I promise, this is pure coincidence that the last post had a kids compilation reference. Scotlands most revered jazzist (and Aidan Moffat collaborator) Bill Wells has assembled an all star cast from the weirder corners of the indie world including Deerhoof, Yo La Tengo, Isobel Campbell, Norman Blake, Annette Peacock, Michael Cerveris, Bridget St John, Georgia Hubley, Amy Allison, Amber Papini, and Karen Mantler.
Their mission? To twist your favourite nursery rhymes into new compositions revealing the dark, violent and often hilarious message beneath the surface…
“Ultimately, part of the remit of a nursery rhyme was to give your child some of the harsh realities of life, while sugar-coating them with a catchy little melody. But I’m losing that coating and going straight to the nub of the thing.” says Bill Wells
You can hear Three Blind Mice below:
“If people thought it was a bit strange, then they didn’t say,” says Bill Wells of the stellar cast of collaborators who played and sung on his new album, Nursery Rhymes. “I made it all clear pretty early on in proceedings and everyone seemed up for it.”
Well, actually, it is a bit strange, but then think of Wells’ trademark combination of sparse, melodic compositions with adventurous arrangements for the National Jazz Trio Of Scotland or his two collobartive albums with Aidan Moffat – and he’s a perfect fit for the job. In fact, it works precisely because it’s such an unusual undertaking, although the material provided common ground for the 18 musicians on the album. The songs are like musical archetypes embedded in the mind from the playground, but listening to the album you soon forget that context, as it reveals itself as a series of odd, cryptic and disquieting tunes.
‘Nursery Rhymes’ is a unique record in that it recasts these funny, violent, coded, centuries-old sentiments as fresh, new creations. Wells is a brilliant arranger and does wonders in finding new ways of looking at the songs, and drawing more out of their strong but spare melodic material. And he positively relishes the juxtaposition of a simple tune with dark lyrics.
1. Three Blind Mice – Featuring Karen Mantler And Yo La Tengo
2. Polly Put The Kettle On – Featuring Isobel Campbell And Amy Allison
3. Humpty Dumpty – Featuring Amber Papini And Yo La Tengo
4. Shoo Fly – Featuring Amy Allison And Yo La Tengo
5. Oranges And Lemons – Featuring Syd Straw With The Karen Mantler Trio
6. Hickory Dickory Dock – Featuring Norman Blake And Aby Vulliamy
7. Hot Cross Buns – Featuring Michael Cerveris
8. Ding Dong Bell – Featuring Bridget St John
9. Lavender’s Blue – Featuring Norman Blake, Georgia Hubley And Yo La Tengo
10. Bobby Shaftoe – Featuring Aby Vulliamy
11. Rock A Bye Baby – Featuring Isobel Campbell
12. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – Featuring Satomi Matsuzaki
13. Ring Around The Rosie – Featuring Karen Mantler And Yo La Tengo
14. Hey Diddle Diddle – Featuring Annette Peacock
15. Ride A Cock Horse – Featuring Norman Blake And Yo La Tengo
BILL WELLS & FRIENDS – NURSERY RHYMES (KARAOKE KALK, 20 NOVEMBER)