Born in Chicago, Illinois, William “Billy Boy” Arnold was a blues singer-songwriter and harmonica player. Picking up the harmonica as a child, by the age of 13 he began having informal lessons from his then-neighbour John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson!
Five years later in 1952 he made his recording debut with Hello Stranger, a track released on the small Cool label – the record company who were also responsible for giving him the nickname “Billy Boy.” Lots began happening for him around the early 1950’s and it was also at this time that he joined forces with street musician Bo Diddley, playing harmonica on Diddley’s 1955 track, I’m a Man. In the following years Billy Boy continued to record many of his self-penned songs, some of which weren’t released until a box set entitled Chess Blues 1947-1967 was released in 1992!! It was after signing his solo contract with Vee-Jay Records that he recorded the originals of I Wish You Would and I Ain’t Got You,” both of which were later covered by the likes of The Yardbirds and Bowie!!
Whilst with Vee-Jay Records Arnold released today’s corker, Prisoner’s Plea. Released as a single in 1957 the song is a remorseful ode to the misery of prison life. Driven by a lively rhythm and repentant vocals, lyrics sorrowfully proclaim how since I’ve been here/I think I’ll go mad/why did I ever have to be so bad. A guitar howls as if mirroring this tormented lament as Arnold pledges if they ever lordy let me go/ I wont ever do wrong no more……Check it out above.
Founded in Warwick, UK and still releasing until 2010, The Edgar Broughton Band and their pure blend of psychedelic acid rock has been kicking about since 1968!
With gruff vocals compared to that of Howlin’ Wolf and Captain Beefheart, Edgar Broughton’s 1969 debut album Wasa Wasa was influenced by a heavy blues sound. However, when the band began to lean towards the emerging psychedelic movement they dropped the ‘Blues’ from their name as well as their music.
1970 was the year the Edgar Broughton Band was tipped for success, but bad management of the group prevented this from coming to fruition and with only two hit singles released that year, this poor offering also added to their ill-fated future. One of these singles was today’s song, Out Demons Out, a track described as an “audience sing-along, a chant exorcising the evils of the day“. Each time they performed this live the the song and its chants often had a rousing effects on audiences…no wonder really, it’s just one raw, raucous incantation fuelled by howling guitar!
So, if you happen to have any demons lingering about (I’ve got one or two I could do with eradicating), this could be the song for you!! Play it loud, sing along, chant repeatedly and with any luck those demons will be no more!!
Describing her creative process as “writing down all the floating whispers,” Raggedy is the solo project of a young artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. Her sound fuses a distinct blend of lo-fi folk and dream pop and, whilst the name may translate as ‘torn up, messed up, nasty and really ugly,’ this music is anything but! Though, by her own admission, Raggedy has described herself as a “melancholy, misfit, with a lot of heart.”
I refer to this artist as a young lady because, although a very new discovery for me today, there is also very little out there about her and I’ve yet to track down anymore specific information…but I am quite enjoying this unknown element for it adds to the mystery.
Raggedy’s latest offering is an intensely dreamy affair entitled Brainwash. Offering solace in its wistful, stripped-down melody, this song is as haunting as it is comforting. A sense of lonesomeness hangs suspended in the space between hazy vocals where words gather, flow and gently merge into one another; their connection forming constant string of hushed mutterings. The result is rather bewitching….
See you for yourself and check it out above. Listen to Raggedy’s other offerings here.
As a unique and limited run, pressed purely for this year’s Record Store day, Seattle’s purveyors of all things psychedelic have recorded their very own take of the ferociously divine Sonics 1966 album, Boom.
Responsible for some of the finest, heavy doses of mind-bending, hazy, crazy, garage-nostalgia this side of the 60’s, the Night Beats pay homage to their cult heroes with their soul-shakin’ rendition of this fine and very classic record and the result…well, the result is perfection!! I was lucky enough to acquire a download of the limited-press album, recorded on LP only (thank you to the very kind person to share this, you know who you are!!) and urge you to track down your own copy if there are any left out there. If you love the Night Beats and The Sonics, this is pure heavenly bliss…brought to you by the very aptly named Heavenly Recordings!
So, after I’ve now built up the Night Beats super-cool rendition of Boom I can only highlight and talk about its brilliance, for there are no uploads of these tracks anywhere….yet!! (another reason to go grab a copy if you can!).
Instead I am featuring the mighty fine original version of Cinderella which opened The Sonics 1966 second studio album (Boom)….the perfect way to kick off such a buzzing record!
Check it out above.
“Five skinny kids with roots firmly placed in their own blown-out, distorted brand of soulful RnB”
When they are not playing in the mighty King Gizzard, lead vocalist Lead vocalist Ambrose Kenny-Smith and guitarist Cook Craig also play in the Australian garage-rock outfit, The Murlocs. Formed in 2011 from a firm foundation of heavy, bluesy-garage rock, this fuzzed-out band pays homage to all things psychedelic with their soulful r’n’b compositions.
Described as a ‘mesmerising demented house party’, anybody lucky enough to catch this band live will have experienced the full power of Ambrose’s vocal screech and the addictive groove of the melody and rhythm section…I’ve yet to see one of their gigs though!
First track from their 2014 debut Loopholes is today’s hefty hunk of garage-goodness. Control Freak is a strapping beast of a song with oodles of sassy swagger (cheeky enough to slip the ‘C’ word in rather subtly!). Brimming with distorted guitars, a snare-fluttering rhythm and a sound larger-than-life, the leading howls of wailing harmonica are only matched by frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s fierce, roaring vocals and the whole experience is rather rapturous.
Listen above and catch a live performance of the song below!
A complete chance find led me to today’s oh-so-sweet-sounding song after I’d left Youtube playing to itself earlier today….I love it when this stuff happens!
Not a new artist by any means, Swedish singer-songwriter, drummer and guitarist, Daniel Norgren has been releasing music since 2006. Hailing from the ‘tall woods of the north’ his music has been issued through small indie label Superpuma Records ever since he began recording. His debut album Kerosene Dreams was a modest affair, recorded purely on homemade instruments and less than two years later its follow-up Outskirt came out and since then there has been at least four more full-length offerings as well as a selection of EP’s and singles. Joining Norgren on vocals/drums/guitar is Anders Grahn on upright bass with (sometimes) Andreas Filipsson accompanying the duo on a homemade organ.
Moonshine Got Me is a track that appeared on Daniel Norgren’s 2013 4th studio album Buck. True to its name it ‘got me’ from the second it started playing and even though the intro is (wonderfully) scant and understated, these few delicate notes gripped me with a promise of something good to follow…and I wasn’t disappointed. Stretching out for sizeable eight mesmerising minutes, the song’s lyrics are equally (and gorgeously) as sparse as the intro itself, as Norgren croons “Moonshine got me/Moo-o-o-oonshine got me.” Each line is repeated like a dulcet incantation and, aided by a heady, slick blues melody, seeps gently under the skin like a magical soothing balm….
Listen above and, if like me you are curious to hear more, check out the rest of the album here.
For nearly 15 years Brooklyn’s finest psychedelic afro-soul instrumental outfit have been creating their unique fusions of 60’s/70’s, jazz, deep funk and Afro-beat sounds.
Today the multi-skilled creators of all things sonically magical have released a brand new album entitled “V”. Packed full of their signature groove-laden sounds, this offering adds a new dynamic dimension, drawing upon a blues-psych-metal-infusion and the result is truly explosive from start to finish!
Signing out as dramatically as the record begins, last track Valley of the Damned is a hypnotic dream of sinuous horns, pensive guitars and gathering rhythms; of which all entwine gradually together layer upon layer. As the intensity builds, the pace quickens and as the song reaches its final minute all of the components become charged as they race forward, nearing the end with a surge of power and gusto. It’s the perfect way to end the record, it closes on a high and leaves you wanting more… Check it out above and grab your copy of the album from here.
Posted in Afro beat, afro funk, Blues, brooklyn, cinematic, Daptone Records, Funk, Psychedelic, R&B, Soul
Tagged afro funk, Afrobeat, Blues-psych, Brooklyn, Daptone, psych rock, R&B, Soul
As the vocalist and drummer in his band Fuzz, Ty Segall keeps himself busy working between solo and band material. Released in 2013 on indie label In the Red Records, Fuzz’s self-title debut album is a gorgeous, heady blend of West Coast garage and heavy stoner rock.
Perfectly nestled between slightly sinister and innocently playful , What’s in my Head was the first single from the album. Coasting majestically between smooth verse and grinding raucous, grunge-fuelled chorus, the song matches like for like with loud/soft interaction; each extreme perfectly illuminated by heavy distorted guitar and a rather slinky, sexy bass line. Check it out above.
I often get the urge to listen to Gavin Clark, he’s one of my all-time favourites and left this earth way too early, but the legacy of his music is lasting testament to his understated brilliance.
In 2002 Clark joined forces with Ali Friend and Ted Barnes to form Clayhill. Releasing their debut album two years later, it was from an EP released that same year that today’s song was taken. Cuban Green was a 6-track EP released in 2004 conceived with the idea that each song would have an outdoors theme. Stripped-back and simplistic by nature, the EP was originally created by guitarist/composer Ted Barnes, but it was to be Clark’s desolate vocals that really gave this record a voice. Face of the Sun is just a beauty.. Check it out above and listen to lots more Gavin Clark magic on my pages here.
Jonathan Richman is one of those artists I play for a multitude of reasons: for comfort, for fun, for dancing and for his sweet, honest lyrics. I don’t love everything he’s ever done, but what I do adore, I really adore and today’s track is one of those. In fact this song encapsulates just what it is I love about Jonathan Richman.
When I Dance sees Richman describing how he may not dance like a pro, “I’m not a pro/In fact I barely move at all/Compared to certain guys you know”, but how he dances with passion, “And when I dance that’s love/And there’s times I cause that attraction”. It’s not about suave moves and flash talent (though I’m not suggesting he’s not equipped with either), but it’s about the feel, how you convey what’s inside, how you move and connect. Just like this song where Richman describes how “they’re all in my trance when I dance”, his music captivates and reaches out, drawing you in with narratives that are often laced with a charming innocence; a feature that makes it very hard to not feel completely embraced by his unassuming warmth.
When I Dance appears on Jonathan Richman’s 1998 album, I’m So confused which was produced by the Cars guitarist and songwriter, Ric Ocasek. Check it out above and listen to some more Jonathan Richman goodness on my pages here.