Well, it’s a grey kinda day… perfect for those voices that perforate darkness. And these three voices do just that. Cash, Scott-Heron and Manuck have that unflinching honesty that unsettles the masses. Voices that tell their truths with the necessary sparseness to ensure they hit the very centre of their targets. This handful of songs presents you with some stark realities, but then again, reality is never really sugar coated. Embrace the clouds and open yourself….
Ain’t No Grave – Johnny Cash
The sixth (and final) installment of the American Recordings series is about to be released and if Ain’t No Grave is any indication, it may be the crowning glory. Cash’s baritone may have lost some of its brute force in his final years, but if anything, the edge is sharper and cuts deeper. And the lyric is so true… There ain’t no grave gonna hold this body down. In life and death, Cash is a giant. A musician who embraced his fragility and channelled it into a lifetime of song.
Me and the Devil: Gil Scott-Heron
On this, his first new track in some 16 years, Scott-Heron is sounding as vital as he ever did, like he made a pact at the crossroads of blues and hip-hop and is breathing fire into this stark take on the Robert Johnson classic. His blues holler soaring over the top of the restless samples and minimalist electronica. Let’s hope I’m New Here, brings this streetwise, well lived voice to a whole new generation.
Kollaps Tradicional (Bury 3 Dynamos): Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band
It’s always a pleasure to have folk-punk monsters A Silver Mt Zion creating their unique orchestral squall. Kollaps Tradicional (Bury 3 Dynamos) builds to a piano-string-tight crescendo, that will tear the breath from your chest. Guitars, violin and upright bass chime together while Efrim’s French-filtered voice is an agitated wail. Kollaps is the thunderous, free falling sound of a band at its peak.