Category Archives: Old records

True Love Cast Out All Evil

The music industry can be a desolate wasteland. Aging rockstars huddle together around dubious collaborations, trying to stay warm while the scene around them radiates with innovation, but few albums have offered a greater rehabilitation than True Love Cast Out All Evil.

Through violent drug addiction, schizophrenia, and a lobotomy, Roky’s brilliance has been tragically suppressed. However, his family have persisted, capturing moments of fleeting beauty and excitement when they could convince Roky to play, and eventually brought him back from a colourless list of life-threatening vices.

During the worst period of Roky Erikson’s mental illness he was a regular heroin user; played white noise from his radio at full volume; legally declared himself an alien and contracted such horrific dental ulcers that they nearly killed him. He was arrested and lobotomized by the Texas state police force in 1969 for the possession of one joint.

The album opens and closes with distant scratched lullabies, original tape-recording’s Roky’s mother took during a period of self-prescribed detainment in his own home. However, the re-recorded tracks, handpicked by Will Sheff of Okkervil River, serve as signposts to the creativity which characterized Erikson’s career. His vocals range from a timid whimper into bold melodies (on tracks like ‘Forever’ and ‘Be and Bring me Home’) and occasionally aggressive thunders (‘Goodbye Sweet Dreams’), but they never lack dignity.

Sheets of reverberating guitars and warm string sections turn Roky’s raw emotional lyrics into euphoric sentiments which, whilst attacking legal and medical institutions, honour the value of family, community, love and music. The title track ‘True Love…’ emerging from the boisterous ‘John Lawman’ most resonantly demonstrates this. It is, of course, important not to underestimate Okkervil River’s ability to craft something which is both beautiful and potent but this is all about Roky finally getting what he fully deserved to have a long time ago.

Ewan Kelly

 

Samizdat | the Stax edition

Another Samizdat podcast in which we play some Stax records and talk some nonsense.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

1st collector for Samizdat | the Stax edition
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Track list:

1. Booker T and the MGs – Green onions

2. Jean Knight – Mr big stuff

3. Albert King – Born under a bad sign

4. Otis Redding – (Sittin’ on) the dock of the bay

5. William Bell – I forgot to be your lover

6. The Staple Singers – I’ll take you there

You can follow us on Twitter @samizdat_ed

 

Podcast – Go folk yourself

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Us talking some rubbish about folk music that we like.

Track list:

1. Lal & Mike Waterson – Bright Phoebus

2. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Ingrid Bergman

3. James Yorkston and the Athletes – Shipwreckers

4. Horse Feathers – This bed

5. Anais Mitchell ft. Greg Brown – Why we build the wall

6. Villagers – Meaning of the ritual

Follow us on Twitter @samizdat_ed

Podcast – Go folk yourself

Us talking some rubbish about folk music that we like.

Track list:

1. Lal & Mike Waterson – Bright Phoebus

2. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Ingrid Bergman

3. James Yorkston and the Athletes – Shipwreckers

4. Horse Feathers – This bed

5. Anais Mitchell ft. Greg Brown – Why we build the wall

6. Villagers – Meaning of the ritual

Follow us on Twitter @samizdat_ed

 

 

Five albums I really, really love

Admittedly this is a bit of a cliched post, but it’s a nice starter for ten, and we all love a list (apart from American serial killer John List – bit of a nasty bastard by all accounts).

1. James Yorkston – When the Haar Rolls in

Hardly surprising that former Fence Collective troubadour James Yorkston makes an appearance on here, considering it was he whom my esteemed contributor Fearghus and I were watching on Friday night (see his review of that show here). However, this is an album as fit for balmy summer days as it is long winter nights, with Yorkston at his most affecting yet, particularly on the album’s title track. Force of habit has caused me to always skip ‘Would you have me born with wooden eyes?’, though. ‘Cos it’s crap.

2. Andrew Bird – Oh! The Grandeur

A far cry from the lyrically-intricate-I-just-learnt-a-new-big-word-so-Ima-use-it-soulless-dirge the Birdman tends to put out these days, Grandeur harks back to the music hall jiving of the ’20s and ’30s, all syncopation and jazz hands. He even makes room for a Jewish funeral march. What larks!

3. The Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin

Ranging from the sweetest harmonies of catharsis to Tom Waits at his growling dirtiest, Charlie Darwin is perhaps, musically, one of my favourites of the last few years. Wait, no, it definitely is, that’s why it’s on the list. Ok, the words aren’t wonderful, but the singing, especially on the first two tracks, makes my many hairs stand up.

4. Leonard Cohen – New Skin for the Old Ceremony

The stalwart of wry misery, Cohen’s fourth album has some of his best lyrics: “You told me you prefer handsome men, but for me you would make an exception.” We can all associate with that. Also, the clarinet on ‘Why don’t you try?’ is irresistible.

5. Dessa – A badly broken code

She’s got a masters degree in Psychology, you know? Well, she sure knows, and uses it to perfection, combining rap, spoken word and some gorgeously-sung hooks in her flow (I’m so white). She’s clever too, some insightful stuff on here. You can’t run on “whisky and risk and ennui and impatience’, though, and she should know better.

I compiled this list by having a quick glance through my itunes, and there’s probably at least 50 more albums I really love too. Maybe more that these, even. Why is it lists are so appealing?

You can follow Neal Wallace on Twitter @nealjwallace