I MUST INTERESTING rumour that's come our way in a long time is that young American hopeluis The Gralelul

in June, the tlrst supposedly at Murraytield Stadium. is it apprehension oi visiting a country they haven’t toured lor years that has given rise to the iurther titbit that they’ll be joined tor a short set (a short Gratelul Dead set?) by none other than Bob Dylan on both British dates? We don’t know. Will somebody tell us? .

I AT LEAST ONE recent rumour has proved to be based on tact. Groovy psychotronic popsters The Shamen, shooting up the indie charts with ‘Knature oi a girl’, are indeed recording the soundtrack tor a McEwans ad, a hip-hoppler version oi thelrllrst single, ‘Happy Days’. A pretty positive career move, you would think. But where are Win and Hipsway now? And will singer Colin’s recent, and well-publicised, positive outpourings on pornography and psychedelic mushrooms put the lid on the project at the eleventh hour?


I The Mekons: So Good lt Hurts (Sin)/Davey Spillane: Atlantic Bridge (Cooking Vinyl)/S.E. Rogie: Palm Wine Guitar Music (The 60s Sound) (Cooking Vinyl). Some ot the brightest moments oi the year so tar have been the despatches irom Hannibal and now Cooking Vinyl, showing that, call it what you like - world music, roots music, or any other dumb name- it’s a lot more interesting than most 01 what’s going on. The Mekons, having long since shed their punk skins, take lolk, dub and whatever else they can raid trom their wardrobes, scatterthem on the iloor and rearrange them in whatever ways make most sense to them. The Mekons show that they can still rock out, proiicientiy and originally, on ‘Fantastlc Voyage', and watch out tor ‘Ghosts ol American Astronauts’, which deserves to be a

' monstrous hit on its single release.

Dead are arranging two "dates in Britain

‘Atlantic Bridge’ sees ulllean pipes player Davey Spillane join in with various musicians in a series 01 contemporary settings, a ploy which works more olten than not. The best tracks sparkle with playing lrom guitar legend Arthur Lee in a luslon oi traditional lrlsh pipes with bluegrass.

Poor quality sound detracts not at all lrom the charm oi S.E. Rogie's collection oi songs, culled trom a time when the palm wine llowed treeiy in the bars oi Sierra Leone and the revellers smooched to music like this. There’s an easy-going warmth and sort oi nudge-nudge to the palm wine sound that’s as reminiscent oi early 888 as it is of current Atrican music. (Mab)

I Strangeways: Native Sons (Bon Aire). These boys know how to rawk. Even on the slow ones they rawk. Dnce they've learned how to rock i’ll give them another listen. By which time they may have attained the good grace to be embarassed by this album. (Mab)

I Act: Laughter, Tears and Rage (Z.T.T.): Act, a duo consisting oi iormer Propaganda singer Claudia Brucken and Thomas Leer, a Scot who had a solo deal with Arista a few years back, have along with record company encountered a lot 01 bad press recently. While Melody Maker seem to think that Brucken’s marriage to Paul Morley is enough to write all the album, they could have done worse than take a listen. -

The main problem is its consistency- songs like Gestures, Snobbery and Decay and the current single, I Can’t Escape For You are great— but at the other end oi the scale, Body Electric is electro-pop dlrge. However, part at the lasclnatlon ot the album is just that— the knowledge that you have no idea what is coming next. .

Combining their own songs with piano themes and cover versions, it is perhaps the latter that are most interesting. Their interpretation oi I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You is the highlight ot the album, while their interpretation oi the Smith’s Heaven ltnows l’m Miserable Now is either

wicked parody or altectionate tribute. i think the lormer, they claim the latter. Just like Act- an intriguing and unresolved mystery.

I James Taylor: Never Die Young (CBS): It is perhaps indicative oi the state oi pop 1988 style that Leonard Cohen and James Taylor have both reappeared with albums which rate among the best at the year so tar. Taylor is perhaps as good an example as anyone oi the virtues ol good songwriting and singing —the reason that Taylor will still be around in ten years time when Stock Aitken and Waterman will be long iorgotten. Highlights are Sweet Potato Pie, Never Die Young and Valentine’s Day- but there is a welcome consistency among the ten tracks. The acid test ot these comebacks will be Engelbert Humperdlnck. it he sounds good in 1988 then something is seriously wrong. For the moment James Taylor will do line, and it you want ten good reasons ior buying this album, take a look at the top ten.

I The Lilac Time: The Lilac Time (Swordtlsh): This album marked a very low key return for Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Dutty, before being justlliably picked up on by press and record companies alike. Duity has an ear tor a good pop song, and there are some particularly line ones on this collection. Return to Yesterday is the best, but You’ve Got To Love and The Road To Happiness would both be worthy oi chart places. Lacking the sheer polish 01 his major label etlorts, this could appeal to an even broader audience with its combination ot a Seventies' singer-songwriter mentality with pure pop hooks.


I Edward Barton: Belly Box Brother Gob (Wooden). This must be what they call synchronicity. No sooner hadl wondered aloud, over cottee, what had happened to this deranged man who ain’t got no chicken but he got live wooden chairs, who supported Stump and thrashed the lite out oi an acoustic guitar on The Tube, than I returned to lind his unmistakable leatures staring out, in several directions at once, from the cover at this 12in EP. The guitar is gone (Barton only accompanies himsell with great steps on his belly), but the man is still wracked by every agony known to man. The tact that he can't get his knob into his gob is more than just distressing; it's a disaster to rank with the Holocaust, or even the tragedy oi the girl in the telephone box peepshow, a story punctuated with unearthly moans oi misery. ls Barton disturbed or merely disturbing? Alternatively, is be taking us all tor a ride with a load oi complete tosh?

I The Legendary Hearts: in a World Like This (Surlin’ Pict). Competent and protesslonal debut single, brimming with potential and an eclectic musical bent. The Hearts even reveal a Nashville bent on the sprightly ‘Everything i Have', part ot which reads, “The radiation levels are higher than belore, There’s a dozen yankee submarines all parked outside my lront door’. Commendable sentiments as well. (Mab)

I Cosmo Music Box. Victoria Street. 220 1708. £1 after 9pm.

I Bedlam Preservation Hall. Victoria Street. 226 3816. £1 after 9pm.

I The Healers Lord Darnley. West Port. 2294341. 10pm. Free. Pub blues-rock.

I Live band Negociants. Lothian Street. 225 6313. 9pm. Free.

I Live band Cavern. Cowgate. 2265641.



I Robert Plant Barrowland Ballroom. 244 Gallowgate. 7.30pm. Must admit to being quite surprised that Plant is playing The Barrowland. given his status as a rock and roll legend. This is one of those gigs where you expect Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton to emerge from the shadows to take a solo. Hopefully not.

I The Sugarcubes Glasgow School of Art. 167 Renfrew Street. POSTPONED L'NTlL MAY 13.

I Billy Forbes La Taniere. Fox Street. 3pm. Free.

I Zenith La Taniere. Fox Street. 9pm. Free. Residencies.


I Therapy (TBC) Blues Basement. Broughton Street. 556 7147. Appearance dependson Blues Basement‘s soundproofing endeavours.

I NV Music Box. Victoria Street. 220 1708. £1 after 9pm.

I Blues Assassins (TBC) Preservation Hall. Victoria Street. 226 3816. £1 after 9.30pm.

I Texas Breaktast Lord Darnley. West Port. 229 4341. 10pm. Free.

I Live band Négociants. Lothian Street. 225 6313. 9pm. Free.

I Live band Cavern. Cowgate. 2265641.

SUNDAY 27 Glasgow

I The Crows Mayfair. 490 Sauchiehall Street. 332 3872. See panel.


I Robert Plant Playhouse Theatre. Greenside Place. 557 2590. 7.30pm. £7.50. £6.50. Much-heralded comeback from for mer Led Zepper. New album is supposedly pretty tabby.

I La Paz Preservation Hall. Victoria Street. 226 2816. £1 after 9pm. Heavy metal.

I Medusa Touch and Debutante Soundcheck Rock (‘1ub.Vcnue.Ca1ton Road. 557 3073. Weekly heavy rock club. I Domino Principle Music Box. Victoria Street. 220 1708. Afternoon. Free.

I The Dexters Music Box. Victoria Street. 220 1708. £1 after 9pm. See Sun 20.

I The Brothers Preservation Hall. Victoria Street. 226 3816. £1 after 9pm.

I The Last Detail Lord Darnley. West Port. 229 4341. 10pm. Free.

I Live band Cavern. Cowgate. 2265641.

MONDAY 28 - Edinburgh

I The River Detectives Music Box, Victoria Street. 220 1708. 9.30pm. Free. Hard-working Glasgow band. whipping up a lot of interest recently. bring their acoustic set over. They‘re touted as the Next Big Thing. as we say, so this could be a good time to catch them.

I The Thanes Venue. Calton Road. 557 3073. Edinburgh's Sixties garage bandpar excellence.

I NV Preservation Hall. Victoria Street. 2263816.

I Live band Negociants. Lothian Street. 225 6313. 9pm. Free.

TUESDAY 29 Glasgow

I Sugarloai Main Bar Luxembourg. Pitt Street.

38'l‘he List 18- 31 March 1988