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Kyron & The Strangels – If We Were Kings

Kyron & The Strangels have built up a loyal following through their live shows and a series of five wacky videos that are now viewed throughout the world on You Tube. The Strangels have released two singles Walking My Dog & Hanging on the Ground. Their first single release was the infamous “Walking My Dog” which was accompanied by two individual videos. Video one was the much lauded ‘Cardboard Technology Version’ where the set, fixtures, fittings and musical instruments plus the dog are all made from cardboard. Their second video for Walking My Dog – another You Tube success – was the naughty street version. The band asked people to appear at their windows doing something interesting. In turn the band with a film crew in tow would visit their street and capture the results; one fan wrapped herself with her pet snake. The group Kyron & The Strangels came about as a natural progression from songwriting sessions held between three friends Kyron Bourke, Philip Kampff and Cormac O’Kane. In the summer of 2007 the Strangels started to play live in the Black Box in Belfast. Kyron and Cormac along with new band members Feargal on drums, Bernard on bass started to perform their original songs to an ever increasing fan base. Cormac O’Kane who had been developing the Strangels sound based on the early song writing sessions started to produce the band in his own Belfast recording studio.

The name Strangels is derived from a Tom Waits song The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me Today based on a word Tom’s daughter dreamed up by cleverly combining the words ‘strange angels’. When Kyron Bourke is not playing the piano or behind the microphone fronting the Strangles he is most likely to be found working with oil and watercolours. Apart from being a fine musician he is a much respected artist with numerous galleries exhibiting his, what critics describe as, ‘unique work’. Some time ago we announced that the album If We Were Kings was on the way. The release had to be postponed and the band had to cease work in 2009 to enable Kyron sufficient time to donate one of his kidneys to his brother.  Having now put all many the events of 2009 behind them Kyron & The Strangels are pleased to announce the release of ‘If We Were Kings.’ The album includes all the tracks that are so popular with their live audiences and You Tube viewers such as, Walking My Dog 1& 2, The Actor, You You You, Headless Chicken, Walking Away and many more; thirteen tracks in all.

Kyron Bourke vocals & piano – Cormac O’Kane keyboards – Ryan O’Neil guitar Feargal O’Kane drums – Conn Smyth guitar – Bernard Flanagan bass

If We Were Kings Track Listing 1. The Actor 2. She’s Not Particular 3. Hanging On The Ground 4. Walking My Dog  5. Open Mouth 6. King Cauntes 7. If I Was King 8. You You You 9. Headless Chicken 10. Flesh & Flood 11. Stupid Love 12. Walking Away 13. This Is The End Again

Label: Vision Independent – Cat No: VICD5099 – Distributor: Proper – Release Date: October 18, 2010

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Grammy-winners Huey Lewis and The News recently confirmed Monday, October 18th as the release date of their new album Soulsville, their first in nine years, to be released on the Proper Records label.  Recorded at historic Ardent Studios in Memphis, the album features a mighty fourteen classic songs from the vault of Stax Records, including Respect Yourself and Got To Get You Off My Mind as well as the title track, one of the most heartfelt and soulful vocal performances that the inimitable Mr Lewis has ever committed to record. Considered to be the preeminent soul music label in America, Stax was home to artists like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Booker T & The MG’s, and Isaac Hayes, and produced an astounding number of hit records throughout the 1960’s & 70’s.  Ably paying tribute to the rich Stax legacy, Huey Lewis and The News, joined by their long time horn section, capture the energy and excitement of this important era.
Don’t Fight It / Got To Get You Off My Mind / Free / Respect Yourself / Cry To Me / Just One More Day / Never Found a Girl / Soulsville / Little Sally Walker / I Want To (Do Everything For You) / Just The One (I’ve Been Looking For) / Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You / Never Like This Before / Grab This Thing

EWAN McLENNAN – Rags & Robes (Fellside Recordings FECD235)

You sometimes know from the opening track if an album’s for you and this first release by Ewan McLennan is one such recording. In bringing together a selection of tried and tested standards including “Tramps & Hawkers”, “Jamie Foyers” and “Arthur McBride”, McLennan proves that old material can be refreshed and, given a new lick of paint, appear as fresh as the day it was written. In his press release his publicist cites Bobby Eaglesham, Ian Campbell and Archie Fisher as comparisons to Ewan’s vocal style. If I may be so presumptuous I’d also like to add to the mix the gentle brogue of the sadly departed Tony Cuffe. The inclusion of his own self-penned observations in the form of “Another Morning’s Beggar” and his eloquent anti-war composition “Yorkshire Regiment” also shows that we might have a contender for ‘folk’ songwriter of the year. Now, ‘nice’ isn’t a word I’d often use to describe an artist but if vocal presentation dignifies the character of the performer I’m quite sure I’ve read the signs correctly. There’s nothing rushed in the performance, just a subtle delivery that injects warmth and charm to the lyrics. Not surprisingly this carries over to the inclusion of a couple of ‘cool’ dance tunes “Jer The Rigger/Flower Of Scotland” (Martin Hayes would, I’m sure be impressed!) and a lovely setting of “Auld Lang Syne”. Aided by Peter Tickell’s fiddle and Jackie Oates viola this is an impressive debut by an artist I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more of and yet another feather in the cap to Paul Adam’s Fellside Recordings. PETE FYFE

BELLOWHEAD – Hedonism (Navigator Records Navigator042)

With a sleeve cover (superbly photographed by David Angel) that looks as if it had just leapt off the canvas of a Hogarth painting Bellowhead return with more of the band’s theatrically treated ‘folk’ excursions. Tried and tested favourites such as “New York Girls”, “Hand Weaver And The Factory Maid” and the energetic “A-Begging I Will Go” with its riff injected melody you could hardly say the band were hiding their light under a bushel. No, let’s get one thing straight. This is a group that, were they around some years earlier would have been labelled ‘wandering minstrels’. Continue reading BELLOWHEAD – Hedonism (Navigator Records Navigator042)

THE SHEE – Decadence (Shee Records 2)

Opening with a choral harmony that any church would be proud to have leading their congregation The Shee make their mark with the Gospel tinged “Trouble” before gearing up a notch with the pump and push of Amy Thatcher’s accordion and lead vocal provided by Laura-Beth Salter who also adds some tasty mandolin to proceedings a little later. Joined by the driving rhythms of Shona Mooney (fiddle), Olivia Ross (fiddle/viola) and Lillias Kinsman-Blake on flute it’s a great start to a refreshing album. Much like the Poozies of whom comparisons will likely be drawn this feisty sextuplet also includes the electro-harp of Rachel Newton added to the mix featured on the instrumental track “Shotgun”. Decadence may not be the kind of recording to give you an adrenalin rush but having said that if your looking for something that is classy with a bit of thought given to the arrangements you’ll find it a rewarding listen. Proving that they’re not just a bunch of pretty faces (although they are!) as depicted by Lauren Bishop’s illustration on the sleeve the girls would do justice to any M&S advert and at least they’re talented. PETE FYFE


Beautiful lead singer Sonja Kristina and violin virtuoso Darryl Way were the kingpins of a group that caused a sensation with its innovative music and a striking image in the early Seventies. Curved Air was a highly musical combo that deserved its Prog Rock status. However, they were also hailed as pop stars when the sultry Back Street Luv was a Top 5 hit in 1971. That hit song is among twenty-eight tracks on RETROSPECTIVE, a superb introduction to the life and times of Curved Air, a band that underwent lots of changes during its hectic career. Their experimental blend of classical themes, electronic sounds and pop/rock energy won them many fans that still remain loyal supporters.  Most of the songs on this essential ‘Best Of’ CD are from such albums as Air Conditioning, Second Album, Phantasmagoria, Air Cut, Midnight Wire, Airborne and Love Child, together with three more recent works from Sonja Kristina’s MASK recordings Heavy Petal and Technopia. Curved Air showcased many top musicians during its career, notably Francis Monkman, Eddie Jobson and Stewart Copeland (whom Sonja would marry). They all make important contributions to the group’s sound. But watch out for the constant ‘X-Factor’ – the crystal clear vocals of Sonja Kristina on such songs as Young Mother, Melinda (More Or Less) and The Dancer.

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