Levon Helm – Electric Dirt (2009)

FrontCover1Electric Dirt is the final studio album from American musician Levon Helm, released in 2009. It is the follow-up to his Grammy-winning 2007 album Dirt Farmer. In Uncut’s list of the 150 best albums between 2000 through 2009, Electric Dirt was listed 80th. It won the first ever Grammy Award for Best Americana Album, an inaugural category in 2010. (by wikipedia)

In a musical career that has spanned six decades, Levon Helm has made more than a few excellent albums working with other folks — most notably as drummer and vocalist with the Band, as well as backing Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, John Martyn, Rufus Wainwright, and literally dozens of others. But as a solo artist, Helm’s record has been considerably spottier, with well-intended disappointments outnumbering genuine successes, so it’s good to report that at the age of 69, Helm has found his second wind as a recording artist, cutting two of his most satisfying solo sets in a row. Following 2007’s excellent Dirt Farmer, Electric Dirt is every bit as impressive and finds him sounding even stronger than he did on that comeback set. Dirt Farmer was Helm’s first album after a bout with throat cancer nearly silenced him, and his vocals sounded firmly committed but just a bit strained; two years on, Helm’s voice is nearly as supple as it was during his days with the Band, and even when it shows signs of wear and tear, his sense of phrasing and his ability to bring the characters in these songs to life are as good as they’ve ever been.

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While Dirt Farmer leaned toward acoustic music in the Appalachian tradition, Electric Dirt aims for a broader and more eclectic sound; “Golden Bird” sounds as if it could have been gleaned from the Harry Smith anthology, but the opening cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Tennessee Jed” swings with a solid New Orleans groove like an outtake from the Rock of Ages concerts, a pair of Muddy Waters numbers are subtle but passionate acoustic blues, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” is joyous gospel-infused R&B, and “White Dove” is fervent and heartfelt traditional country. Larry Campbell, who co-produced Dirt Farmer, returned for these sessions, as did most of the same band, bringing a similarly organic touch to the music, and the bigger sound of this album seems to suit everyone involved, with Helm’s drumming sounding especially lively and well-grounded. And though Helm only wrote two songs for this album, they’re two good ones, especially “Growin’ Trade,” a tale of an aging farmer who has taken to raising marijuana, and what could easily have been played as a joke is a moving account of one man’s conscience as it wrestles with his heritage and love of the land. Not unlike his old buddy Bob Dylan from Time Out of Mind onward, Levon Helm seems to have rediscovered his knack for making great records in what some might have imagined would be the latter days of his career; Electric Dirt sounds fresh, emphatic, and as effective as anything Levon has cut since the mid-’70s, and one can only hope he has a few more discs in him just this good. (by Mark Deming)

But … this was his last album … what a great album ! What a great good bye …

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Personnel:
Larry Campbell (guitar, vocals, fiddle, mandolin, dulcimer)
Levon Helm vocals, drums, mandolin)
Byron Isaacs (bass, background vocals)
Brian Mitchell (keyoards, harmonium, accordion)
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Steven Bernstein (horn, cornet, trumpet on 01., 07. 10. + 11.)
Jay Collins (saxophone, vocals on 01., 06., 07., 09. + 11.)
Clark Gayton (trombone, tuba on 01., 07. 10. + 11.)
Amy Helm (bass, drum, vocals on 02. – 04., 06., 07., 09. – 11.)
Howard Johnson (tuba on 01., 07. + 11.)
Erik Lawrence (saxophone, trombone, tuba on 01., 07., 10. + 11.)
George Receli (background vocals on 04.)
Catherine Russell (vocals on 11.)
Jimmy Vivino (organ, guitar on 01. + 02.)
Teresa Williams (autoharp, guitar, vocals on 01 – 04., 06., 07.  + 09. – 11.)

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Tracklist:
01. Tennesse Jed (Garcia/Hunter)
02. Move Along Train (R.Staples)
03. Growin’ Trade (Campbell/L.Helm)
04. Golden Bird (Traum)
05. Stuff You Watch (Morganfield)
06. White Dove (Stanley)
07. Kingfish (Newman)
08. You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Ever Had (Morganfield)
09. When I Go Away (Campbell)
10. Heaven’s Pearls (A.Helm/Leone/Isaacs/McBain/Patscha)
11. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (Taylor/Lamb)
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Levon Helm (May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012)

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Pete York And The Susie Who Swing Revue – Same (2009)

FrontCover1Munich, the metropolis with a heart, is putting fresh swing into, well, swing. With her exceptional voice and charisma, the young singer Susie Who (born May 9, 1978) is captivating a fast growing group of fans among swing and jazz aficionados. Composer and producer Dietmar Kawohl and drummer legend Pete York, one of the world’s best drummers, have already discovered her great talent. Still, the singer remains authentic and keeps dazzling her audience with her natural charm. It’s no wonder that swing fans and event organizers are listening up whenever her name is mentioned: Susie Who!

In December 2004, the singer from Munich had the idea to sing a song, put it on a CD and give it to her grandmother. At the time, she did not even remotely expect to be able to hold her first swing album in her hands only two years later. The debut album featured SusieWho01top-class musicians and was produced by Dietmar Kawohl, who created compositions for Boney M. Milli Vanilli, No Mercy, David Hasselhoff, Joana Zimmer and others, and Johan Daansen (Meat Loaf, Scorpions, Peter Maffay, Kelly Family). Even back then, the young singer from Munich was an insider’s tip among swing experts. Today, her natural charm and exceptional voice have captivated a fast growing audience.

Pete York is one of the world’s most renowned and versatile drummers. He made a name for himself as drummer of the Spencer Davis Group. Since 1964, the native Brit has performed on stage with some of the greats of rock, blues and jazz, such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Winwood and Eddie Hardin (Hardin & York). He has also been very successful as a solo artist. For several years now, he has been a member of Helge Schneider’s live band.

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December of 2008 brought a great moment for an extraordinary combination, when Susie Who crossed paths with Pete York. After several jam sessions at the studio, they decided to create the project “Pete York and the Susie Who Swing Revue”. The debut album of the same title was released in the spring of 2009. “Pete York and the Susie Who Swing Revue” perform songs from the current CD and popular swing classics in clubs and at exclusive functions.

This is a perfect old fashioned jazz-album … dedicated to all the great musicians … from that period !

And it´s of course another rare Pete York recording.

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Personnel:
Susie Who (vocals)
Pete York (drums, percussion, vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studiomusicians
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Barbara Dennerlein (organ on 02.)
Torsten Goods (guitar on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. Let’s Make A Baby Tonight (Raab) 3.51
02. Angels Only Live In Heaven (Kawohl) 3:18
03. I Only Want To Say That I Love You (Kawohl) 2:45
04. The Best I.n Life (Kawohl) 4.36
05. It’s A Disaster (Kawohl) 3.07
06. Loop De Loop (Kawohl) 3.23
07. One Night With Marilyn (Kawohl) 3.03
08. Someone To Watch Over Me (G.Gershwin(I.Gershwin) 2.44
09. My Heart Cries Mayday 3:28
10. You Belong To Me (Price/King/Stewart) 3.28
11. I Fall In Love Too Easily (Styne/Cahn) 3.06
12. The Ballad Of A Real Poor Boy 3:05
13. Misty (Garner/Burke) 3.04
14. Ring A Ding Ding (Van Heusen/Cahn) 3.29
15. Age Is Just A Number 2:34
16. Susie Is My Name 2:27
17. Drum Solo (York) 4.16

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Various Artists – The Twilight Saga – New Moon (OST) (2009)

FrontCover1The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is the official soundtrack for the 2009 film The Twilight Saga: New Moon. The score for New Moon was composed by Alexandre Desplat while the rest of the soundtrack was chosen by music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, who also produced the Twilight soundtrack. The New Moon – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album was released on October 16, 2009[3] by Patsavas’ Chop Shop label, in conjunction with Atlantic Records.

 
New Moon’s soundtrack comprises songs that are all original and exclusive to the soundtrack and are performed by various indie rock and alternative rock artists. New Moon director Chris Weitz stated that the soundtrack would feature songs from Radiohead, Muse, and Band of Skulls. Death Cab for Cutie contributed the soundtrack’s lead single, a song written specifically for the film called “Meet Me on the Equinox”, which debuted September 13 during the MTV Video Music Awards Bassist Nick Harmer says, “We wrote ‘Meet Me On the Equinox’ to reflect the celestial themes and motifs that run throughout the Twilight series and we wanted to capture that desperate feeling of endings and beginnings that so strongly affect the main characters.”[6] The music video for “Meet Me on the Equinox” premiered on October 7, 2009 and includes clips from the movie.[7] The English rock band Muse contributed a remix of their song “I Belong to You”, which appears in its original form on their 2009 album The Resistance. St. Vincent collaborated with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon to create a song called “Rosyln”. When describing the song, she said, “[Justin] sings in his beautiful falsetto and I’m actually singing very, very low… I think there’s something vampirey and creepy about the two of us singing together. It’s a simple, stripped-down kind of song.” The soundtrack originally had a release date of October 20, 2009, but the date was moved up four days to October 16 due to “overwhelming and unprecedented demand”. (by wikipedia)

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After Twilight became a world-wide hit, the film series based on Stephenie Meyer’s series of vampire romance books got a major upgrade. More time, effort, and money were poured into the second film, New Moon, and nowhere is this clearer than the film’s soundtrack. New Moon’s music is darker, more sophisticated, and much more indie-friendly than its predecessor’s soundtrack, and features more of the artists Meyer credits for inspiring her writing. One is Muse, whose “I Belong to You (New Moon Remix)” is so dramatic that it’s easy to hear how the band inspired Meyer’s angst-filled love triangle between the clumsy yet somehow irresistible Bella Swan, her vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen and her best friend (and werewolf) Jacob Black. Meyer also cites Radiohead as a big influence, and Thom Yorke’s previously unreleased “Hearing Damage” is New Moon’s main attraction.

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Drifting in on buzzing synth bass, the song builds to luminous, ghostly heights that make it one of the album’s highlights. However, it’s not the only one: Death Cab for Cutie’s “Meet Me on the Equinox” is more brooding and rock-tinged than the band’s usual approach, but it fits in beautifully with New Moon’s sullen mood, while the close harmonies and piano on the Killers’ “White Demon Love Song” inject some much-needed drama. Indeed, despite the fact that this soundtrack is more musically satisfying, and certainly more star-studded than the first film’s, Twilight felt more like the world Meyer created in her books — melodramatic, earnest, definitely not reeking of indie rock cool. Even if nothing here nails that vibe the way that Paramore’s “Decode” did, Lykke Li’s “Possibility” and Anya Marina’s “Satellite Heart” still offer winsome indie folk backgrounds for Bella’s moping. Despite a few upbeat moments that stick out like a thumb that isn’t sore, songs like Grizzly Bear and Victoria Legrand’s “Slow Life,” Editors’ “No Sound But the Wind,” and Bon Iver and St. Vincent’s lovely, truly odd “Roslyn” are morose enough for die-hard Twilight fans and stylish enough to please the most discerning music snobs. (by Heather Phares)

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Tracklist:
01. Death Cab for Cutie: Meet Me on the Equinox  3.41
02. Band of Skulls: Friends 3.03
03. Thom Yorke: Hearing Damage  5.04
04. Lykke Li: Possibility 5:06
05. The Killers: A White Demon Love Song 3:34
06. Anya Marina: Satellite Heart 3:33
07. Muse: I Belong to You [New Moon Remix] 3:12
08. Bon Iver and St. Vincent Bella: Roslyn 4:49
09. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Done All Wrong 2:49
10. Hurricane Bells: Monsters 3:16
11. Sea Wolf: The Violet Hour 3:32
12. OK Go: Shooting the Moon 3:18
13. Grizzly Bear featuring Victoria Legrand: Slow Life 4:21
14. Editors: No Sound But the Wind 3:48
15. Alexandre Desplat: New Moon (The Meadow) 4:09

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Klaus Voormann & Friends – A Sideman´s Journey (2009)

FrontCover1A Sideman’s Journey is the first solo album by German musician and artist Klaus Voormann, released in July 2009. Voormann is best known as the creator of the cover art for The Beatles’ album Revolver as well as for being a much-in-demand session musician during the 1970s. He played bass on a large number of well-known albums by ex-Beatles John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr − including All Things Must Pass, Imagine and The Concert for Bangladesh − and by artists such as Harry Nilsson, Doris Troy, Lou Reed, Gary Wright, Carly Simon and Randy Newman. Before then, Voormann had been a member of the 1960s pop group Manfred Mann. A Sideman’s Journey is notable for including performances by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), among others.
The album features cameos by musicians Voormann had worked with in the past, as well as remakes of songs that he contributed to back in the late ’60s and the ’70s. Three songs by his late friend George Harrison are included, as is a track Voormann co-wrote with soul singer Doris Troy for the latter’s 1970 album on The Beatles’ Apple label. Paul McCartney sings and plays piano on the opening track, “I’m in Love Again”. Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens) sings and plays guitar on “All Things Must Pass”. Bonnie Bramlett provides vocals on “My Sweet Lord” and “So Far”.

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Ringo Starr plays drums on many of the tracks, but he declined an offer to sing his trademark song, “You’re Sixteen”; Voormann instead selected a younger singer (Max Buskohl) to do the vocals, and to ensure that A Sideman’s Journey would include musicians from all age groups. Most of Voormann’s old band Manfred Mann now performing as The Manfreds, re-recorded their 1968 hit single “The Mighty Quinn”. (by wikipedia)

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“A Sideman’s Journey” is a nice record. I guess it was about time for Klaus to put together an album. It is certainly enjoyable as a straight ahead pop fest with some good players doing some good songs. It doesn’t break any new ground, and I’m sure it wasn’t meant to. It reflects Klaus’s journeyman work accompanying so many people. He plays bass on most of the songs, and the album includes one song he wrote with Doris Troy (“So Far” sung by Bonnie Bramlett, although Klaus doesn’t play on it for some reason).

There are 11 songs. Bonnie Bramlett, Yusef Islam, and Don Preston have two each. I would have limited them to one, and got other folks for three other numbers. The cover art is great, as you would expect from Klaus. I get the feeling this was a project Klaus (or someone close to him) wanted him to do now that he is in his 70s — a bit of a vanity project, not that there is anything wrong with that. I don’t expect him to rush right out and record volume 2. Highlights: Dr. John and the Manfreds. (by Dr. Mike)

What a wonderful old-fashioned album with a fascinating line-up … from Bonnie Bramlett to Joe Walsh and not to forget the wonderful Dr. John !

McCartneyVoormannPaul McCartney + Klaus Voormann


Personnel:
Bonnie Bramlett (vocals)
Max Buskohl (vocals, background vocals)
Carl Carlton (guitar,  slide-guitar, background vocals)
Mike D’Abo (organ, vocals)
Cassiano De Sa  (guitar)
Dr. John (piano, vocals)
John Fohl (guitar, vocals)
Grant Geissman (guitar)
Kelvin Holly (guitar)
David Hood (bass)
Mike Hugg (piano)
Yusuf Islam (guitar, vocals, background vocals)
Jackie Johnson (background vocals)
Paul Jones (harmonica, background vocals)
Jim Keltner (drums)
Trevor Lawrence (Saxophone)
Albert Lee (guitar)
Susan Marshall (background vocals)
Paul McCartney (keyboards, drums, guitar, vocals)
Tom McGuinness (guitar, background vocals)
Van Dyke Parks (keyboards)
Luke Potashnick (guitar, background vocals)
Steve Potts (drums)
Don Preston (guitar, vocals)
Kristoffer Sonne (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Ringo Starr (drums)
Rick Steff (keyboards, accordion)
Nikolaj Torp (keyboards, background vocals)
Rob Townsend (drums)
Klaus Voormann (bass, background vocals)
Ruscha Voormann (background vocals)
Joe Walsh (guitar)
Joel Williams (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. I’m In Love Again (feat. Paul McCartney) (Bartholomew/Domino) 1.57
02. Blue Suede Shoes (feat. Don Preston) (Perkins) 3.02
03. All Things Must Pass (feat. Yusuf Islam) (Harrison) 3.02
04. Have You Seen My Baby (feat. John Fohl) (Newman) 5.07
05. My Sweet Lord”(feat. Bonnie Bramlett) (Harrison) 3.26
06. The Mighty Quinn (feat. The Manfreds) (Bob Dylan) 3.08
07. Short People (feat. Don Preston) (Newman) 3.04
08. The Day The World Gets ‘Round” (feat. Yusuf Islam) (Harrison) 2.49
09. So Far (feat. Bonnie Bramlett) (Troy/Voormann) 3.33
10. You’re Sixteen (feat. Max Buskohl) (Sherman/Sherman) 2.35
11. Such A Night” (feat. Dr. John) (Rebennack) 5.51

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And here´s  a documentary film about Klauss Voormann (in German)

J. Geils Band – Reunion In Detroit (2009)

FrontCover1Guitarist J Geils, born John Warren Geils Jr., has died on April 11, 2017. He was 71. WCVB-TV Boston reported that Geils was found dead in his Groton, Massachusetts, home. He had lived in the town for 35 years. According to the Boston Globe, Groton Police Chief Donald Palma wrote in an email to the paper: “He has passed.” Cause of death has not been established. Geils formed The J Geils Band in 1967. They had 15 charting albums on the Billboard 200, including Freeze-Frame, which spent four weeks atop the list in 1982 and finished at No. 5 on Billboard’s year-end Top Pop Albums chart (while “Centerfold” was the year’s No. 5 Top Pop Single). In 2012, The J. Geils Band toured without Geils’ involvement, leading the founding guitarist to file an unsuccessful lawsuit against group members Richard Salwitz, Danny Klein, Peter Wolf and Seth Justman over use of the band’s name for a tour without him. Geils left the band permanently following this incident. (by Billboard)

.And here´s my tribute to J.Geils
Such was their fanbase in Detroit that tickets for the shows were sold out in 15 minutes. While the J Geils Band might be Boston-based, Detroit is seen by (Detroit) fans as a home away from home. After all, they recorded the Full House live album in the Motor City, as well as Blow Your Face Out and Showtime. And don’t forget their reunion show on New Year’s Eve 1999.

Recorded live at The Fillmore, Detroit, MI, April 25, 2009,
second show. Very good soundboard

As one fan said: “This show ROCKS!”

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Personnel:
J Geils (guitar)
Magic Dick (harmonica)
Seth Justman (keyboards)
Danny Klein (bass)
Duke Levine (guitar)
Marty Richards (drums)
Peter Wolf (vocals)
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Kid Rock (vocals on CD 2/11.)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. First I Look At The Purse (Robinson/Rogers) 4.18
02. Homework (Perkins/Clark/Rush) 6.11
03. Hard Drivin’ Man (Wolf/Geils) 6.44
04. Pack, Fair, And Square (Price) 2.32
05. Sanctuary (Justman/Wolf) 3.57
06. Night Time (Goldstein/Gottehrer/Feldman/Justman) 7.24
07. Cruisin’ For A Love (Jimmy) 4.27
08. So Sharp (Christian) 2.36
09. Detroit Breakdown (Justman/Wolf)  8.44
10. Serves You Right To Suffer (Hooker) 11.12
11. Give It To Me (Justman/Wolf) 11.43
12. Must Of Got Lost (Justman/Wolf) 4.29

CD 2:
01. Love Stinks  (Justman/Wolf) 2.50
02. Lookin’ For A Love (Alexander/Samuels) 5.39
03. Whammer Jammer (Jimmy) 2.39
04. (Ain’t Nothin’ But A) Houseparty (Sharp/Thomas) 5.54
05. Just Can’t Wait (Justman/Wolf) 3.34
06. Freeze Frame (Justman/Wolf) 3.54
07. Start All Over Again (Justman/Wolf) 3.09
08. Where Did Our Love Go (Holland/Dozier/Holland) 4.08
09. Thank you Detroit 2:18
10. Peachtree Street 2:23
11. Centerfold (Justman) 3.37
12. Love-Itis (Scales/Vance) 5.15
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John Warren Geils (February 20, 1946 – April 11, 2017) 
RIP  … and thanks a lot !

Cecilia und die Sauerkrauts – Same (2009)

FrontCover1A real strange album ! But a real good one !

Cecilia und die Sauerkrauts abandoned their disguise and crawled out of the basements. There, in Wuerzburg, Lower Franconia, they practised their rehearsals, in order to pamper the world with their intercontinental global 60’s beat. Sometimes charming and enchanting, sometimes humorous or quite different, i. e. rough, this squad’s home beat burns in the whole body and causes vibrations too. It’s obvious, that such an exceptionally gifted band with such a great and incredible cast of characters does not only rehearse, in order to be once on stage. Just in time to their first performance, their first album “SAUERKRAUT, WURST UND OTHER DELIGHTS” is released. And which record label would suit better for such a phonophile record as SOUNDFLAT RECORDS, where the wirepullers share the band’s predilection for beer, sausage, Jaegermeister (famous German cordial) and sauerkraut?! The biographie of the members of the band gives the impression of a menu with a swirling and fine taste too: On the one hand we have the delightful CECILIA from France, which more than merely convinced as head of the LOFI-PUNK band THE NO-TALENTS, the NEW WAVEPUNK band Operation S and, of course, with her absolute 60’s combo CECILIA ET SES ENNUIS. On the other hand RUSSEL QUAN from USA could be engaged for drums. RUSSEL QUAN is known as one of the founder and a member of such legendary bands like THE MUMMIES, THE FLAKES, THE BOBBYTEENS, DUKES OF HAMBURG.

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On bass, CECILIA is supported by RYAN from USA, who played amongst others in bands like THE EPOXIES. The brass band leader Fred plays the axe (guitar), as he does in the charming 60’s French-Beat-Pop combo LES TERRIBLES too, respectively at OPERATION S as well. None other than Fredovitch pounds the keys of the organ, well-known for his ONE-MAN Show as well as his performance at KING KHAN & THE SHRINES and THE HERO-X. The grandiose, smart and both humorous and charming too 60’s Beat of this ALL-STAR band consists of original compositions as well as of own arrangements (in French), based on the French 60’s Beat/Pop, on classics of PowerPop-, Garage-, Punk- and 60’s-songs Like ALL KINDSA GIRLS by the REAL KIDS, KNOW YOUR PRODUCT by THE SAINTS, LAST CARESS by the MISFITS, SMOKE by ? MARK & THE MYSTERIANS, etc.

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They even translated in the good old THE BOOTS manner NINO FERRERS hit “ALEXANDER” into German (on their own) and therefore create a rackety party mood with all the other songs on the album. Finally it is necessary to make mention of the special fact, that the A&M records cover version of the legendary HERB ALBERT’S TIJUUANA BRASS LP “WHIPPED CREAM & OTHER DELIGHTS” has been copied for several times, although never in a such sexy way! And what the favorite dish is for somebody, will be used as a replacement for clothes by others, yummy!!! (Promotion text)

Crazy … more than crazy … but … listen to this gem ! What a great hommage to the sound of the Sixties ! Wow !

And on “Dernière caresse” you will hear a little bit of the great Patti Smith …

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Personnel:
Fred “Fredovitch” Bourdil (keyboards)
Eric Erickson (drums)
Frédéric “Fred* Guillamaud (guitar, vocals, organ)
Cécilia Menau (vocals, organ)
Ryan Puckett (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Je dis hey (Mysterians/Meneau) 2.21
02. Avant la lumière du jour (Meneau/Guillamaud) 3.50
03. J’achète des produits (Meneau/Kuepper) 3.20
04. Tous ces garçons (Meneau/Felice) 3.49
05. Aucune fille au monde (Righi/Cooper) 2.37
06. 1, 2, 3 (Meneau/Guillamaud) 2.19
07. Désinvolte (Meneau/Guillamaud) 2.11
08. Minuit a l’aube (Meneau/Taylor/Sterling/May) 2.19
09. Quelle heure il est? (Meneau/Guillamaud) 2.19
10. Tu es un mombre (Meneau/O’Neill) 2.21
11. Dernière caresse (Meneau/The Misfits) 2.48
12. Alexander (Ménard/Ferrer) 2.12

‘Je Dis Hey’ is ‘Smokes’ by ? & The Mysterians
‘J’Achète Des Produits’ is ‘Know Your Product’ by The Saints
‘Tous Ces Garçons’ is ‘All Kindsa Girls’ by The Real Kids
‘Aucune Fille au Monde’ is ‘(You Got) The Power of Love’ by Everly Brothers/Pussy Cat
‘Minuit à l’Aube’ is ‘Midnight To Six” by The Pretty Things
‘Tu Es Un Nombre’ is ‘You’ve Got My Number’ by The Undertones
‘Dernière Caresse’ is ‘Last Caress’ by The Misfits
‘Alexander’ is ‘Alexandre’ by Nino Ferrer

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Celilo – Bending Mirrors (2009)

FrontCover1It’s possible Celilo were aiming for an anonymous feel to this album – for certainly band name, title and cover art (a shot of bare trees and grey skies, with no photo of the band to be seen) all conspire to give little clue of what awaits inside. If the intention is to persuade you to give it a listen with no preconceptions, let’s hope that strategy works, as this is really something of a hidden gem.

Celilo are from Portland, Oregon. Celilo Falls was the nearby fishing grounds used for generations by Native Americans until flooded by the building of a dam in 1957, and Celilo lament this on the song “Wy-am”. All thirteen songs on the album are written and sung by Sloan Martin. Martin slurs many of his lyrics in a manner reminiscent of Adam Duritz of Counting Crows. And in fact, if you had to describe Celilo’s music to someone who hadn’t heard them before, a slightly lighter, countrified version of that band – think Counting Crows with pedal steel – wouldn’t be a bad approximation.

Throughout, the lyrics are poetic and evocative, but invariably indirect. Even with the help of the lyric sheet, you’ll be hard pushed to pin down exactly what some of these songs are about. Certainly they are songs that don’t yield up their meaning on first listen. So, depending on your point of view, you’ll either dismiss them as obscure or look forward to repeated listens to try to tease out further meaning.

But the songs aren’t lyric-heavy or ponderous, thanks to Martin’s gift for melody and the uniformly excellent playing of the band. “Bush Pilot” in many ways encapsulates what the band is all about. The lyrics have a poetic feel, if a little oblique, but by the time they get to the chorus, the lovely melody and swirling pedal steel will undoubtedly capture you. The next track “Piñata” is better still, probably the best on the album. Simple acoustic guitar, just Martin’s voice and a harmony vocal: A busted up piñata lying in the street, Empty of everything that once was sweet, with a delightful melodic hook guaranteed to get stuck in your head. (by backroadsmusic.co.uk)

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The opening song on “Bending Mirrors”, Easter Lily could quite easily have been included in the organised chaos that was Journey Through the Past, Neil Young’s ambitious early 1970s film soundtrack. Initially it has the same sort of jamming immediacy, then settles into a perfectly likeable rock driven anthem with a slight nod towards Dark Side era Pink Floyd. Portland’s Celilo, comprised of Sloan Martin providing lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Damon Dunning and Adam East sharing lead guitar and bass duties, Kipp Crawford on drums, Tucker Jackson with that all important pedal steel and finally David Pulliam on keyboards, together with a handful of guest musicians have come up with a piece of laid back and lyrical Americana that straddles the boundaries between inde rock, psychedelia and country folk.

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At times unavoidably sounding like Neil Young’s kid brothers or occasionally Ryan Adams, Celilo have managed to plough their own furrow, largely due to the writing credentials of former drummer turned frontman Sloan Martin. The themes do vary but the songs are unified by the sensitive arrangements and production prowess of the band and Mike Coykendall (She&Him, Blitzen Trapper and M. Ward) respectively.

If indeed the opening song has the driven rock base of a Young classic, then the bulk of the album settles into almost contemplative ballad mode demonstrating the sensitive side of Martin’s writing such as the achingly confessional love poem Pinata or the soulful Bush Pilot. Martin’s strong point though is in the almost surreal rhetoric he employs in songs such as Little Coquette.

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Personnel:
Kipp Crawford (drums)
Damon Dunning (guitar, bass, background vocals)
Adam East (bass, guitar, background vocals, harmonica)
Tucker Jackson (pedal steel-guitar)

Sloan Martin (vocals, guitar)
Dave Pulliam (keyboards)
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Jasmine Ash (synthesizer on 03.)
Mike Coykendall (guitar on 09.)“
Matt Kendall (Banjo on 02.)
Graham Nystrom (piano on piano on 08.)
Andy Parker (percussion on 03.)
Annalissa Tornfelt (fidle, Background vocals)
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background vocals:
Gaudie Darling – Pia DiSilva

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Tracklist:
01  Easter Lily 2.40
02. Wy-Am 4.01
03  Winter Pills 3.43
04  Bush Pilot 3.28
05  Piñata 3.03
06  Cigarette Blues 3.13
07  Donut Queen 3.49
08  Sunken Ships  3.23
09  Sirens Of Metropolis 3.19
10  Pink Sofa 3.26
11  Little Coquette 3.17
12  Clatter Of Hooves  3.43
13  Pleistocene 4.24
All Songs written by Sloan Martin
CD1

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