This is the first of our Frukie Round-ups where we take a brief look at whats out there. I’m hoping for this to be a regular and I intend to cover a broad range from Indie folk to progressive Trad…we get so many albums sent for review that we can’t possibly cover all of them but this may help re-address that balance a little.
Bob Dylan – The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 9)
Need I say anything? The Witmark Demos see their first commercial release nearly five decades after they were first recorded. The Witmark Demos features 47 Bob Dylan songs recorded by the artist – accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, harmonica and occasionally piano – for his first music publisher, Leeds Music, in January 1962, and for his second publisher, M. Witmark & Sons, between 1962 and 1964. Listening to these recordings, one can trace Dylan’s dramatic growth as a songwriter from early traditionally-styled songs like “Man On The Street” and “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie” through the social commentary of “Blowin’ In The Wind, “The Times They Are A Changin’” and “Masters Of War”, and the groundbreaking lyrical genius of “Mr. Tambourine Man.” All of these songs, and all the others on The Witmark Demos, were written – and their subsequent demos recorded – before Bob Dylan turned 24 years old. Among the many gems found on The Witmark Demos are 15 Bob Dylan songs that were recorded by the artist only for these sessions, and which had never been officially released to the public. These include the plaintive “Ballad For A Friend,” the civil rights era-inspired “Long Ago, Far Away” and “The Death Of Emmett Till,” and the poignant “Guess I’m Doing Fine.
A fine gift of music in my books (hint hint Amanda) and a bargain from £10.68 on Amazon (at time of post).
Buy CD: The Bootleg Series Volume 9 – The Witmark Demos
Snowdonia Songs is a compilation out on Anhrefn Records. I had high expectations on this album after seeing it on the Rough Trade Folk section. Despite the inclusion of Jeb Loy Nichols it sounds way too cheesy for my tastes. Maybe one for your Gran’s Christmas stocking. This could have been a great opportunity to expose some great new Welsh artists such as Huw M but it fell well short of the mark for me…
You can hear track samples here: Snowdonia Songs
An Introduction To Elliott Smith
An Introduction to Elliott Smith is essentially a “best of” compilation aimed at giving an holistic overview of his career. Some may argue that it has been far too long a wait to release such an album seven years after his tragic death. It appears to be aimed at newcomers, which is not surprising as as he is such a widely cited influence that his name cannot go unnoticed to a new younger generation. The tracklisting is well chosen although hardcore fans will no doubt argue this point for many years to come.
Buy CD: An Introduction To
The Shee – Decadence
The girls are back with a new album due for relase on 31st October. They present a powerhouse of an album with top of the range vocals and charm. Their compositions breathe new life into traditonal tunes and have a progressive and cheeky edge to them that I’ve always enjoyed. Check their version of that folk classic Eppie Morrie. As far as newcomers go they have set their standards high with a great fusion of influences: Folk, Scots, Gaelic and Bluegrass. This is an impressive follow-up to their debut album A Different Season.
Buy CD: Decadence
3 Daft Monkeys – The Antiquated and the Arcane
3 Daft Monkeys release their new album The Antiquated and the Arcane. The album name is taken from thier own local Antiquated and the Arcane Society where interesting characters meet to talk about unusual or strange occurences in Cornwall through history which the Monkeys have been unavoidably influenced by.
This album feels like a new move in some ways. They’ve gone the extra mile with some extra studio production, maybe with the aim of appealing to newcomers. The album is their best to date, filled to the brim with catchy rythmns and hooks as well as carefully crafted folk that blends ska, klezmer, balkan and more.
Well worth checking out if you’ve never heard them before…and a must see live!
Buy CD: The Antiquated And The Arcane
John Fahey & Cul De Sac – The Epiphany Of Glenn Jones
The project initially began with Geffen Records and was to be a collaboration between Fahey and young musicians influenced by his earlier work. When this idea later collapsed, Thirsty Ear Records producer Peter Gordon assembled the Cul de Sac/Fahey project. Cul de Sac had previously covered Fahey’s song “The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith California” on their debut album Ecim.
Glenn Jones, the band’s leader and guitarist, became interested and influenced by Fahey’s early music while still in high school. He describes the band’s project with Fahey in great detail in the original liner notes. The rehearsals and sessions were the source of friction between Fahey and the band. Jones later called the making of the album an “ordeal” and described the relationships between the two parties as “musical antagonism”. Fahey later claimed to have erased all the early tapes of the music Cul de Sac brought to the sessions, a claim Jones refutes in subsequent interviews.
The final two tracks are spoken word recordings.
The sessions also mark the first appearance of The Great Kooniklaster, an Art Deco object Fahey acquired, named, and placed in the studio to bring focus to the sessions. It later appeared as the title of the Fahey tribute album The Great Koonaklaster Speaks: A John Fahey Celebration.
Buy CD: The Epiphany of Glenn Jones
That’s it for this round-up…but more, very soon!