Shirley Collins & Opinions on Japandroids & Ty Segall

Shirley Collins

Of all the artists in the English folk revival, Shirley Collins was the most devoted to traditional song. After a nearly 40 year recording hiatus, she’s finally released a new album. Shirley Collins joins Jim and Greg to discuss her career and her experiences traveling through America to collect field recordings with Alan Lomax. Plus, reviews of the new albums by Japandroids and Ty Segall.

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Shirley Collins

Of all the English folk revival artists, Shirley Collins was perhaps the most devoted to rural folk traditions. But at the same time, her records were incredibly innovative in their approach. Her 1964 album Folk Roots, New Routes with guitarist Davey Graham fused ancient songs with jazz arrangements, paving the way for bands like Fairport Convention. In collaboration with her sister Dolly, Shirley Collins also recorded with early music instruments and Renaissance ensembles. She even went electric with her acclaimed 1971 album No Roses. After developing a vocal condition known as dysphonia, Shirley gave up recording in 1978. Since then, she’s become an inspiration to a new generation of artists, including The DecemberistsColin Meloy, who covered one of her songs live on Sound Opinions. Now, after a nearly 40 year hiatus, she’s returned with a new album, Lodestar. She joins Jim and Greg to explain why she returned to singing and how she chose her rather bloodsoaked repertoire.

In addition to her own recording career, Shirley Collins played an important role in music history when she accompanied legendary musicologist Alan Lomax as he traveled through the American south in 1959. Together, they collected field recordings of traditional working-class artists on farms, prisons, and churches. Their tapes of musicians like Mississippi Fred McDowell, Almeda Riddle, and Hobart Smith were huge influences on generations of artists, including Bob Dylan.

Near to the Wild Heart of Life Japandroids

Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

Canadian rock band Japandroids have just released their first album since 2012, Near to the Wild Heart of Life. Many people thought this band wasn’t going to return to the road or the recording studios, but both Jim and Greg were fans of their previous two albums. Greg thinks this album is just okay, and many of the songs clocking out several minutes longer than they should. He admires the ambition of Near to the Wild Heart of Life, but thinks that the group ended up sacrificing their fun, signature rock and roll sound in the process. Greg gives it a Try It. Jim thinks Greg is being a little grumpier than he needs to be about this record. He thinks they get the barroom sage poet element just right. He also likes the instrumental experimentation, and gives this album a Buy It.

Ty Segall Ty Segall

Ty Segall

San Francisco’s Ty Segall is one of today’s most prolific rockers. Since his 2008 debut, he’s collaborated with bands like Traditional Fools and Fuzz, in addition to his own solo work. For his most recent self-titled album, Ty Segall, he recorded with his touring band. Jim thinks that this album is extraordinary, combining elements of glam rock, psychedelic sounds, and fiery garage rock a’la 13th Floor Elevators. Jim particularly enjoyed Orange Color Queen, an ode to Ty’s girlfriend that he called a touching love song. Greg says that this is an album to love, his most song-focused and diverse record in his catalog, right up there with 2014’s Manipulator. Both critics say Buy It.

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