| THIS WEEK’S RADIO SHOW |
Featured Album | Ellie Gowers | Dwelling by the Weir | Self Release | 2022
A rather impressive debut by the Warwickshire-based singer songwriter Ellie Gowers, whose delicate, almost ethereal voice draws the listener in from the very beginning. For the title song alone we hear echoes of Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell, yet there’s a sense that Ellie Gowers owns her own place in the current folk and acoustic scene. Her voice might be delicate, yet it’s strong and confident at the same time, a perfect vehicle for these songs. “Woman of the Waterways” immediately lifts the spirits with its lilting chorus and sparkling arrangement, a song that deserves to be treated to several plays on repeat, and probably will be. “A Letter to the Dead Husband of Mary Ball” demonstrates a darker side to Ellie’s repertoire, a song that invites us around the campfire in the twilight hours for a good old true life story of murder and retribution. Good storytelling, and in this case, full of tension and with a definitive closing line. Ellie’s five minute or so “Poor Old Horse” canters along superbly, never plodding nor galloping but pitched perfectly to keep us with it until the end. “Ribbon Weaver” would not be out of place on Ladies of the Canyon, a gorgeous performance by an artist on the rise. This one comes highly recommended.
Flick the Dust Off | Blind Faith | Blind Faith | Polydor 583 059 | 1969
The late 1960s had no apparent shortage of super groups, defined as any band made up of musicians from other previously successful groups. Cream’s Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and the late Jack Bruce formed a trio that possibly defined the term, each musician having already played in successful bands, namely The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Graham Bond Organisation and Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. After the break-up of the band in 1968, Clapton and Baker reconvened in the short lived Blind Faith, along with Steve Winwood from The Spencer Davis Group and Traffic, together with Ric Gretch who was also the bassist with Family. The only problem with super groups, is the fact that they’re usually made up of several leading players, strong personalities with giant egos, therefore they are usually short lived ventures. Blind Faith came to an end virtually as soon as they formed, after recording just the one LP, the one with the controversial cover shot of a naked girl holding a metal airplane, which featured at least two classic performances, Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” and Clapton’s “Presence of the Lord”.
Singled Out | Traffic | Paper Sun | Island WIP-6002 | 1967
It’s difficult now to recall the reaction to the debut single by the newly formed Traffic back in the so-called Summer of Love. Steve Winwood’s uncanny voice was already known after his breakthrough with the Spencer Davis Group, notably on the number one hit singles “Keep on Running” and “Somebody Help Me” and later, “Gimme Some Lovin’”, which was kept off the number one position by the Beach Boys’ superb “Good Vibrations” in November 1966. “Paper Sun” was released six months ahead of the band’s debut album Mr Fantasy, yet didn’t make its appearance on the UK version of the album, appearing only on the US pressing. “Paper Sun” very much belongs to the psychedelic genre, notable for Dave Mason’s sitar noodling and Winwood’s unmistakable voice. The song opened the band’s first compilation album The Best of Traffic in 1969 and the single remains a memorable piece of 1960s British psychedelia, ranking alongside the Small Faces’ “Itchycoo Park” and Pink Floyd’s “See Emily Play”.
Fifty Years Ago | Bonnie Raitt | Give it Up | Warner Bros K46189 | September 1972
From the opening few bars of “Give It Up or Let It Go”, we instinctively know that Memphis Minnie’s baton has been passed on. The bottleneck guitar prelude soon opens into a rip-roaring New Orleans knees-up, with some soaring soprano sax courtesy of John Payne, who is also remembered for his work on Van Morrison’s seminal album Astral Weeks. With a collection of musicians mainly from the Woodstock area, Raitt’s second studio album is rootsy, vibrant and well put together, despite its twee cover, which could be a Twiggy album or one of the New Seekers going solo. Like the Band’s second album, the inner gatefold black and whites show musicians at work, both at the console or on the studio floor with their respective instruments, which suggests there’s something good going down. With just three Raitt originals, “You Told Me Baby”, “Nothing Seems to Matter” and the aforementioned opener “Give It Up or Let Me Go”, the rest of the album is made up of covers, including Chris Smither’s superb “Love Me Like a Man”, Jackson Browne’s harmonica-driven “Under a Falling Sky” and a soulful take on Rudy Clarke’s “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody”.