Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sunday Sounds:: Jim Ford and Christa Coutore

Another summery Sunday, so here are two quick-hitters to help get you feeling happy.

The first record, admittedly, would best be described on Aquarium Drunkard, but it's one that I've been proud to own for a long time now. Jim Ford was an artist's artist. He penned tracks for Aretha Franklin and Bobby Womack, but his own solo record - Harlan County - is an underground classic. He kind of disappeared after he released it in 1969, but his songs still hold up today. He's the king of country soul. He can write beautiful soulful ballads (Changing Colors), country rockers (Harlan County), but never restricts himself to one style. He can make you dance (Dr. Handy's Dandy Candy, Working My Way to LA) and make you sway (Love on my Brain). But no matter what, he keeps it funky. I know that sounds like generic PR-speak, but it's really hard to describe this record without sounding a bit like a moron. My friend Gregor gave me a copy in university and I still love it ten years later. Just hearing the opening notes of songs like Long Road Ahead makes me smile and put me in a better mood.

Up until a few months ago, you could only get this record on Ebay or on a torrent site, but it's back thanks to the good people at Bear Family records. Not only did they re-release it, they remastered it, added 10 never before released tracks and added 40 pages of liner notes about the mysterious man. The songs they add to this release are amazing as well - it's not unearthing some throwaways. Chain Gang is a show stopper and She Turns My Radio On is as good a Sunday morning track as I've ever found and the backwater swamp stomp Happy Songs Sell Records, Sad Songs Sell Beer is worth it on title alone.

As you listen to the record, you can't help but think about familiar names - Van Morrison, Dr. John - but this is a man who truly formed his own sound. I can't recommend a record more, but don't take my word about him. Listen to his best friend Sly Stone - "Jimmy Ford is the baddest white man on the planet."
MP3:: Working My Way to LA

Christa Coutore is a folk singer from Vancouver, and after her recent trek to NXNW I was hoping for some local shows in the near future. Alas the only shows she is only playing in Kispiox, BC on the July 27 weekend as part of the Festival. Anyway, her last record - Fell Out of Oz - is beautiful. She is playful and poignant, drawing inspiration from events as light as childhood love and as serious as surviving cancer. She's another Canadian singer that should be getting heard by a lot more people.
MP3:: I Will
MP3:: Fell Out Of Oz
Video:: Scared, Too

Posted at 12:23 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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