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#929: 2014, The Haden Triplets, Single Girl

September 8, 2014

Yes, they really are triplets: Tanya, Rachel and Petra. The three daughters of the late great jazz bassist, Charlie Haden, released earlier this year what in their eponymous debut is, for me, the most purely beautiful record since the Fleet Foxes’ debut, full of close country harmonies that maybe you need to be siblings to pull […]

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#828: 2013, The Civil Wars, Devil’s Backbone

December 31, 2013

The last song posted in 2013 falls to me, one last chance to post a 2013 song during 2013. In this case, also a last chance to (almost certainly futilely) lobby for the inclusion of an albums for George East’s best albums of the year post, likely to get posted tomorrow. For whatever George’s verdict, […]

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#756: 2013, Caitlin Rose, Dallas

September 13, 2013

What a contrast between two days.  Today, some wanker of a burglar kicked my front door in, while I was at work.  This happened mid-morning in broad daylight, in an overlooked residential road.  The door was an original thick oak Victorian door from when the house was built in the 1890s.   It must have taken […]

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#491: 1974, Gram Parsons, Return of the Grievous Angel

June 23, 2012

Given George’s and my great love of Gram Parsons, its surprising that only one of his songs has featured to date on Songs to Learn and Sing. Grievous Angel was Parsons’ posthumous album and this opening track features Emmylou Harris’s supporting vocals. Its subject matter is an old one: the restless wander’s yearning for the […]

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#346:1997, Dwight Yoakam, Train In Vain

December 5, 2011

George East and I are going to see Mick Jones at The Scala on Thursday.  I’m pretty excited and (Spoiler Alert!) it’s odds on that one of us will pick a Clash number later this week as a consequence. So I’ve decided to go for a cover of a Jones song instead. Dwight Yoakam arrived […]

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#328: 2011, Willie Nelson, The Scientist

November 14, 2011

We’ve officially ended Covers Week, but I heard this yesterday for the first time and decided it was worth running with.  Not least because I also happened to get sucked into watching X-Factor on Saturday and this track is a staple ballad that gets sung on talent shows, usually by talentless blokes trying to show their sensitive […]

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#316: 2011, Steve Earle, Little Emperor

October 26, 2011

Yesterday was a day when I managed to get a big tick on the bucket list: having missed out on Steve Earle’s visit to these shores last year I finally got to see him perform at the Royal Festival Hall.  Not only that, but I got to shake the hand of the great man afterwards, […]

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#212: 2010, Caitlin Rose, Own Side Now

June 22, 2011

  Jackie posted Joan Baez’s cover of folk standard, John Riley, yesterday.  Baez was, of course, one of the first of the great female singer songwriters.  In the circumstances it seemed appropriate to post my current favourite new female singer songwriter, Nashville’s Caitlin Rose. As her home town suggests she is much more in the […]

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#154: 1984, Willie Nelson, City of New Orleans

April 24, 2011

Yesterday, Ray posted about a song that made him think of home when he was travelling in the USA. And on Saturday, I had what should have been a short journey by train from London to Essex which ended up in replacement coaches and taking three times as long as it should have. Together, these […]

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#123: 1975, Loretta Lynn, The Pill

March 21, 2011

To continue our recent run of female vocalists, I’ve gone back to the Country. Although Loretta Lynn did not identify with feminism in the way that Ari Up did, she did write a number of songs about women’s issues that were a long way from Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man. Lynn was born in […]

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Songs To Learn and Sing: The First 100

February 28, 2011

Since the launch of Allthatsleft on 15 November 2010 our daily song feature, Songs To Learn and Sing has been one of the most enjoyable things to write on this blog.    As we said at the outset there is so much more to life than politics and few things more satisfying than great music.   The concept […]

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#90: 1975, Emmylou Harris, Boulder To Birmingham

February 16, 2011

Yesterday, that incurable romantic Ray North posted Kinky Love. I’m no great romantic myself, but for me Boulder To Birmingham has to be one of the greatest, and certainly one of the most sincere and heartfelt, love songs ever written. Emmylou Harris was Gram Parson’s protege and lover. She was left utterly devastated when Parsons […]

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#81: 1988, Steve Earle, Copperhead Road

February 7, 2011

There’s a lot of nonsense I’ve heard from fellow lefties over the years about how rightwing they think country music is.  So I’ve tried pointing them to the liberal, Democrat supporting Kristofferson and Willie Nelson, to Johnny Cash‘s ‘Man In Black’, to Loretta Lynn’s songs about women’s issues. The very first US-wide country hit, back […]

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#70: 1953, Hank Williams, Your Cheatin’ Heart

January 27, 2011

In 1939 the great John Ford directed Stagecoach starring B movie actor John Wayne as the Ringo Kid.  It made Wayne a star and more importantly elevated a dime a dozen B movie genre, the western, into the greatest of all movie genres of Hollywood’s golden age. Stagecoach has just about every western cliche in it, […]

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#54: 1970, Kris Kristofferson, Sunday Morning Coming Down

January 9, 2011

I’ve just got back home from a friend’s wedding, a great event enjoyed by all with plenty of booze flowing. The downside is that I’m more than likely to have the hangover from hell tomorrow. Which brings me to my song pick today, the greatest hangover song of all time. I didn’t rate Kristofferson until […]

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#30: 1973, Gram Parsons, She

December 15, 2010

I only got into Gram Parsons a few years ago. A southern boy from a broken home, he travelled north as a teenager and got into the New York cafe folk scene, and then re-discovered country whilst (briefly) at Harvard studying theology. After The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Keith Richards and a hell of a […]

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#9: 1972, Townes Van Zandt, Pancho and Lefty

November 23, 2010

Allthatsleft goes Country. First, apologies for the sound-only clip. Success dodged singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt throughout his life, but this song was later recorded by both Emmylou Harris and Van Zandt’s protege Steve Earle and was a hit duet (with some rather cheesy eighties keyboard) for Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. Pancho in the song […]

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