DADDY LONG LEGS
The blues trio from the mean streets of New York are back with another studio album and have landed an album bristling with attitude on us. OK that’s the premise but there’s a lot more to this than the angry vibes of the title track. As they have done on previous albums there’s plenty of variation on the blues theme here, as well as some collaborations. How far do they veer from the blues? Well there’s rock n roll, try separating that from the blues anyway, but a little bit of country with ‘Star’ and even a faint whiff of ragtime in the possibly salacious ‘Ding Ding Man’. An album like this would take a musicologist years to try and explain, so I’ll save the time, angry in plenty of flavours and great rock n roll and this is Daddy Long Legs finest hour, so far.
This is the Frenchman with Ukrainian roots one man band King Automatic’s fourth album on Voodoo Rhythm, a label known for its diversity and love of outsiders. Well King Automatic is an inclusive type of guy, he likes to jump genres, the opening track, ‘King Automatic From Outer Space’ rock n roll tune which has dredged the ghost of Eddie Cochran to play guitar, ‘La Vampira’ Del Raval’ is a gypsy punk keyboard work out then ‘What’s Your Poison’ has hoisted the spirits of The Sonics, at least would have had they not still been alive. And so it goes on, there’s rocksteady, trash, exotica, which leads us to the conclusion that King Automatic is a fucking show off of the highest order, he mangles these genres as if they grew intertwined not grafted in what ever hell hole studio he records in. Wonderful stuff from the label that keeps on giving.
The latest in the series and they do but plenty of these 29 tracks predate the music commercially known as ‘Rock N Roll’ by years, in some cases a decade. It’s up-tempo barrelhouse blues which bounds and bounces along with the piano pounding and in many cases the bass taking a very prominent often soloing position. Lyrics reveal the rough house back street environment these songs were inspired by, flavoured by bourbon, sweat and beer. The tracks range from 1942 and 1961 and feature some top-notch Memphis musicians including legendary guitarist Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy. This is another example of how rock n roll was repackaged and commercialised in the 1950’s but had been recorded and performed well before commercialisation, how Memphis Slim and his mates must have chuckled when they read that Bill Haley or Elvis invented it. If you aren’t convinced, they didn’t, just cop an earful of this.
The seventh volume of the ‘The Brits Are Rocking’ series. It’s an absolute cracker with 34 tracks, 14 of which were recorded at the BBC between 1959 and 1960 including several interview clips. The sound quality of these tracks is wonderfully pristine highlighting in great depth ( Bear Family have already released a 10” vinyl and CD combo on Kidd ) what a fantastic talent Kidd and the various crews of Pirates that backed him up were, easily equal to their US counterparts. Kidd’s British accent, which he didn’t hide, to great effect when singing is in sharp contrast to the cut glass of the BBC’s presenter. The oddity in that respect is the wonderful ‘Weep No More My Baby’ where there’s a unmistakable Hank Williams influence. Also included are rare Pirates Tom Brown and Mike West on a vocal track each. The collection is completed with a booklet packed with info.