With all the excitement that was going on yesterday with the release of the book, Themes For Great Cities, and then radio interviews taking place simultaneously on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 6 Music (more on that shortly!), I just didn’t end up with time to devote to this.
It was a special day for Sarah Brown yesterday. It was the release day of her debut solo single. Sarah chose the date specifically as it marked the 50th anniversary of Mahalia Jackson’s passing.
There are no tears that come from this wonderful song (perhaps only those of happiness) – just pure joy. You know, the stuff that makes your body tingle and your soul sing! Gospel! But done with a light jazz/bossa nova twist. Absolutely uplifting!
Listen to it again and again. It’s magic. Sarah is magic!
Sarah’s debut album is set for release later in the year. I am very excited to get my hands on it.
I’d also like to take the opportunity to highlight this – a programme on BBC Sounds. One on Mahalia Jackson’s life that was originally broadcast in 2012. Called “Conjuring Halie”, you can listen to it by clicking HERE
I had a hoard of memorabilia come in this week and in amongst it was this article, written by Graeme Thomson, none other! Featuring in The Guardian on February 24th, 2012, just as the 5×5 Live tour is getting under way.
We know how I feel about that. Goddamn! I was out by just over two years. I will forever rue it!
Some of the discussion that takes place between Graeme, Jim and Charlie during the interview for this article features in the Themes For Great Cities book.
I thought I’d scan the article and post it here. Just as a little taster of what’s to come next week.
A footnote (and a chance for me to be a pedantic pr*ck); the inset photo of Jim is from 1980. October, in fact. It’s one from the Tavistock Square session. The same session the photo on the book’s cover comes from.
After a long, dry spell… (the last new release from Simple Minds being the release of For One Night Only for the 40: The Best Of Simple Minds 1979-2019 release towards the end of 2019) THERE IS NEWS! A new release from Simple Minds in celebration of the band’s debut gig at Glasgow’s Satellite City on January 17th, 1978.
To mark the 44th Anniversary of the gig taking place, the band have re-recorded the first song they performed on the night, Act Of Love.
Act Of Love was previously recorded as a demo. The band’s CaVa demo that secured their initial recording deal.
The Dark Flowers (aka Paul Statham and friends) are set to release material in a few weeks time, featuring guest vocalists that we know and love.
First to launch will be E.P. “Death and Desire”, released on March 19th and featuring guest vocal performances from Gabriella Cilmi, Shelly Poole and our very own Anchoress. Lead track off the E.P. is titled Death Valley 69 and features David J and Char on vocals.
Even more exciting news, still, will be a follow up release of a full album by Dark Flowers later in the year called Indian Summer, which again features The Anchoress on guest vocals as well as FOUR TRACKS with Jim on vocal duties!
I nearly wet myself when I read this!
Paul was extremely kind to allow me to hear one song some time back which features both Jim and Catherine in a duet and it is wonderful. I will say no more! My lips are SEALED! But to say I am excited by the news of this album’s imminent release would be somewhat of an understatement! I am doing all I can to remain composed enough to type out this post. Lol. It’s probably riddled with mistakes as a result.
You can read lots more info on The Dark Flowers HERE and find links to pre-save the E.P. for streaming upon release date.
Due for release late next month “Shake The Foundations” looks like another well thought out Cherry Red release, focusing on what they’re classifying as “Militant Funk and The Post-Punk Dancefloor 1978-1984”.
On CD One of the compilation is Empires And Dance album track classic, This Fear Of Gods.
Other artists to feature on the set include: A Certain Ratio, Haircut 100, The Stranglers, Fun Boy Three and John Cooper Clarke.
I like the cover artwork. It seems somewhat inspired by Mr Garrett’s Assorted iMaGes work.
You can view more info and a full track list by clicking HERE
A short piece in the latest edition of Uncut Magazine about Dana Gillespie and her new book.
They spoke to her early on in the MainMan podcast series, in which she pretty much described herself as David Bowie’s f*** buddy – well, I guess a bit more than that – but she was emphatic that she was NOT his “girlfriend”. Merely more a friend who just happened to be a girl. “And, sometimes we got a bit…horizontal.” Needs must. Lol
It actually sounded like from her telling of it, that they felt quite kindred and enjoyed a very artistic tete-a-tete. Her relationship with him was certainly vastly different to that of Hermione Farthingale. And it endured for far longer. They remained life-long friends.
I sadly missed the premiere radio play of The Anchoress’s new single, Show Your Face, this afternoon on BBC Radio 6 Music with Steve Lamacq as I was making my way into Glasgow’s West End (for my belated birthday treat of seeing GlasGlow at the Botanic Gardens – some vids and pics in a separate post for those interested. Lol) just as the show was starting.
But here is the video of the single on YouTube. What a fab video. And what a fab synth sound on the song. It’s well braw! I loved it when I heard it the first time at the Meltdown Festival in 2018. Geez! Feels like forever ago now!
But the other fab news is, we have a release date and pre-order details for the new Anchoress album, The Art Of Losing! Yaaaay! Awesome news! It’s a while off yet. It’s not out until next March, but Catherine tells me we will get to hear a new track each month until the album is released.
It has been a little over 10 years since Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler first decided to team up with each other and work on producing music together. They quickly felt they had the makings of an album together. Little by little things came together, building on their work together when time allowed. A few years down the track with Catherine working on her on solo career as The Anchoress, and then being part of the touring band with Simple Minds and in between those things juggling with continuing work with Butler on what would become In Memory Of My Feelings. Talk about multi-tasking!
The album was all but completed for a number of years. Davies and Butler suffered knock backs. Record companies would show an interest and then inexplicably go cold on the idea. But both Catherine and Bernard knew they had a diamond here! They just needed someone else to see, feel and hear it! Enter Pete Paphides and his newly established record label, Needle Mythology. He knew the gem that was before him. And so, with one last little hiccup along the way (the test pressing of the album causing a problem which meant a one month delay from the initial release date of September 18th), Friday – at last – saw the release of In Memory Of My Feelings, on vinyl, CD and in digital format and through streaming services.
Was it worth the wait? My opinion – a resounding YES!
The Breakdown: It’s beautiful melancholia. Catherine has a knack for that. Its sparse chords and mirrored vocal harmonies exude fear and regret but…there is light. The best melancholic songs always bring a hope with them. There is hope. It ends in hope. There is love. Strength. And the offering of courage.
Ten Good Reasons: It has been my earwarm all day! There is sass and sensuality and sultriness. Relationships when they hit the rocks and flatline. Do we push on? Is there any sense in doing so? That’s what I hear in this song. Again, impeccable harmonies and fabulous guitar work from Butler. The final 30 seconds of the song is just…perfection. That repetition of “what a mess we’re in” and then the ending piano chords. Geez…I know that is something. Or is a nod to something familiar but I can’t put my finger on it! (Catherine might tell me if she sees this?)
Sabotage (Looks So Easy): Rocking. Just – pow – straight in! Intelligent lyrics. Just punchy and ballsy. Again full of sass and attitude. We’re not gonna take deceit lying down.
In Memory Of My Feelings: It’s like three songs in one! What a break up song! Just, the musical weaving and blending, ducking and diving. The harmonies! My god, the harmonies on this album are flawless! Delivery on the lyrics “because you can’t take it back / you’ve done it now / and that is that” during the bridge breaks (right term?) are just beautiful. This could be my favourite track on the album. It just has such layers to it. And the dark and light of it. It interplays with mood and colour. Light and shade. It’s fabulous!
I Know: Or is THIS my favourite track? THE HARMONIES! I want to die! And with Butler’s guitar riding it all underneath…geez! It really is a beauty this one. Tenderness. Such tenderness to it! A love that is blossoming yet already faltering? Everything is all tentative. It’s beautiful, this. Just really beautiful.
Judas: LET’S ROCK! Just to dry up those tears shed from the beauty of the previous track. It’s a rollercoaster, this album! A rollercoaster of gems! Just absorb the sensuality and sultriness of this one. And just eat up that jangling guitar. Sell it to me, brother! (I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. Lol)
No More Tears To Cry: It’s almost a gospel tune. What fabulous lines “here in my mouth / here in my heart / is the place where the hunger starts”. And fabulous guitar work for BB. Esp. on this track. His guitar work is strongest on this. Great middle solo. Oh, it’s SSOOO good!
The Waiting Game: I don’t usually hear much of Manic Street Preachers influence on Catherine, but I hear it really strongly on this track. Abandonment? It’s the worst! It’s the daisy petal game, this song. “He loves me. He loves me not.” We’ve all done it, even if just metaphorically most times…picking them petals off the daisy. Life is a waiting game…for buses, trains, planes, people to tell you they love you and want to be with you. This song is catchy AF.
The Patron Saint Of The Last Cause: When you don’t feel you are worthy of anyone’s attention or interest or kindness. Melancholic again, but delivered to sound lighthearted. “Hey, I’m a fuck up. Don’t be bothering yourself with me” to an upbeat tune.
F.O.H.: Again, those bloody harmonies. Hell! And then…
To be honest…this is the only track I am kinda grappling with. I don’t know what to make of it still. I am not saying I don’t like it. I just don’t find it so easy to express how I feel about it/what I’m getting from it. The jury’s out a little…but that’s okay. If we say this is one only song I am really not gelling with that well with then, that gives this album a massive 9/10!
The Bonus tracks:
Live To Tell is a stellar version of the Madonna original. Much more emotional to me. Catherine’s vocal performance utterly perfect. Lovely space left on the track too. Excellently executed. Better than the original.
The Patron Saint Of The Lost Cause (Harmonium Version) the air of lightheartedness on the album version is diminished somewhat by the barebones harmonium sound. It isn’t a bad thing. I really like both versions.
Why this album was such a long push to get to be released is truly perplexing having listened to it several times now. The rejecting record company’s loss and Needle Mythology’s gain. Congratulations to Catherine and Bernard. And well done to the both of you for having the courage of your convictions to know that what you had produced here deserved to have an audience because you were both SSOO right!
In Memory Of My Feelings is a very strong album. Great lyrics, fabulous harmonies, musically “on point”. Everything just fits.
I can’t recommend this album enough!
It’s near faultless.
It has to be a 9/10!