I have recently started following, on Twitter, a couple of guys in America, who post about music and the stuff they produce. @ItsMeHenning who has his own band @gentle_hen always tweets some great questions about music, that I’ve enjoyed getting involved with and that has led to me following @RubWrongways who, each week, hosts a guest playlist of 25 songs on their Spotify account. After messaging the guys I was asked to curate this weeks list.


I saw this as a great opportunity to share some of the music I’ve enjoyed over the last few months and also give some exposure to a lot of deserving artists. And so I put together a list featuring old faves, new finds and just plain great songs. Please do enjoy the songs – the track listing and why I chose them is below:

  1. My Rock, My Rope – Richard Thompson: Taken from 2018’s album, 13 Rivers which one the Jezzie Award for album of the year, My Rock, My Rope takes Britain’s greatest musician on a reflective journey reminiscent of the work he performed with Dave Swarbrick in folk rock pioneers Fairport Convention’s early years.
  2. Man With A Stick – Fish: As he nears retirement, working on his final studio album, Weltschmerz, Fish released an EP, Parlez With Angels, that included this song that was voted Planet Rock’s song of the year. Taking similar themes to those visited in Marillion’s album Clutching At Straws, just 30 years later, Man With A Stick has a world weary feel that bookends the big man’s career beautifully.
  3. Ghosts – The Dave Foster Band: Foster is one of those very talented musicians who is in great demand for his session and live work with artists such as Steve Rotherey. Perhaps not as well known as he should be Foster, with his excellent band, have created, in Nocebo, an early contender for album of the year,
  4. Gun To The Head – The Good, The Bad And The Queen: 12 years after their debut album, this supergroup, with Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz at the helm, have produced Merrie Land as a social commentary on England in the turbulent political times the country finds itself. Gun To The Head was written after a visit to the museum in my home town, Banbury.
  5. O-U-T Spells Out – Kathryn Tickell And The Darkening: You could be forgiven for thinking this song was another commentary on Brexit Britain, but you’d be mistaken. Based on a traditional North East England playground rhyme, it is taken in a new direction through Tickell’s lilting Northumbrian vocals paired with the folk metal of The Darkening.
  6. She Never Blamed Him – Seth Lakeman: Recently Lakeman has been performing as part of Robert Plant’s backing band, an influence which can be heard through out his 2018 album The Well Worn Path. She Never Blamed Him is a fabulous track that fully shows off Seth’s talents.
  7. The Sea Is A Woman – The Unthanks: Part of a trilogy of albums exploring the roles of women in history The Sea Is A Woman, featuring the poetry of actress Maxine Peake, focuses on a group of Hull fishwives who fought, in the 1960’s, for better protection and conditions of their husbands at sea after a number of tragedies.
  8. Warriors Tonight – Pat Brosnan: Written for his brother, serving in the American armed forces, Warriors Tonight is a beautiful lovesong dedicated to the men and women who lay their lives on the line to protect our freedoms told from the perspective of those left behind not knowing if they’d see their loved ones again.
  9. The Randall Knife – Steve Earle: Earle is my favourite country music artiste, playing here, from his album Guy, music by his favourite country song writer Guy Clark, who died in 2018. The Randall Knife is told from the perspective of a son remembering his father after his death.
  10. Dustbowl Year – The Autumn Saints: From Oxford, UK via Raleigh, North Carolina the Autumn Saints mix their own particular brand of country rock with influences of bands like U2 and R.E.M. taking their music in a brilliantly unique direction.
  11. Walking In Manpiss – The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican: Britain’s hardest working little comedy band take songs you all know whilst changing the lyrics to observe the crazy world around us. Based on the Marc Cohn hit Walking In Memphis, this song warns you of the pitfalls of wearing your blue suede shoes at Motley Crue gigs.
  12. El Condor Pasa (If I Could) – The Worthless Son In Laws: Hailing from Boone, North Carolina, high on the Appalachian trail, The Worthless Son In Laws have invested their cover of the song made famous by Simon and Garfunkel with their own brand of mountain country soul.
  13. Soulsun – Damien Dempsey with John Grant: Irish singer songwriter has recently released an album of duets, called Union, made with performers such as Finbar Furey, The Dubliners and this version of his song, Soulsun, recorded with Icelandic based former leadman of the Czars, John Grant.
  14. The Streets of Baltimore – Duff Paddy: Featuring the world champion bodhran playing skills of Paul Tuthill, who also is an accomplished accordionist, and guitarist Paul Mitchell, Duff Paddy take an irreverent view of Irish music infusing their work, as typified on their album Hotel Connemara, with pathos, fun and beautiful melody.
  15. Spirit of Minnie – Will Varley: The title track from Varley’s 2018 album, Spirit of Minnie highlights wonderfully his talent as one of the very best young musical miserablists around.
  16. Bury Me Naked – Merry Hell: Hailing from North West England Merry Hell are a live force of nature performing their songs of political and social commentary in a hugely energetic and entertaining manner. Taken from their acoustic album, Anthems to the Wind, Bury Me Naked is a reminder that you leave the world in the same way you enter, naked and with no possessions.
  17. Sparkle – Charlotte Campbell: Often seen busking on London’s South Bank Charlotte writes and performs her gentle songs of love with a touching innocence that belies her well respected abilities as a talent of some note.
  18. Gypsy Blood – Tamsin Quin: An artist found via Twitter, Tamsin is a highly regarded performer of upbeat witty lyrics that have a mesmerising storytelling quality. Check her out @TamsinQuinMusic
  19. Road Songs – Phil Cooper: Hailing from the same part of the world, Wiltshire in England, as Tamsin Quin and also found via Twitter (@philcoopermusic) Cooper will appeal to fans of acts such as Squeeze, Elvis Costello and Crowded House who enjoy clever and melodic pop music.
  20. Time Enough For Rocking When We’re Dead – The Magnetic Fields: Led by the enigmatic Stephen Merritt The Magnetic Fields perform eccentric and though provoking songs. Taken from the 1999 triple album, 69 Love Songs, Time Enough is a typically obtuse song reflecting on love as we all get older.
  21. Many Faces – James: At the moment there are not too many better live bands around than Manchester’s James. Led by the charismatic and shaman like Tim Booth, Many Faces, taken from 2018’s Living In Extraordinary Times, has become a firm live favourite with crowds taken reverentially into an almost trance like repetition of the chorus, a perfect response to the rise of intolerance and racism in the world today.
  22. Trouble – Cage The Elephant: Something completely new to me and only recently found, Cage The Elephant perform their superior indie pop rock as heard here on their song Trouble.
  23. Rollin’ and Tumblin’ – Billy F.Gibbons: Shortly before he died the great Jimi Hendrix suggested that ZZ Top guitarist, Billy Gibbons, would be the future of blues playing. In 2018 Gibbons returned to his roots with the album The Big Bad Blues including this song written by McKinley Morganfield, better known to us all as Mr.Muddy Waters.
  24. Black Hole Sun (Live) – Chris Cornell: When Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman, Chris Cornell, lost his battle with depression the world of music also lost a great and unique voice, one of the very best. The easy power with which Cornell invested his songs is never more apparent than in this live version of when of the best songs ever written.
  25. Sloth (Live) – Fairport Convention: In 2017, as the band celebrated 50 years at the forefront of the genre they created, folk rock, their annual Cropredy reunion took on significance as various former members took to the stage with the current line up of founder Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Gerry Conway, Ric Sanders and Chris Leslie to play many of the songs they’d brought to the world since 1967. Now released on the live album, What We Did On Our Summer Holidays, this version of Sloth features the great Richard Thompson on lead guitar and vocals with his interplay with Chris Leslie’s fiddle bringing back fond memories of RT’s work with the late Dave Swarbrick all those years ago. A near 10 minute slight of perfectness.