January 2017 Reading Challenges Update – A Great Start!

A Great Start for 2017 – Seven Books Read – Three in Progress

So at the start of January I wrote a post outlining my proposed reads for the  month. Typically, I read the number of books that I have proposed to read, but often the books read are not those which were proposed. I usually find and  sneak in one or two books that I discover or think of during the month. But so far in 2017, I have done well, reading four out of the five books that I had proposed. Here are the five books that I said I was going to read in January. (Links are to My Reviews)

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The Critic – Enzo Files # 2 – Peter May

The Critic - Peter May

The Critic – (Enzo Files #2) Another Winner from Peter May

So over the last few days I’ve spent a lot of time looking forward to what I want to read and back at what I’ve read. What I have actually missed though is to write about the book that I just finished. Actually, I read the majority of the book in 2016, but I didn’t finish it until New Year’s Day! So it is Book #1 of 2017!  Anyway the book was The Critic by Peter May. It is the second book in May’s Enzo Files series featuring Scottish exile and former forensic specialist Enzo Macleod.

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New Folk – Paul Sachs – Oil Town

The other day I was checking out the Roots Music Folk Music Chart and there at number 22 was a name I didn’t recognize Paul Sachs. Now if I had attended the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival I would have known the name because this New York City Singer-Songwriter was named the Festivals Emerging Artist.  Anyway, I’ve been listening to the album over the last week and I agree with the following:

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Life’s Soundtrack – Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson and Jorma!

So last night after writing about Bill Morrissey’s album Songs of Mississippi John Hurt . I decided to listen to the real thing and listened to Mississippi John Hurt Liveon my shopping trip to Target. I love John Hurt’s songs and there’s some good ones on this album including: “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”, “Avalon, My Home Town”, “Make Me a Pallet On the Floor”, “Candy Man” and “My Creole Belle” most of all I just love to hear his guitar!

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Long Time, No Listen – Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die

So last night on my way to work at Target, I decided to listen to an album that I haven’t listened to in a long time, Traffic’s John Barleycorn Must Die. I think that I only have one Traffic album in my vinyl collection Welcome to the Canteen. John Barleycorn Must Die was the band’s fourth album and Welcome to the Canteen was the fifth. Traffic disbanded in 1968 as Dave Mason embarked on a solo career and Stevie Winwood left to join Blind Faith (that one’s in the collection, hum, maybe that deserves a listen, too) with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. After Blind Faith disbanded after only six months. Winwood reformed Traffic with Chris Woods and Jim Capaldi and recorded John Barleycorn Must Die. It was probably their most successful album peaking at number 5 on the Billboard Charts. The album showcased the band’s jazz and blues talents and introduced their folk talents!  The first three tracks “Glad”, “Freedom Rider” and “Empty Pages” along with the title track are my  favorites. Listening last night I was impressed with Chris Woods flute solos and Winwood’s keyboard work on those tracks.

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New Folk: Dylan Sneed – Texodus

So one of the albums that’s been in heavy rotation on the iPod over the last few weeks is Dylan Sneed‘s album Texodus. His name caught my attention a couple of weeks ago when I was browsing the Roots Music Report. His 2007 EP release No Worse for the Wear is currently at number 40. “Texodus” the opening track of the album hooked me from the acoustic guitar intro and then came the really great lyrics and oh, well, my opinion of the album rises with each listen! Sneed is a native of Texas and lived and worked there up until 2008 when he moved his base of operations to a   100-year-old farmhouse in the low country of South Carolina. While he was in Texas he released four albums and EPs and The Dallas Observer praised his 2007 EP No Worse For The Wear as “one of the best local releases of the year.” and the Fort Worth Weekly dubbed Sneed’s fourth release “epic.”

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Rod Picott – Welding Burns

So a week or so ago I was checking the FAR (Freeform American Roots) and there at number 1 was Rod Picott‘s new album Welding Burns. I went no farther, rather, I just went over to Napster, gave it a listen and immediately loaded it on the iPod. I agree that it’s a No.1 album!

Now I know Rod’s music from Slaid Cleaves‘ covers of his songs like “Tiger Tom Dixon” and “Black T-Shirt”. Rod also co-wrote “Broke Down” with Slaid. “Broke Down” became the most played song on Americana Radio when it was released in 2001 and won the song of the year at the Austin Music Awards. A couple of years ago, I saw Rod and Amanda Shires perform at the Tin Angel and even shook his hand and got their CD autographed! But I never really listened to any of the four other  albums Rod has released, (shame on me), but this album will certainly lead me to them!

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An Evening and Morning with Steve Goodman – Jesse’s Jig

So on the way to Target last night I was going to listen to Rod Picott’s new album. However, when I went to search for the album I passed Steve Goodman’s album Jessie’s Jig and Other Favorites and since the album is one of my favorites I thought I’d check in for a visit. I was glad I did soon I was singing along to Steve and Jimmy Buffett’s “Door Number Three” and John Prine’s “Blue Umbrella” and then listening in awe to Michael Smith’s “Spoon River” (Hope he got paid for the use of this one). Well, those songs got me to work. The rest of the CD brought me home. The instrumental title track “Jessie’s Jig” started the trip and was followed by Steve’s great cover of an oft covered song “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie” from Wikipedia:

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Life’s Soundtrack – Phil Ochs and Ray Wylie Hubbard

So this week has been a busy week with two ten plus hour work days at Lippincott and a full day at Lippincott and a night at Target on Tuesday and again tonight. Way back on Monday I told you I’d write about the soundtrack of my run on Tuesday morning, well, that didn’t happen. So I’ll tell you now and couple it with an album that I listened to yesterday. The reason that they can be coupled is that they are two of my favorite “live” albums. The soundtrack for Tuesday’s run was a live Phil Ochs album There and Now – Live in Vancover 1968. Recorded in 1968 the tapes were lost in A&M’s tape vaults for 21 years and the album was not released until after that.  The album features poet Allen Ginsberg playing the bells on  “The Bells,” and includes many of my Phil Ochs favorites including “The Highwayman”,   “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends” “Changes” and “There But For Fortune”. The album was recorded shortly after the Democratic National Convention and includes “William Butler Yeats Visits Lincoln Park and Escapes Unscathed”  The concert is not perfect and the warts are what makes it fun as Ochs at tims forgets lyrics and at another point goes into a Bob Dylan impersonation in mid-song! Anyway the album is great so give it a listen if you get a chance!

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An Afternoon with Tom Rush – Ladies Love Outlaws

So last week when I was writing about Tim Grimm’s album Thank You, Tom Paxton, I started thinking about the other artist I started listening to at the same time as Tom. One of those artists is another Tom, Tom Rush. So last week I re-recorded two of Tom’s albums Wrong End of the Rainbow (1970) and Ladies Love Outlaws (1974) and put them on the iPod. Now the first Tom Rush album I bought was his 1968 release The Circle Game and that album is definitely in my top ten all time favorites. On that album Tom provides great interpretations of Joni Mitchell’s “Tin Angel” and “Urge for Going” both tracks were recorded before she released them! As well as, tracks from Jackson Browne and James Taylor. From Wikipedia:

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