ON THE ROAD, AGAIN
Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain. certainly the best known Scottish exponents of the greatly loved box- and-ﬁddle sound. are off on another annual tour. this one their ninth. Phil is looking forward to it: ‘We've got a new album on the cards. and we‘re going to be playing a lot of new stuff on the tour. running it in with the live audience. The problem is. we‘re asked to play so tnuch of the old material. things that people are always wanting to hear. that it can be difﬁcult ﬁtting the new things in. I think I might scream ifl have to play “Margaret‘s Waltz" again!‘
After playing with Aly at some of this year‘s major festivals. like Cambridge and Sidmouth. and following an astonishingly successful solo Spanish trip. Phil admits. ‘l‘ve re- discovered playing live. and touring. Since the Silly Wizard and Relativity days. when l overdid it. I've spent nearly all my time in recording or dubbing studios. but I really feel it‘s time to try and get a better balance. re-connect with a live audience and other musicians.‘
Apart from the Cunningham/Batu duo album — 'we're hoping to get it out before Christmas‘ — Phil‘s current major work has ﬁnally been scheduled to open next year's Celtic Connections. ‘lt‘s called The Highlands And Islam/s Suite because that's been my home for a long time now. but the music is not meant to be just music with a Highland character. It also reflects my childhood in Portobello. the classical music background I had. and I suppose all the inﬂuences that shaped tne when l was learning to play and write music.
‘The line-up is more or less ﬁxed now. We‘ve deﬁnitely got the three MacDonald brothers from Glenuig on the pipes. Sileas on harps. Karen Matheson and Manus Lunny from Capercaillie. a choir of 40. the 73- strong Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a Highland ﬁddle section of 30. I counted. and it's got l58 musicians. but I don't remember if that includes me or not!‘
Phil Cunningham and My Bain: Carnegie Hall. Dunfennh'ne Mon 16: Howden Park Centre. Livingston. Sat I4; Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Sat 2/.
Lisa and the love eats
When Lisa Gennano’s fourth album Excerpts From A Love Circus comes out this week, two recording artists will make their debut. Dorothy and Miamo-Tutti are no mere session musicians, though: they’re Lisa’s feline companions.
‘I ended up putting the cats on there because they shadowed this record,’ explains the Indiana-based singer/ songwriter. ‘Miamo-Tutti was like this macho cat - he would go out and screw around on Dorothy, and she just didn’t care, you know? He’d come home and treat her like shit and she’d just be like, “Miamo, Miamo, I love you”. It cracked me up because it was like - Lisa, you are herIYou forgive everything that this person does to you and it’s bullshit.’
We’re on tamiliar territory here. Germano’s previous album Geek The Girl was an aching, frank and implicitly autobiographical expose of sexual mistreatment. 0n the new album, she examines messed-up relationships from a more ironic, humorous perspective, but the hauntingly pretty melodies, the breathy, frighteningly naked voice, the pared-down, moody arrangements and the anguished dissection of personal pain are instantly recognisable.
’There’s a lot of hurt there,’ she
Getting purrsonal: Lisa Germano admits, ‘but it’s trying to have a different outlook. It’s more like - man, this hurts so much it’s funny!’
And yep, there are glimmers of catty humour, not least on the uptempo numbers ‘I Love A Snot’ and ‘Small Heads’, the current single. Its refrain might be ‘What a lonely life’, but Germano reckons it’s good therapy. ‘I usually write when I’m confused and trying to figure something out, and i feel like, maybe other people are trying to figure these things out too. Some people think you’re trying to put a trip on them, but the thing is that it does make you better. I mean the whole point is that you learn something from it, right?’
Err, sure. But a saucer of warm milk wouldn’t half help, eh Lisa? (Andrew Burnet)
Excerpts From A love Circus is released on Fri 9 Sept. A (II! tour is pencil/ed in for actober/Ilovember.
mama— Hammond it
Hot, funky, and very definitely happening, the Hammond B-3 defined the greasy, down-home sound ot 508 soul iau more perfectly than any other instrument. Fuelled by Jimmy Smith’s emergence as a major star in the late 50s, the Hammond sound was taken up by the likes of Les McBann, Jimmy McGrift, Big John Patton and Shirley Scott in the US, and Mike Carr and Georgie Fame over here.
The Hammond electric (and later electronic) organ was introduced by Laurens Hammond in Chicago in 1935, and found an early use in churches and public halls. Its popularity in both iazz and rock peaked in the Bus, and was later largely superseded by more contemporary developments in keyboard technology, but it retained serious cult status among its devotees, and those musicians who still preferred the challenge of actually having to play everything.
What goes around comes around, however, and the Hammond has been hip all over again in the 90s, notably on the burgeoning jazz dance and acid jazz scene. That should ensure a healthy turnout for a rare concert appearance from another of the giants of the 60: soul iazz movement, Brother
Jack Menu". The organist will lead the current edition of his Heating System outtit, and is still dispensing his emotive, blues-soaked take on the style with all the energy and economy of his classic 60s albums. Coincidentally, Brother Jack is one of the musicians featured in Blue Notables, a highly collectable new set of limited edition CB EPs from Blue Note. The twelve titles, each selling at £1.99, focus on different areas oi their vast catalogue, some defined by instruments, others by styles. McBuff is featured on a six-track Hammond special, alongside Smith, McGriti, Baby Face Willette, and the great Larry Young. The rest are every bit as tasty, and at this price, a genuine bargain waiting to be snapped up. (Kenny Mathieson) Brother Jack Mount! and The lleatin ’ System play at Archaos, Blasgow, on Sun 15.
me:— Good year for the Muses
Sounding more than merely chipper, Throwing Muses celebrate a decade in showbiz by releasing possibly their best album yet and shrugging off their corporate shackles. ‘We were never a major label band,’ Kristin Hersh tells Alastair Mabbott.
It’s been ten years since an odd. lopsided album ofspooky. jagged songs called T/tt'rm'rng Muses jumped off the shores of Newport. Rhode Island and swatn its way here. In that titnc. bassists have come and gone. a founding member has left. never to bc replaced. children have been raised and Kristin Hersh has let her own musc guide her through a career leading a major cult band and achieving recognition as a singer—songwriter in her own right. Some things. however. remain constant. Such as . . .
‘I always tour through pregnancies.’ announces Kristin. who‘s expecting her
34 The List 6- l9 Sept I996