11 posts tagged with music by Paul Slade.
Displaying 1 through 11 of 11.
Dang Blues: The return of Jawbone.
When Bob "Jawbone" Zabor, a one-man blues band from Detroit, played a 2004 live session on John Peel's BBC radio show, the DJ declared him "almost a definition of what I would like this programme to be about". Peel played nearly every track of Jawbone's homemade CDR on the show and immediately invited him for another live session - but died before that offer could be made good. Jawbone, who still struggled to find gigs in America, released a couple of official albums here and remained a cult favourite on the UK circuit until 2008, when he suddenly dropped out of sight. Now he's back with his first new songs in over a decade and this exclusive PlanetSlade interview telling the full story. [more inside]
Harry Pace & Black Swan Records - new book
Exactly 100 years ago, Harry Pace founded America's first Black-owned record label. Black Swan Blues, my 2014 book telling his extraordinary story, inspired Jad Abumrad & Shima Oliaee’s new Radiolab series The Vanishing of Harry Pace. Over the past 12 months, we've been able to gather a lot of fresh information about Pace and Black Swan, so I've produced a expanded edition of my book which you can buy here. As a little bonus for PlanetSlade readers, I've also posted a new website essay called A Georgia Lynching, which tells the full story behind an incident Black Swan's Ethel Waters mentions in her autobiography.
Moshpit Memories II (1982-2002): Alan Moore, The Pogues, Jim Rose & pals
What we have here is a sequel to PlanetSlade's 2015 collection of gig-going anecdotes from the golden age of UK pub rock, punk and ska (previously on Projects). This time round, I'm covering the years from 1982 -2002, when my major obsessions included Alan Moore, The Pogues, The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow and any twanged-up country band I could find playing the bars of Nashville, Austin, San Antonio and Detroit. [more inside]
Halloween Radio Special: The Gallows Ballads Project
I've mentioned The Gallows Ballads Project on Metafilter previously. These sheets were sold at public hangings in Victorian London, and each contains a set of verses describing the condemned man's crime and punishment. Now, I've made an hour-long radio documentary on the project, which London's Resonance FM put out as a Halloween Special last night. In the programme, I tell the true crime stories behind eight of the goriest ballad sheets I've collected and play some great new performances of these century-old songs by modern musicians like The Jetsonics, Pete Morton and Elsa "Bride of Frankenstein" Lanchester. I think you'll like it.
Killer Songs (radio doc): Billy Bragg, Dave Alvin, Laura Cantrell & others discuss their favourite murder ballads.
I spent much of 2015 interviewing musicians for my new book Unprepared To Die: America’s Greatest Murder Ballads & The True Crime Stories That Inspired Them. Now I’ve used the audio from those interviews to make an hour-long radio guide to these gory, facinating songs. Contributors include Billy Bragg, The Bad Seeds’ Mick Harvey, Dave Alvin, The Kingston Trio’s Bob Shane, Laura Cantrell, Jon Langford of The Mekons, Ralph Stanley and his son Ralph II. Resonance FM here in London gave the show its first airing last week, and has now archived it for your listening pleasure on this Mixcloud page. [more inside]
Moshpit Memories contains seven years' worth of trivia, anecdotes and gig reviews from my old diaries as a music fan at the height of UK pub rock, punk and ska. I started the diaries in 1975, when I was just 16 and ended them in 1981. Among the gigs I saw – and have described here - you’ll find a 1977 Clash show in a sweaty little club (plus the NYC appearance which gave us London Calling’s cover two years later), Lynyrd Skynyrd supporting the Stones at Knebworth, pre-fame encounters with both Ian Dury and Shane MacGowan, the Damned becoming the first punk band to play a major London venue, the Ruts frantically improvising on the first night Malcolm Owen went missing and a couple of wonderfully chaotic label revue tours by Stiff and 2-Tone. Live music in Britain has never been more exciting, I had an almost indecent amount of fun and you can read all about it at the link above. [more inside]
18 genuine Victorian gallows ballads recorded by today's musicians
Well, it’s taken me over a year to do it, but I’ve now managed to persuade modern rock, folk and blues musicians to record all 16 of the genuine Victorian gallows ballads which I started researching back in 2011 (Projects previously). You’ll find a Soundcloud set compiling the whole "album" linked above, and details of the individual songs below. Each track is a collaboration across more than 100 years, as singers and bands from Britain, America and Australia add their own music to the original 19th century lyrics. Each track's Soundcloud entry has a link taking you to the true story behind that particular ballad. [more inside]
"Please Tell Me Where's Her Head": Pearl Bryan in song & story
PlanetSlade's been writing about Murder Ballads for quite some time now (previously 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Now I've placed the site's first book-length offering on the Kindle store, where you'll find it at the link above. If by any chance you'd like to buy a copy, that would make me very happy. Robert Wilhelm at Murder By Gaslight called the book "very impressive", and the crime scene's local paper rated it "truly a fascinating read". British readers should go to this Amazon.co.uk page instead.
Ain’t Nothin’ But a Blues Thang: my fRoots reviews
In July this year, I started reviewing blues CDs and similar material for fRoots, the UK's leading folk music and world music magazine. With its editor's permission, I've now posted the first four installments of this work on PlanetSlade, which covers releases by Ian Siegal, Big Head Blues Club, Pokey LaFarge, Meschiya Lake, Jack Blackman, The Lil’ Band O’ Gold and Charles Shaar Murray. More reviews will follow as my arrangement with fRoots permits.
Pearl Bryan: The Full Story
You may not know the song covered in PlanetSlade’s latest Murder Ballads essay, but I guarantee you’ll never forget the story behind it. On February 1, 1896, Pearl’s decapitated body was found in a Kentucky orchard. She was pregnant, and she’d been struggling when the killer began cutting off her head. That head has never been found, but we do know that the murderer carried it round Cincinnati’s bars with him. The police investigation which followed used a crucial clue from Pearl’s shoes and America’s first bugged cell. There was a thriving souvenir trade surrounding the case and lynch mobs roamed the streets. Two men – one of them Pearl’s lover – eventually hanged for the crime, which inspired a ballad still sung (and danced) today. Read all about it at the link above.
The Ballad of Nasra Ismail
Since May 2009, PlanetSlade has been bringing you the true stories behind classic murder ballads like Stagger Lee, Knoxville Girl and Hattie Carroll. The site’s latest essay details my efforts to write a fresh set of lyrics in this old tradition, describing a real 2004 murder near my home in North London. The victim was a young Somali prostitute, picked up by her killer while working the streets around King’s Cross. Her death was barely reported at the time, which is one reason I decided to try and commemorate her in song. The folk singer Pete Morton liked my first set of lyrics enough to add some music and record them for me (free download here), and Iowa’s own Scott Riley shot some YouTube footage of himself performing my second version of the song – again, with his own music. PlanetSlade previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.