Tuesday, 18 December 2018

My Top 18 Albums of 2018 #9


9. The Decemberists - I'll Be Your Girl

Everything Is Awful and We All Die Young. For Once In My Life, could just something go right?

More here.



Next... there's a new sheriff in town, and it ain't Tony Soprano or Walter White.


Monday, 17 December 2018

My Top 18 Albums of 2018 #10


10. Jill Jackson - Are We There Yet?

Honest human stories... including a couple that reduced me to a blubbering wreck. Music to make you feel.

More here.



Next... the best record Morrissey didn't release this year.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Saturday Snapshots #63 - The Answers


Hey There! What Kind of Fool Am I? I almost forgot to post this week's Saturday Snapshots answers. To be fair, it has been a very stressful week. Ofsted never actually stepped into my classroom, but the constant anticipation of them doing so nearly killed me. That was Too Close For Comfort. Still, it's over now.

I think Chris deserves the crown this week for solving the ones nobody else could. Alyson was the Early Bird; it was good to have Lynchie back, CC & C were beaten to the punch.

Time to play The Candyman again and hand out these sweet goodies...


10. Bambi's mum has a special milkman. Spice approaching!


Ernie was the fastest milkman in the West.

Special K.

A female deer is a doe.

Lynchie claimed he only knew one Ernie K. Doe song. Surely you know this one too?

Ernie K. Doe - Here Come The Girls

9. A Black Widow gets lost in translation, singing je t'aime solo.


Scarlett Johansson is the Black Widow, and gets Lost In Translation.

Scarlet - Independent Love Song

8. Adam's lady gets in a fight with Mutton Batman.


Adam's lady was Eve.

A fight is a war.

Mutton Jeff + Bruce Wayne =

Jeff Wayne - Eve of the War

7. Drippy waterfalls.


The Cascades - Rhythm of the Rain

6. "Oh no, I wouldn't."

"Oh, yes..."

The young man has an admirer.


Oh yes, Yearwood.

Trisha Yearwood - She's In Love With The Boy

5. Doubly definite, Kerouac is defeated.


The definite article is The.

Kerouac inspired the Beat Generation.

Defeat is getting beaten.

The The - The Beat(en) Generation

4. Parents can still call the request line for romantic tunes.


The Mamas & The Papas - Dedicated To The One I Love

3. Going on a date with Dettol generates confusion. (That may be my favourite clue of the year.)


A date with Dettol would be a romance with chemicals.

"Generates" mixed up is teenagers.

"Do they have a song called Teenagers?" asked Rigid Digit, refusing (nobly) to resort to googling (it is a verb now).

Yes, they do... and it's a blinder.

My Chemical Romance - Teenagers 

2. Lots of blue and a few splashes of white for the time we preferred not to drive.


Blue and white are the colours of the ocean.

Ocean Colour Scene - The Day We Caught The Train

I don't care what you think about Ocean Colour Scene: that is a great tune.

1. Renato's lady is led astray by two pairs of jumpers.


Renee was with Renato.

Two pairs of jumpers would be Four Tops.

This song sends shivers down my spine...


If My Friends Could See Me Now, they'd realise next week will be our annual Seasonal Snapshots. I'll see you then, with bells on.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Saturday Snapshots #63


When I wake up, well I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who sets up Saturday Snapshots for you.

Identify ten artists and ten top tunes from the clues below, please. Hopefully you won't have to walk 500 miles to do it...



10. Bambi's mum has a special milkman. Spice approaching!


9. A Black Widow gets lost in translation, singing je t'aime solo. 


8. Adam's lady gets in a fight with Mutton Batman.


7. Drippy waterfalls.


6. "Oh no, I wouldn't."

"Oh, yes..."

The young man has an admirer.


5. Doubly definite, Kerouac is defeated.


4. Parents can still call the request line for romantic tunes.


3. Going on a date with Dettol generates confusion. (That may be my favourite clue of the year.)


2. Lots of blue and a few splashes of white for the time we preferred not to drive.


1. Renato's lady is led astray by two pairs of jumpers.


When you go, will you send back... your answers to Saturday Snapshots? I'll compare them with mine tomorrow morning.

Friday, 14 December 2018

My Top 18 Albums of 2018 #11


11. Jack White - Boarding House Reach

Queen and Prince influence Jack White's most adventurous and ambitious album to date... quite simply: it's utterly bonkers.


Next, we're heading back to Scotland... are we there yet?

Thursday, 13 December 2018

My Top 18 Albums of 2018 #12


12. Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real - Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real 

Willie's son, Neil Young's guitarist... and a fine solo artist too. I promise you he's the real thing.

More here.


Next... White Man with Big Stick.


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

My Top Ten Scottish Songs of 2018


My favourite radio station of 2018 has been BBC Radio Scotland. I started listening to it because I discovered Ricky Ross's Another Country, which plays a far better selection of new and old country and Americana than Bob Harris does these days. I'll always be thankfully to Whispering Bob for introducing me over the years to many of my favourite artists, but he's gone a bit commercial in his old age. Deacon Blue's Ricky Ross is an unlikely country fan, and he admits to coming late to the genre, but 90% of the music he plays is of interest to me, whereas Bob manages about 50% these days.

While enjoying Ricky's show, I also discovered a couple more Radio Scotland shows that became firm favourites, both devoted to the singer-songwriter genre, and invested in lyrical storytelling. Iain Anderson (not the guy from Jethro Tull, though I did have to check) covers the older end of that spectrum well, while Roddy Hart (another songwriter-turned-DJ) has introduced me to some more contemporary acts I've really got into this year. There's a fair bit of crossover between their shows, and a focus on some Scottish musicians I'd never encountered before. They both hit the mark with me far more than the average 6Music show, a station which is still trying too hard to be cool, something that'll only increase once Lauren Laverne takes over the breakfast show. After the doubly demoted Keaveny & RadMac, only Guy Garvey really tickles my fancy on 6 anymore, and even he tries a little hard at times. (Most of my radio listening is done in the wee small hours these days, via iPlayer, so much as I enjoy Iggy, Huey and Riley, I only get to catch them live every now and then... and they're not going to soothe away the mental aches and pains of the day in the way I need at 3am.)

Anyway, Radio Scotland has introduced and re-introduced me to some great Scottish records this year. The Proclaimers have already featured in my Top 18, and there's another great Scottish record coming up once I hit the Top Ten. Here's ten more great Scottish tunes that made me hit download this year...

(I'll dedicate this Top Ten to the late Scott Hutchinson from Frightened Rabbit, a truly great Scottish musician who tragically departed this mortal coil earlier this year.)


10. Blue Rose Code - Ebb & Flow

Top of my list of artists to investigate further in the new year is Edinburgh's Ross Wilson, aka Blue Rose Code.

9. The Gracious Losers - Where The River Meets The Sea

I owe this lot initially to Charity Chic, though they also cropped up on Roddy Hart's show later, once Roddy had decided to follow the cool crowd.

8.  Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert - Quantum Theory Love Song

I often find space in my record collection for the Arab Strap boys. Here Aidan teams up with RM Hubbert from El Hombre Trajeado to offer a tribute to the late Stephen Hawking...

7. Martha Ffion - Record Sleeves

From the album Sunday Best, this reminds me very much of Camera Obscura (of whom more in a moment). Great opening line too.

When we were 15,
We burned our diaries
You saw the devil
Painted on our record sleeves

6. Dead Man Fall - Andy Warhol

Know very little about this lot, but they remind me of a Scottish Vampire Weekend.

5. Daniel Meade - If The Bombs Don't Kill Us

Glaswegian Americana. Lovely stuff.

4. Tracyanne & Danny - Alabama

I suspect quite a few of my fellow bloggers may have found a place in their year end countdown for this collaboration between Camera Oscura's Tracyanne Camplbell and Crybaby's Danny Campbell. I liked the album a lot, particularly the retro-Richard Hawley vibe to some of the songs, yet somehow it couldn't quiet edge its way onto my shortlist. Alabama though, is a classic.

3. Neil Sturgeon & The Infomaniacs - NY Reflection Song

They don't write them like this anymore.

Oh, wait... they do!

2. Karine Polwart - Laws of Motion

I was a fan of Karine Polwart's debut record some years ago, but she'd slipped off my radar until a couple of months back when she released this album... one I've only started listening to in detail and I'm already wondering whether I should have found space for it in my Top 18.

There is one track on this record which is definitely one of my songs of the year... but I'm saving that for another Top Ten in a week or so.

1. Iain Morrison - Let's Go Captain

I have snuck this one into a post earlier in the year, but it deserves another play now. As I said at the time, don't make up your mind about it until 1 minute 10...



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