Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Coventry Music Museum - New EP and Label!

Coventry Music Museum - New EP and Label!

By Pete Clemons

How many music related exhibitors can boast their own record label? Very few I suspect, if any at all, would be the correct answer.

Well Coventry Music Museum, the brainchild of Pete Chambers, has done just that. And the first, of what’s promised to be many releases in vinyl, CD and download formats, has just been released.

A 4 track vinyl EP titled ‘The Alternative Sounds’ EP has already been produced and this debut offering is currently on sale.

The Alternative Sounds title is actually a clever pastiche of Martin Bowes fabled and legendary Coventry music fanzine that he put together during the late 70s and early 80s. And the E.P. has been compiled and mastered by Martin himself at his Cage Studios based in Coventry.

And the 4 tracks included, which has to be said, represents a fantastic range of Coventry’s diverse and varied music scene, are as follows: Roddy Radiation and the Skabilly Rebels ‘Heartbreak City’, Crokodile Tears ‘Trains’, The Primitives ‘Never Kill a Secret’ and Attrition ‘Two Gods’.

And these artists have given these songs towards the project for free. Now it doesn’t need me to tell you what a big deal it is when an artist gives away their work. The cause needs to be a worthy one, as in the case of recording artists, song writing is their life blood. It’s what pay’s the bill for them. They don’t do it lightly.

The launch evening for the E.P. was held at the museum. Many enthusiastic guests were in attendance including some of the cast from the forthcoming play Godiva Rocks which is being staged at the Belgrade Theatre along with several local luminaires from the Coventry music scene and beyond.

Those gathered were first of all treated to Crokodile Tears. The Croks, namely Christopher Sidwell, Alf Hardy and, one time Hawkwind member and now Hawklord, Jerry Richards were in attendance accompanied by Christopher Sidwell’s grandson. Between them they gave us a selection of their greatest hits such as ‘If Hippies Ruled the World’, ‘Egg and Chips’ and ‘Trains’.

The Croks set was particularly poignant as each song they played was dedicated, in remembrance, to a different and now lamented Coventry musician.

Following them were The Primitives, well half of them at least, vocalist Tracy Tracy and guitarist Paul Court. Between them they performed a three track acoustic set that included one of their more recent songs ‘Spin-O-Rama’, and the now classic tune ‘Crash’ feted by many as being up there as one of the best pop songs ever produced.

The Alternative Sounds EP will be the first of several releases and the physical copy of this particular record, as far as I understand, is a limited edition of 500 which is selling fast. So if you are interested in purchasing a copy then best act fast. All proceeds from its sale will be going to help the museum sustain itself. It is available directly from museum along with Vinyl Destination in the Market as well as record shops in Leamington Spa and Rugby. On line specialist Bandcamp will also be distributing it.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Daniel Wylie - More Melodic Sunshine………….

More Melodic Sunshine………….
By Pete Clemons

Daniel Wylie is a singer songwriter who appeared in several bands, and as a solo artist, during the 80s and 90s in and around the Glasgow area.

And then Daniel created the Cosmic Rough Riders who, aided by Stephen Fleming, became a duo. CRR then flourished into a full blown band after they had enlisted the services of Mark Brown and James Clifford. But then, during 2002, Daniel left his own band and reverted back to becoming a solo performer again.

During their existence Cosmic Rough Riders developed a warm and generous sound that couldn’t help but make you smile, and sing along to, when in their company.

Cosmic Rough Riders came to my attention shortly after the album ‘Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine was released on the Poptones label during the year 2000. A single released from that album ‘Revolution (In the Summertime)’ gave the band its first hit. This was followed by popular release from the album ‘The Pain Inside’.

And CRR were very good live as well. I remember well, seeing them perform at the Godiva Festival and again, this time in an acoustic setting, at a record shop in Coventry.

Even after Daniel’s departure, for me at least, Cosmic Rough Riders created some impressive music and, as a complete body of work, CRR have left us with a hugely enjoyable legacy.

Daniel then signed a solo deal with Measured Records and released two albums the first ‘Ramshackle Beauty’ followed by an album of outtakes titled ‘Postcards’.

Another new label brought another new album as ‘The High Cost of Happiness’ dropped during August 2006 on Neon Tetra Records.

But all that is now history and a decade or more has passed. And now 2017 has seen Daniel release a new album that brings us some more much needed melodic sunshine.

Daniel did release a vinyl only L.P. during 2015 called ‘Chrome Cassettes’ but I am yet to listen to this.

Released a few weeks ago this latest CD, titled ‘Scenery for Dreamers’, was a part of my summer listening and it has since endured several repeated visits.

The first thing that struck me was the disc labelling. It paid homage to the 1960s/1970s classic record label Harvest with is distinctive logo. So immediately it was aesthetically pleasing to me.

The ten songs, 7 with a full band and 3 acoustic, are powerful and are full of hope. In the main this album display’s a positive imagery. But above all the album is chock full of melody, which is the aspect of song writing that Daniel, is clearly, still drawn towards.

I also get the impression, from his songs, that Daniel is more than happy to demonstrate romanticism. Feelings of love resonate throughout this album as they would do in his earlier work.

If not already familiar, you really do need to find the time to listen to Daniel and to the Cosmic Rough Riders. But be prepared to clear some space on you record shelves for his current and back catalogue.

For album details - contact Daniel directly on his Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/daniel.wylie.5

Judy Dyble - Talking About Strangers

Judy Dyble - Talking About Strangers
by Pete Clemons

Seeing Judy Dyble in concert, fairly regularly over the last few years, has been one of the more memorable and most enjoyable gigs on my calendar.

When I see Judy perform she comes across to me as this fairly contented person albeit lacking a little in self-confidence. I get the impression that she doesn’t quite know or realise how good she actually is. But this is not a criticism and it’s far from being a bad thing. As, actually, that fragility is actually a part of her charm.

In case anyone does need reminding……….Those with long memories may well remember Judy Dyble as being the vocalist and one of the founding members of Fairport Convention. Slightly later, Judy was one half of Trader Horne. But then Judy left the music business.

However for just over ten years or so, Judy has steadily and strongly moved back into music. Writing songs and performing with her band, the Band of Perfect Strangers. In fact it is that band that really does deserve a great deal of credit for getting Judy to where she is now.

During this period she has released some wonderful albums including the incredible and timeless ‘Talking with Strangers’ and ‘Flow and Change’.

There is now a familiar pattern to Judy’s gigs. They tend to start a little nervously. They then grow throughout, and end quite strongly. But the songs she sings give off a real zest for life and for love.

Part of my recent holiday listening, was the latest release to feature Judy. A collaboration with Andy Lewis who I saw playing bass on a recent Paul Weller tour at Warwick Arts Centre.

When I first became aware that this album was being worked on, and then subsequently discovering that it was being released on the Acid Jazz label, I must admit that my first thought was more of intrigue. From a distance it all seemed such an unlikely fit.

What on earth was I thinking, the album titled ‘Summer Dancing’, is a total delight and even touches on Judy’s lack of self-belief and pessimism when it comes to her own abilities .

After a slight introduction, the opening track is titled He Said/I Said and the lyrics did make me smile when I first heard them………

He said sing me a song, you’ve done it before and it won’t sound wrong. I said I hear what you say but it’s been so long and the magic has gone. He said give try, you never know how high you can fly. I said I’ll give it a spin but the words are old and it might sound thin.

But the qualities within the songs, as mentioned early with regard for just loving life itself, are portrayed once again on this album. And it’s an insight to that kind of world you enter upon hearing this set of songs.

It has been an eventful couple of years for Judy. Last year saw the release of her book – the autobiographical ‘An Accidental Musician’ - which is still available and next year will see the release of another album featuring the Band of Perfect Strangers.

Not only that but Judy took her place with the other surviving original members of Fairport Convention as they celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the band at the recent Cropredy festival.

Back to He Said/I Said and the song does end on a positive note as the lyrics continue………..

So I gave it a try. I don’t know where it came from but I don’t think it will ever end. If you never try you will never know where you can fly.

It sounds from that as if Judy is going to be around for a while longer yet. Be prepared to be captivated.