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Showing posts from January, 2019

In Defence Of....."Outlaw Pete"

On a recent episode of the Set Lusting Bruce podcast, host Jesse Jackson along with guests Chris Bloom and Tim Arnold ranked their five top opening tracks from Bruce Springsteen albums. Whilst the show was as enjoyable as ever I couldn't help but note the universal disdain for the epic opener from 2009's "Working On A Dream", "Outlaw Pete". A response was required, so here we go....



Let's deal with the elephant in the room first, KISS. As a Brit KISS were never the big deal here that they were in the US. In fact before doing some research for this post, the only KISS song I'd ever heard was "Crazy, Crazy Nights". The similarity of the melody line from "Outlaw Pete" and "I Was Made For Loving You" was therefore not something that had ever bothered me as I'd not heard the KISS track until about 10 minutes ago! 

I'm not going to try a claim there is no similarity, or to pass judgement on whether it was intentional or …

Top Ten Albums Of 2018 - Number 1

A note before I start. This is not the definite list of the best albums of 2018, but my personal top ten.I have only included albums that I own, and there will be notable and popular records not in this top ten simply because I have neither the time or inclination to listen to them all. It's okay to disagree!

With that said here's my choice for number 1, and coincidentally the subject of my very first blog post back in 

Back Roads And Abandoned Motels by The Jayhawks



Arriving just over two years after 2016’s “Paging Mr Proust”, the new album from Minnesota’s finest is a departure, in that most but not all of the songs were co-written with other artists. Two Gary Louris originals round out the set. Whilst “Paging Mr Proust” was a return to form after the, in my mind, lacklustre and inconsistent “Mockingbird Time”, this is a step back up to the 1992-2003 heyday.



From the moment the drums and bass guitar strike up an instantly recognisable Jayhawks groove on “Come Cryin’ To Me”, unti…

Top Ten Albums Of 2018 - Number 2

A note before I start. This is not the definite list of the best albums of 2018, but my personal top ten.I have only included albums that I own, and there will be notable and popular records not in this top ten simply because I have neither the time or inclination to listen to them all. It's okay to disagree!

With that said here's my choice for number 2.

Love In The Modern Age by Josh Rouse


I picked up Josh Rouse's latest album at the show reviewed earlier, purely on the strength of the new songs he'd debuted that night.

Firstly, the songs are almost uniformly great, and whilst some might complain at only 9 tracks on an album, less is sometimes more. "Leave 'em wanting more" is a good policy. I find it hard to accept, for example, that The Beatles "White Album", to pick a famous example, wouldn't have been improved by being cut to a single disc. A topic for another day perhaps?

Back to matters in hand. The album starts out with what is my favouri…

Top Ten Albums of 2018 - Number 3

A note before I start. This is not the definite list of the best albums of 2018, but my personal top ten.I have only included albums that I own, and there will be notable and popular records not in this top ten simply because I have neither the time or inclination to listen to them all. It's okay to disagree!

With that said here's my choice for number 3.

Attack Of The Grey Lantern Deluxe Reissue by Mansun
The first time I became aware of Mansun was when I picked up the CD single of "Wide Open Space". 

Whilst that song itself is a '90's classic, it was the b-sides that got me interested. Back when CD singles came in 2 versions this meant a potential of 6 more tracks. What I heard there, especially in "Vision Impaired", and "Skin Up, Pin Up" convinced me that I wanted as much music by this band as possible. 


Anticipation was high, then, for the debut album, "Attack Of The Grey Lantern" (AOTGL).
Boy, did it not disappoint. You have to ima…

Top Ten Albums of 2018 - Number 4

A note before I start. This is not the definite list of the best albums of 2018, but my personal top ten.I have only included albums that I own, and there will be notable and popular records not in this top ten simply because I have neither the time or inclination to listen to them all. It's okay to disagree!

With that said here's my choice for number 4.

A Star Is Born Soundtrack by Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga

This post will deal specifically with the music and the songs contained within the soundtrack rather than rehashing my review of the film, (for that go here).

After seeing this film, and upon getting home I reached for my guitar and immediately set about learning "Maybe It's Time" and "Shallow". It's been a while since I was inspired enough by a piece of music to have to learn how to play it immediately. That perhaps gives you an inkling as to why this film soundtrack is at number four in my best albums of the year. 

I wrestled with this one mor…

Top Ten Albums Of 2018 - Number 5

A note before I start. This is not the definite list of the best albums of 2018, but my personal top ten.I have only included albums that I own, and there will be notable and popular records not in this top ten simply because I have neither the time or inclination to listen to them all. It's okay to disagree!

With that said here's my choice for number 5.

Roxy: Tonight's The Night Live by Neil Young


Not a bad year for archive live releases from one of rock music's great elder statesmen.
Along with the recently released, and also very good, "Songs For Judy", (review here), we  are treated to this 1973 recording of the majority of the, at the time, just recorded but not yet released "Tonight's The Night" (TTN).

I consider that album to be amongst his finest work, not quite pipping the sublime "On The Beach" (OTB),(full review here). Neil was in a rich decade of form that had started with "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" in 1969 and …

Top Ten Albums of 2018 - Number 6

A note before I start. This is not the definite list of the best albums of 2018, but my personal top ten.I have only included albums that I own, and there will be notable and popular records not in this top ten simply because I have neither the time or inclination to listen to them all. It's okay to disagree!

With that said here's my selection for number 6.

Live From The Ryman - Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

Coming a year after one of the standout albums of 2017, "The Nashville Sound", "Live At The Ryman" showcases material from that and his two prior albums.
Given that this is Jason Isbell we are talking about, the songs being of the highest quality is a given.

In fact the expectation of high quality might actually hold this album back a little. Whilst it's not an all-time classic live album like  "Live At Leeds" by The Who, or Lucinda Williams' "Live @ The Fillmore", it is 'merely' an excellent record of a very good band a…