Spacetalk is proud to reveal its most exciting release to date: a collection of long-lost recordings from forgotten Californian duo Morrison Kincannon, rescued from the dusty tape archives of the pair’s lead songwriter, Norman Morrison…
With only a handful of sought-after private press 7” singles to their name, Morrison Kincannon are all but unknown outside record collecting circles. Yet Norman Morrison and Terry Kincannon wrote and recorded some superb songs during the 1970s and early ‘80s, desperately hoping for the break that would see them released on vinyl. Now, at last, their time has finally come. Morrison and Kincannon first started working together as teenagers almost 50 years ago. Every Saturday, they would get together to jam and write songs. This led to recording sessions at a friendly studio in San Francisco and a management and publishing deal with Manny Greenhill, a man who had previously nurtured the careers of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Sadly, their hoped-for-success never came, and by the early 1980s both members had re-focused on work and family. As the years rolled by, their original multi-track recordings lay idle in Morrison’s loft, seemingly never to be released.
All that changed when Morrison received an email from Spacetalk Records two years ago, asking about the possibility of reissuing “To See One Eagle Fly”, the B-side to one of their 7” singles that has long been a favourite of label co-founder Danny McLewin. Once a deal had been done, Morrison mentioned that he had hours of unissued recordings in his loft; a treasure trove of ultra-rare multi-track master tapes that could be freshly mixed and mastered for release. When the Spacetalk Records’ team finally got a chance to listen, they were astonished by the timeless quality of the songs. Put simply, they just had to be released.
The resultant album is a stunning set: an intoxicating glimpse into the world of two previously unheralded master songwriters whose musical vision encapsulates all that was good about Californian music during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Rooted in the American folk revival and folk-rock movement of the late ‘60s, the album’s 15 thoughtful, heartfelt songs are laden with sly nods to the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Ned Doheny, Michael Deacon, Cy Timmons, Gene Clark and Buffalo Springfield. The tracks were recorded at various times between 1970 and ’82 and gives a small glimpse of the duo’s total body of unissued work. The release comes with extensive liner notes telling the remarkable story of two lifelong friends and musical collaborators who thought their moment had passed.
Every now and again an album comes along that absolutely blows me away and I can t wait to share it with you out there in Internetland and this album from Alabama singer-songwriter Abe Partridge is one such.
It was the stark opening track Colors that initially caught my attention; with Partridge sounding like a prodigy of Townes, Guy and Rodney the way his lyrics poetically twist and turn via a grizzled and lived in voice over a jagged acoustic guitar and a cello or violin.
It was only on the third time I listened to track #2 Ride Willie, Ride that I actually realised that it was a love song from a songwriter to Willie Nelson; and the actual title is Ride Willie Ride (Or Thoughts I Had While Contemplating Both the Metaphysical Nature of Willie Nelson and His Harassment By The Internal Revenue Service) and boy; is the world a better place for this song being in it!
Just as I thought I had a handle on where Partridge was coming from track #3 I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker turned everything upside down. Who among us can resist a dirty electric guitar intro followed by the opening lines Put on my black steel toes/and my free jacket from Goodwill/Gonna get me some dark sunglasses just like Dylan used to wear/ gonna go to my barber and tell him/won t you do me the wildest of hair ? That s not even the best bit; but I will leave you intrigued enough to buy the album and hear it yourself.
Like the very best of his ilk Partridge is no one trick pony as that last song proves; but it s his haunting acoustic ballads about his home town Out of Alabama Blues and The Ghosts of Mobile that make him stand out from his contempories and peers; and not just because he sounds like every single word comes from the darkest recesses of his worn out heart.
Choosing a favourite here hasn t been easy; even before I actually heard it I hoped Our Babies Will Never Grow Up To Be Astronauts would live up to the title; and it does with ease; and it was a similar gut wrenching feeling I had with Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down; and hearing him channel his inner RL Burnside had me slapping the steering wheel with delight when I heard it that first cold morning.
But; and it s eventually become an easy choice; Prison Tattoos is even better than I d ever dared hope for from reading the title on the sleeve. This could easily be a lost Townes Van Zandt or Jim White song remixed by Nick Cave as the layers of choppy electric guitars and piano are played without the aid of a safety net as Partridge s grizzled and Demonic voice purr out a delightfully dark tale.
WOW .I love my job on days I discover diamonds like Abe Partridge; and you are welcome to fall in love with him too; there s plenty here for everyone.
Auckland-based singer songwriter Ciaran McMeeken’s debut full-length album is… a labour of love; the fruits of a worldwide journey of writing, reflection and musical collaborations during a European writing tour. Because of this – upon his return to New Zealand McMeeken was faced with the difficult task of deciding which tracks to include on this album, ensuring these tracks are the best of the best.
Having grown up in the depths of the South Island in the picturesque village of Arrowtown, when posed with the question of what he wanted to do with his life, McMeeken decided to follow his passion and turned his hand to music; a passion that is evident in his accomplished self-titled debut album. Having produced a handful of releases, beginning with his debut EP The Valley in 2014, and second EP Screaming Man in 2015, this is the first full-length release from McMeeken, and it quickly become apparent that the wait was worth it. Recorded at Auckland’s Roundhead Studios, McMeeken worked with a live band, and the results are a strong collection of twelve very polished songs that masterfully intertwine elements of rock, pop, jazz, blues, roots and soul with both ease and sophistication.
McMeeken’s voice brims with sincerity, honesty and strength. Opening track ‘My Kin’ is an upbeat roots/rock infused track that showcases not only McMeeken’s smooth vocals but also his acoustic guitar playing prowess. The second single from the album, That Feeling, was co-written in less than 20 minutes with renowned songwriter MoZilla (who has worked with the likes of pop superstars Ellie Goulding, Charlie Puth and One Direction). It’s a simple acoustic guitar and piano based track and is a smooth pop masterpiece full of romanticism while still remaining completely authentic.
Other standout tracks include ‘Al Capone’ (an upbeat swing/blues influenced track), and ‘Don’t Lie To Me’ (a beautiful blues rock ballad with a touch of r&b, which is at times reminiscent of John Mayer at his very best). It is easy to imagine this album being the perfect soundtrack for laid back summer days in the sun; an album that can be listened to time and time again and yet still remain new and fresh.