let’s Play Some Music.)

In amongst all the Beatles etc, one of the tracks was a version of Sinnerman, which I find is a spiritual made popular by the Weaver’s long before Nina Simone got to it. Our version of it rocked out at about seven minutes, still well short of her epic version.

In the same mood and the same key, we did a bang up job of Blue Boy”s Remember Me, that 90’s dance hit with the sample from Marlena Stewart’s Woman of the Ghetto.

I find that my wife, despite not being at all a woman from the ghetto, can really pull off quite a believable version of this. I have had it in my head ever since.

Our version was actually much better than this…

Here’s the original Marlena Stewart live track. Our version was not much better than this. How could you be?

You can download the mp3 here:

Woman Of The Ghetto

Hayes and Cahill: P. Joe’s Reel

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill look like a couple of old geezers, don’t they?

Apparently they met in the eighties playing in a jazz fusion band – go figure – but found a mutual love for Irish music. I haven’t heard their first album The Lonesome Touch but I’d like to. I have this, their second album, on high rotation in the house and car. It puts me in a good mood most times I put it on. They have done other records, but not together, so I believe.

Hayes’ playing is kind of slower and less flamboyant than a lot of other Irish fiddle stuff I have heard, but there are soulful swoops and touches to replace the sound of the virtuoso’s burning fingerboard. But for me, Cahill’s playing is what really makes it work out. It’s all voicings of the same five or six chords we all play, but Cahill always picks the perfect inversion for the particular moment in the tune. And the sound he gets brings out echoes of harp, lute, and banjo, and goes well beyond the standard steel string strum-along that sits behind so much Irish fiddle playing.

All up, these guys are really worth a listen. It’s all instrumental and all quite slow and soft, but it’s groovy, too.

This particular tune is apparently a Scottish dance set but to me it sounds kind of American. I can see it as the instrumental track to some coming to America story, the first time an immigrant sees Boston, or something of that sort.

P. JOE’S REEL MP3

Weaver’s Ghost Demo

Another Luker and Southern demo for ya. This one is a slow tune for Emma to do some more of her WALL OF VIOLIN work with multiple distorted violin parts.

The beginning has a verse straight away in this version, but if we do a full version, I’d like an Irish whistle solo before the singing starts.

Vox on the demo still a bit dodgy but other than that I kinda like the boomy sound and would want to do something similar on a proper version.

The Weaver’s Ghost mp3 to download

Incidentally, the chords / melody at the end of each verse are from an English trad tune called the Weaver and the Factory Maid. I love this song immensely, probably my favourite Maddy Prior tune. It was important to me at around the time my Dad died so I think that is why the lyrics to my version have ended up being about that.

Steeleye Span – The Weaver and the Factory Maid mp3 to download

Cheers,

GSS.

Barlinnie Reel and Fishers Hornpipe

These are some Luker and Southern demos I’m putting up so Emma and Jeremy Phillips can have a listen and play along.

They aren’t real hot quality wise, but the songs will get there in time.

Barlinne Reel is about a nutter in jail. It is based on the Glenville Reel I blogged about a few months ago. Harmony in the chorus.

Long Gone Running in Old Barlinnie

Nobody Knows If I’m Lower or Higher

Been Locked Up for Twenty Mississippi

Play Me a Reel and I’ll Set You On Fire

 

Fisher’s Hornpipe (Didn’t Catch a Thing) is kind of about how fishing can be lame because it gives people too much time to talk to each other. It’s to a well known Turlough O’Carolan tune.

Heart Like a Steel / Window of Love

Heart Like a Steel

Window of Love

Two mixdowns of a semi-serious recording session with Michael and Louise, a few Sundays back.

The mixes still have alive quality but in with the process was far more careful and procedural than the rather haphazard wine and cheese influenced sessions this group is used to having. Next jam session might be one of that other kind.

Songs, guitar, vocals – Michael H

Bass, Louise, Steve on a later overdub

Banjo, percussion, mixing – Steve

Enjoy all, and Merry Xmas

S.

Use a Kleenex, Solve World Problems

OK, so, I admit to liking Billy Idol’s first band, Generation X. They were fun and “punky” and all about the hair, and generally they were not to be taken seriously and there’s a place for that. Their first record (the only one worth a mention) came out in 1979, as the band cheerfully rode that wave of second-rate commercialism that came through after the fist wave of English punk bands had either given up or gone arty. And personally I do not blame them at all. Someone else would have done it, and probably done it much worse. At least Idol can actually sing, his lyrics were kind of funny and cynical and took the piss out of commercialism while also embodying it, and, the band wrote decent power pop tunes to back it up.

They got semi-popular in the UK but never made it in the US or Europe, and although they always feature on those interminable ‘Spirit of Punk’ singles compilations, they are otherwise not referenced that often in the history of the times, probably because they were so utterly inconsequential.

That is, until Green Day started covering their ballad “Kiss Me Deadly” in concerts, and that same song got put on the end of a major summer movie, SLC PUNK.

Now, the U.S. is full of geeky teenagers learning to play that riff on acoustic guitars, and talking about the original Gen X version as “the SLC version”, and getting paid out by “real punks” who still have the thing on vinyl, and can remember when Billy Idol’s sneer hadn’t set and become permanent.

How funny, to think of this cheesy commercial pop-punk band being held up as “old school”, and potential new fans of the band being called poseurs. I wonder if anyone has actually said “I was into Generation X before they were cool!” yet.

Dudes, they were never cool. Just look at them for godsake.

Anyway, I chose not to put Kiss Me Deadly on here, but two other tracks from that record, both in player and mp3. Enjoy.

GENERATION X -From the Heart

GENERATION X –

GENERATION X – Kleenex

What you gonna do next
What you gonna do now
Use a Kleenex!!!

Wipe out sex – Kleenex
Better than love – Kleenex
John Paul George – Kleenex
Governments use Kleenex!!!

Use a Kleenex, solve world problems
Better blow your nose right now!!!