Ben Harper – Both sides of the gun (Epic #103)

The Epic 2017 Project #103: 170413

Ben Harper – Both sides of the gun (2006)

Released as a double album, the title suggests the two sides of Harper’s musical nature. The first disc (“White”) is made of mostly acoustic and string-driven songs hinted at on the last track (“She’s Only Happy In The Sun”) of Harper’s previous album Diamonds on the Inside. The second disc (“Black”) is made up of the more rock and upbeat material and touching on genres such as hard rock, funk and gospel.

The album saw Harper playing the majority of the instruments on both discs; an approach that he had rarely used on his previous albums. However, the Innocent Criminals would appear on a few tracks whilst his later band, Relentless7, would appear together for the first time on “Serve Your Soul”, the last track on the second disc.

The album became Harper’s first US top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 200 album charts, entering and peaking at number seven on its release. To date, it is his highest album entry in that chart.

Cold Specks – I predict a graceful expulsion (Epic 2017 #040)

The Epic 2017 Project #040: 170209

Cold Specks – I predict a graceful expulsion (2012)


Cold Specks is the stage name of singer-songwriter Ladan Hussein, who was previously known as Al Spx.  Her music has been described as doom-soul. The name Cold Specks is taken from a line in James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’…

Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil, lights shining in the darkness..

This, her debut album, was released on May 21, 2012, on Mute Records and Arts & Crafts in Canada.

Antonio Banderas – Cancion del mariachi (Leaping Ahead #152)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #152: 160531

[Song from a Spanish artiste]

From the soundtrack to Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Desperado’, this was performed by Los Lobos and Antonio Banderas. The album track “Mariachi Suite” by Los Lobos was awarded a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance at the 1995 Grammy Awards.

Joni Mitchell – Big yellow taxi (Leaping Ahead #122)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #122: 160501

[A song with colour (5)]

Released in 1970 on her ‘Ladies of the Canyon’ album, Joni Mitchell said this about writing the song to journalist Alan McDougall in the early 1970s:

I wrote ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart… this blight on paradise. That’s when I sat down and wrote the song.

Jefferson Airplane – Hesitation Blues (Leaping Ahead #117)

Leaping Ahead Project #117: 160426

[Song from a band beginning with J]

Flight Log (1966–1976), released in January 1977 as a double-LP, is a compilation of Jefferson Airplane and Airplane-related tracks, including stuff by Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna, as well as solo tracks by Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, and Jorma Kaukonen. Hesitation Blues features Kaukonen on the 12-string and remains one of my all-time favourite versions of this traditional tune.