RECORD REVIEWS MUSIC
I Dick Caughan: Sail 0n (Creentrax) Not in the same league as his Hum/ﬁt! of Earth album. these eleven tracks include no traditional material. setting some of his all-time favourite songs. including Hamish Henderson’s ‘Freedom Come All Ye.‘ and ‘Farewell to Sicily.‘ with some of his own compositions. and including his arrangements of songs by Pete Seeger. Allan Taylor. Brian MacNeill (‘No Gods And Precious Few Heroes'). Richard Thompson and even Jagger and Richard (‘Ruby Tuesday’ ). If his somewhat intense left- righteousness can become tedious in a ‘live‘ context. it is hardly audible here. where he‘s obviously enjoyed his time in the studio. working with top ﬂight session musicians. including many of his old Clan Alba pals. and creating a well-produced snapshot of his current lyrical and musical perspective.
I Wollstone: The llall Tail (Green linnet) Enigmatic cover. runically impenetrable script on hand made paper — it‘s shamanistic Celtic rock — with a wallop and a tight production job. and a really big sound on the nine tracks. The traditional whaling song ‘The Bonnie Ship The Diamond' here gets another airing in an arrangement totally dominated by bass. drums and synth. eliding into that ‘Last Of The Great Whales' song. never a lyric to win poetry prizes. My favourite is the pounding. Opening. pipe- driven ‘Zeto'.
I Michael Marra: Part Vohiscum (Eclectic) Recorded live in Glasgow with his six-piece rock band. this album sees the Dundee song poet‘s ‘Julius‘ ﬁnally committed to tape. That celebration of doggy love has universal resonance. as does most of the
With reference to the Thrum article. published in The List on 22 August:
You said in your article that Thrum’s current lack of activity has been due to "Trying to extract themselves frOm their deal with Fire Reeords’. This is untrue. Thrum signed to Fire‘in 1993 on a oneAalbum‘deal, believing the label to be a stepping stone to a bigger deal. We worked the band with great love despite this short term agreement, successfully promoted them through the music press and radio and released three singles and then the album Rtﬂ'erama in I994 - an album recorded and then remixed on a budgg more suited to a major
pianist/songwriter‘s output. in that the songs are small. often surreal but carefully crafted. and speak at many levels. ‘Chain Up the Swings‘ illuminates the self- proclaimed guardians of the Sabbath on the Presbyterian Outer Isles. a record collection is wryly sundered with the marriage in 'Beefhearts And Bones‘. and Celtic Park‘s ﬂoodlights are bent in “King Kong‘s Visit To Glasgow'. A unique vision — in the composer‘s own lyrics — ‘music is the sound of paint. sue me if it ain't.‘ I Rock Salt and llails: 4 6 2 1 (Forth) Ever more polished but still engagineg rough in spots. the endlessly touring Shetlanders have recorded mostly their lead singer's own compositions. Lennon and McCartney‘s ‘l‘m Looking Through You‘ makes an unremarkable appearance. but elsewhere there are interesting. energetic arrangements of old trad tunes from home. sometimes led on the guitar. ‘Shaggy‘s Sexy Shetland Set‘ typifies their approach - start subtly then build and keep building. It cart be exciting stuff. but not alwa s. I Various Artists: South of the Border (Music Club) Subtitled 'The Sound of Tex Mex‘. a music which originated iii the mating of the German accordion with the Mexican culture of the US South West. this album assembles 2| tracks of the best singers and players from Steve Jordan. Santiago Jiminez Jnr and Tony de la Rosa. to Flaco Jiminez himself. A wonderfully varied ()3 minutes of muscular music. I Simon Fraser University Pipe Band: Alive in America (lismor) Macllaughton’s Vale of Atholl Pipe Band: live ’n’ Well (Creentrart) Two live albums from two great bands. the former having taken the top prize at the recent World
RIGHT TO REPLY
We did not in any way restrict their trade and the references Monica makes to Jarvis Cocker are irrelevant - Pulp were signed for five albums and transferred their contract to
i am particularly concerned about the damage this ‘blaming the record company’ might do to current acts. Monica and The List should check their facts before printing such negative and untrue excuses for Thrum’s current situation.
I consider the proﬁle we achieved for them during 1993/94 a great success.
I wish Thrum all the best.
Billy Reeves. head of press. Fire
Championships — for the second time. The Vancouver band excels in this Chicago recording. both in the big harmony settings and in solo and small group performance. The Scots band is less polished but just as musically dangerous and inventive. also has a solo from young composer and classy performer Mary Ann MacKinnon and the genius of Gordon Duncan in charge of musical direction.
I Various Artists: The Music and Song of Creentratt (Creentrax) Various Artists: The Twentieth Anniversary Collection (Green linnet) Two compilation albums (both comprise two C Ds) from the leading Scots and American folk/roots specialists. The Linnet collection has 37 tracks against Greentrax's 36. but the Trax have Shooglenifty. Cathy Ann Macl’hee and Whistlebinkies. Ah. btrt the Linnet have Wolfstoue. Martin Hayes and Capercaillie. Sucks. buy both. (Norman Chalmers)
I Donal Murphy, Matt Cranitch, Tommy 0’ Sullivan: Sliabh llotes (Crm Border Media) Produced by barefoot guitarist Steve Cooney. this is beautifully paced traditional music from Sliabh Luachra. in South West Ireland. Matt Cranitch used to play fiddle in Na Fili. Murphy is a great accordionist and Sullivan their equivalent on vocals. mandolin and guitar. Few reels. bttt slides. polkas. waltzes and other delightfully played tunes. The real stuff.
Bock Salt And llalls
I The Kelley Deal 6000: Go To The Sugar Altar (Play It Again Sam) Recovering heroin addict she may be. but Kelley Deal shows greater discipline on her own project than more famous sister Kim did on the Amps album — and. to be frank. the majority of The Breeders' output. True. Kelley herself is prone to the odd two-chord ramble with no immediately discernible point. bttt the 6000's quirkittess and ramshackle slinkiness will have won her many fans before the year‘s out. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Billy Bragg: William Bloke (Cooking Vinyl) Who‘s better: Noel Gallagher or Paul Weller"? Danton Albarn or Elvis Costello? We shouldn't let fashion blind as to a sterling songwriter. and ll’illium Bloke shouldn’t be ignored just because Billy hasn't fitted into the scheme of things for a while. Herein. he reflects on the implications of maturity and family for the leftist firebrand of old. and even -- on the excellent opening track ‘From Red To Blue' — those who've gone the whole hog and switched sides. A strong collection to confound those who thought he didn‘t have it iti him any more. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Badgewearer: Thank You For Your Custom (Guided Missile) Angular punkoid guitars? Check. Lots of stilted stop-start bits? Check. Shouty Scottish vocals? C heck. Titles and lyrics that come from sticking a pin in a thesaurus? Check. That‘ll be Badgewearer‘s third album. then. Not that dissimilar from albums one and two. funnin enough. But wait - what‘s this? Two songs which are actually melodic? Which are sung? Which have a ‘ lilting. almost folky quality to them? Entitled ‘Animal Martyr‘ and ‘Waterchute‘? Hallelujah! The way forward is clear. Lay down your instruments of agit-punk and go protest folk. (Fiona Shepherd)
Billy Bragg: immune to las
hlon I The Yummytur: llight Club (Guided Missile/Slampt) A first album of wit. vigour. some invention and not a whole lot of melody. but best leave that one to Cast. eh? With tracks like ‘Theme From Ultrabra'. Glasgow's Yummyfur come on like a Scottish prole version of Tire Beastie Boys. except their chosen medium is not rap but disjointed makeshift guitar mania with. yup. silly song titles (you can tell they're really big ()ceatr Colour Scene fans). It would be interesting to see what this for would do with a reCording budget. (Fiona Shepherd)
Josh Winx's debut long player 117/! Above The Clam/x is a pretty mixed affair as befits the man who has released a string of wildly bizarre underground club hits. Three of those dancelioor devastators are included here. The severely evil and brooding ‘l)on‘t Laugh'. the funky 'Hyprrotizin' and that 303 fuelled acidic stor'mer ‘Higher States ()f Consciousness‘. In many ways we‘ve a lot to thank Mr Winx for — he‘s given the house/techno scene a healthy kick up the arse with his powerful tracks. But be warned though. this album contains 28 tracks and far too many bits of spoken word nonsense. There‘s plenty of good stuff though. particularly the caustic drum ‘n' bass rolls on ‘Topfe & Pfannen’. so stick with it.
Calliano‘s fourth album. the sophisticatedly titled 4
is a typical Galliano affair which means that you might not get it the first time you hear it. or even the second time. but by the time you've lived with it for a while the chaos gradually forms a whole. Tire energetic supercharged funk is still very much in evidence. Standout cuts are ‘Best Days Of ()ur Lives‘ a collaboration with Red Snapper and the drum ‘u' bass influenced 'Freefall‘. Generally speaking though it's a bit spr‘awly and strung out to make it a classic but that'sjust their way.
Fantazia’s Club Classics Vol 2 offers three mix Cl)s of corrrttrercial house that are bound to make a lot of party people very happy. The three l)Js — Brandotr Block. Mike Cosford and Peer — might not be superstar names but their mixes serve tip some of the more trremorable house anthems from the last few years. Criticisms are few other than the tracks are ruined slightly by being played too quickly. ()ther than that it's ()K. you don't need to think about it. just bung it on while you're getting ready to go ottt and enjoy it for what it is.
()n a more futrky. experirrrental tip. check yet another release from the eternally productive Ninja Tune people. lontlon Funk Allstars‘ second album FICA/l [filling [um/ties l’x' llflt‘ Bio/tic Him/tors I-‘mm Mars is a mixture of jazz. house arid hip hop from forum l)J Tooll, frontman Jauy Jason. lt‘s fluid and very funky with huge b- lines and beats.
One time Brand Nubian rapper Sadat X‘s debut solo Wi/t/ ('mr'hm'x effort is worth tracking down. It‘s a very basic rap record with simple but meaningful lyrics (‘Rappers want to be drug dealers/Drug dealers want to be rappers') and excellent backing production. Sadat‘s delivery is catchy and curious and the music. produced by a variety of New York‘s finest (including Pete Rock and Showbiz) is basically chocka with chunky big beats. (Jim Byers)
Josh Vllnx: nothing to dread
Tire List 6- r9 Sept I996 37