Robert Plant – Band of Joy (Epic 2017 #233)

The Epic 2017 Project #233: 170821

Robert Plant – Band of Joy (2010)

Robert Plant’s ninth solo album and the first with his new band, the Band of Joy, released on 13 September 2010 in the UK and 14 September in the USA.

In addition to the song “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down”, which is the opening theme for the now-concluded Starz television series Boss, the credits of BBC 1’s Luther for an episode aired on 16 July 2013 and the season two finale of the Syfy series Defiance, the album is particularly notable for the song “Monkey”, originally of the band Low, which is slowed-down to a grinding, spooky Gothic Rock tempo and mood that is vastly different from Low’s version. It is arguably the least similar to other tracks on the album (except for Satan), which for the most part carry folk rock or progressive rock moods. This version of “Monkey” also may be the first Gothic Rock track Robert Plant has ever recorded, and although it is not a staple at Plant’s live performances, there have been instances where he has performed it.

The album debuted at No.5 on the Billboard 200 chart and at No.3 on the UK Albums Chart. The first single released from the album was “Angel Dance”. But here’s ‘House of Cards’

John Martyn – Solid Air (Epic 2017 #168)

The Epic 2017 Project #168: 170617

John Martyn – Solid Air (1973)

Solid Air was the fourth studio album from the late folk singer-songwriter John Martyn, released in February 1973 by Island Records.

The album was recorded over eight days and features instrumental contributions by bassist Danny Thompson and members of Fairport Convention.”Solid Air”, the title track, was dedicated to a friend of Martyn’s, Nick Drake, who would die of an antidepressant overdose 18 months after the album was released. Martyn said of the track

“It was done for a friend of mine, and it was done right with very clear motives, and I’m very pleased with it, for varying reasons. It has got a very simple message, but you’ll have to work that one out for yourself.”

The album features an avant-garde cover of Skip James’ “Devil Got My Woman,”here retitled “I’d Rather Be the Devil” and performed with heavy use of Martyn’s Echoplex tape delay effect.

“May You Never” became something of a signature song for Martyn, becoming a staple of his live performances. Released in November 1971 as a single in an early form, the song was re-recorded during the Solid Air sessions. Eric Clapton covered “May You Never” on his 1977 album Slowhand. When Martyn was presented with a lifetime achievement award by Phil Collins (a collaborator of Martyn’s) at the 2008 BBC Folk Awards, Clapton sent a message saying that he was “so far ahead of everything else it was inconceivable” and acknowledged the extent of his influence on “everyone who ever heard him.”Martyn and his band, including John Paul Jones on mandolin, played “May You Never” and “Over The Hill” at the Awards Ceremony.

A remastered CD was issued by Universal Records in October 2000. This CD was packaged in a card slipcase, and featured a remastered version of the original album with the addition of a live version of “I’d Rather Be The Devil”. Solid Air was given a further remastering and repackaging when a double CD reissue curated by John Hillarby was released in 2009, and which included several alternate studio and live versions.

The album cover is an example of schlieren photography demonstrating the ‘solid’ nature of air.

Lindisfarne – The Legendary Christmas Show (Epic 2017 #161)

The Epic 2017 Project #161: 170610

Lindisfarne – The Legendary Christmas Show (2014)

This is my signed copy of the limited edition recording of Lindisfarne’s 2013 Christmas show at Newcastle City Hall. Underneath the CD is a signed copy of the programme for the gig.

I had the privilege of seeing Lindisfarne live back in the day in 1978 and 1979, although sadly not in Newcastle.

However, I have the good fortune now to have a very good friend who not only knows Ray ‘Jacka’ Jackson as a personal friend, but was also asked to write both the sleeve notes for the CD and the intro to the programme.

And, although I wasn’t able to get to the 2013 Christmas show, here’s an extract from the CD sleeve notes penned by Kevin Lindoe, which sum up what it really was always all about…

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s the Lindisfarne Christmas shows at Newcastle City Hall became the stuff of legend in the North East of England. People came from all over the world to attend the shows and to see a band performing to capacity audiences on their home ground inside one of the most beautiful civic concert halls in the UK. The words ‘Lindisfarne’, ‘Christmas’ and ‘Show’ became synonymous with each other in an astonishing way. Almost everyone in the North East of England was aware of the shows taking place, even if they were not attending themselves. They truly became a North East cultural phenomenon and established themselves in modern folklore

There are so many Lindisfarne tracks which do admirable justice to the band and their musical prowess but ‘Fog on the Tyne’ has to be one of the best.

Jethro Tull – Songs from the wood (Epic 2017 #122)

The Epic 2017 Project #122: 170502

Jethro Tull – Songs from the wood (1977)

Songs from the Wood is the tenth studio album by British progressive rock band Jethro Tull, released February 1977. The album signalled a new direction for the band, who turned to celebrating British pagan folklore and the countryside life in a wide-ranging folk rock style which combined traditional instruments and melodies with hard rock drums and electric guitars.

The album is considered to be the first of a trio of folk rock albums: Songs from the Wood, Heavy Horses (1978) and Stormwatch (1979). On the album cover appears an extended title line: “Jethro Tull – with kitchen prose, gutter rhymes and divers – Songs from the Wood”. The title track of the album contain two of these phrases in its lyrics.

The UK music-paper adverts read: “Jethro Tull present ‘Songs From The Wood’. A new album of Old Magic. Songs From The Wood. It’s inspired by the thought that perhaps nature isn’t as gentle as we’d like to believe. And it takes as its theme the natural and supernatural inhabitants of the woodlands of old England. Warm and friendly, harsh and bitter by turns, it includes ‘Ring Out Solstice Bells’ as well as Tull’s new single ‘The Whistler’ and seven other songs. Find a quiet spot and listen to it soon.”

First Aid Kit – Drunken Trees (Epic 2017 #085)

The Epic 2017 Project #085: 170326

First Aid Kit – Drunken Trees (2008)

Drunken Trees was the debut release by Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit. It was released on 9 April 2008 in Sweden via Rabid Records, followed by a UK release via Wichita Records on 23 February 2009. The UK release features the band’s cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” as a bonus track, in addition to videos of “Our Own Pretty Ways”, “Jagadamba, You Might” and “You’re Not Coming Home Tonight”

Admiral Fallow – Boots met my face (Epic 2017 #002)

The Epic 2017 project #002: 170102

Admiral Fallow – Boots met my Face (2011)

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Originally formed in 2007 by singer-songwriter Louis Abbott under the name ‘The Brother Louis Collective’, Admiral Fallow are based in Glasgow.

‘Boots Met My Face’ was recorded in July 2009

All of the songs document the first chapter of my life, be it memories from school or kicking a ball about with my childhood chums. All are taken from real life events. There’s no fiction. I’m not into making up stories or characters for the sake of trying to stir emotions. They are songs about friends and family as well as a fair bit of self-evaluation”. [Louis Abbot (2010)]

Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (Leaping Ahead #285)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #285: 161011

[Song from a band seen in 2010]

12 March 2010 – Brighton’s Corn Exchange. Tickets were like gold-dust as I recall. We got ours earlier in the year just before the band hit the big time. And when that happened, everyone wanted tickets to see them. Could have sold them many times over, but we didn’t!