We Dreamed America

Do you ever get a fixation for an artist and play them to death for days on end, I do often, currently over dosing on Hey Negrita.

I had a copy of We Dreamed America as a christmas pressie and got around to watching it last week, since then I’ve been listening to a few of the artists featured on the DVD but none more than Hey Negrita.
Their Wiki entry describes them as English Country Blues, I’m not really one for genre tags, but the band is essentially English and the music has both a country and blues tinge, so I’ll let that one go, however you describe there music they are just a damn good band.

Highly recommend all three of their albums, the first We Are Catfish that was released in 2005 is available from the indie label Fat Fox and at iTunes, the band expanded their line up and released The Buzz Above in 2006, which includes a couple of my favourite tracks “Charlene”” and “Abandon Ship” ,the later of which you can check out on their MySpace , after another change of line up band released You Can Kick last year, here’s a review from Americana UK

The band are appearing at SXSW again this year and at the Darvel Music Festival in May with the Jawhawks and Eileen Jewell, hoping they’ll find time to do a few more UK gigs too.

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He’s only gone crazy once. Decided to stay……

... is a quote from Townes van Zandt about his friend Blaze Foley (real name Michael David Fuller), Blaze is a guy whose music I came across through his links to Townes, one of those legendary larger than life characters, he died tragically in 1989 after being shot when coming to the aid of a friend who was under violent attack from his son, at the subsequent trial the son was found not guilty of murder in the first degree on the grounds of self-defence.

All but one of the album releases – a rare self titled vinyl issue– by Blaze were released posthumously and are available from the usual outlets as downloads and CD’s

Oval Room (Amazon Link)
Wanted More Dead Than Alive (Amazon Link)
Blaze Foley and the Beaver Valley Boys
Live At the Austin Outhouse

There may have been more releases if lady luck had been kinder to Blaze, one set of studio master tapes were lost when the car they were in was stolen and another set were supposed to have being confiscated by the DEA during a drug bust involving the albums producer.

A number of tribute albums followed Blaze’s death and were released by Deep South Production Blaze Tributes, there is also a documentary that has been sometime in the making and a book, you can get more info on the MySpace page here and listen to a few tracks and play some youtubes whilst you’re over there Blaze MySpace

There’s a great article here by Joe Nick Patoski and some further reading here written by Austin DJ Larry Monroe over on wiki there a lot more info too and some goods links to further stuff about Blaze.

Fellow artists Townes van Zandt and Lucinda Williams both wrote songs in tribute to Blaze, Townes wrote “Blaze’s Blues” which appeared on his 1994 album No Deeper Blue and Lucinda “Drunken Angel” which appeared on her break through album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road in 1998, Blaze was a fan of John Prine who later recorded his song “Clay Pigeons” which was released on his album Fair & Square, all three of which you can listen too here………

You can download here a tribute concert to recorded in 1984 featuring Blaze and Townes includes the artwork.
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I’m In Love with Hank – Steve Earle BBC Radio 2

For anyone who missed it the first time around here’s the BBC Radio 2 series “I Love Hank” presented by Steve Earle, originally broadcast as five half hour shows, it’s well worth a listen, a great┬árockdoc for any Hank fans

I Love Hank

“Dead at the age of 29, Hank Williams Snr. nonetheless managed to create such a body of work that he is now seen as the founding father of modern country music. In his short career – only 6 years – he cut over 170 songs, many of them now classics, which have been recorded by nearly everyone who is anyone in country.
His first songs were made and released 60 years ago in 1946 after he moved to Nashville and impressed the legendary Fred Rose who took the 23 year old Hank under his wing, acting as his manager, record producer and co-writer. Williams soon became a regular on the prestigious radio show “The Louisiana Hayride” and then later at the classic country venue the Grand Ole Opry; on his first appearance he performed his first hit “Lovesick Blues” leading to an unprecedented six encores.

Hit after hit came from his pen – “I’m so Lonesome I could Cry”, “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”, “Moanin’ the Blues”, “Why don’t you Love Me?”, “Cold Cold Heart”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart” “Hey Good Lookin'” and “Jambalaya” being just a very few of the classic numbers that in later years became hits for artists like Tony Bennett, Jo Stafford, Joni James and the Carpenters.

Hank Williams’s life was a troubled one – spina bifida made worse through a riding accident caused him constant pain and he drank to excess and took drugs, mostly painkillers; but on top of that, he was one of the music business’s first rowdies – he played with guns, destroyed hotel rooms and generally acted out a life style the rock stars of the 60s thought they had invented.

He was fired from the Grand Ole Opry and the 50s saw his career decline as musicians and booking agents increasingly saw him as a problem. He battled with his mother and wife Audrey, whom he divorced and then later with second wife Billie Jean Jones; his early death came, ironically, in the back of a car after the plane hired to take him to a gig had been cancelled because of a blizzard – ironic because the gig was to feature Hawkshaw Hawkins, who later died in a plane crash with Cowboy Copas and Patsy Cline, a crash caused by…. a blizzard.

Since that tragic death, Hank Williams’s star has risen to the point where country stars of every stripe acknowledge him as the founding father – many have name-checked him in songs, such as Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Tim Hardin and Moe Bandy “

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