Bluegrass Bookended shows Listener recommendation Surprise tracks Vinyl selection

Alabama Shakes leave us shaking – join us to hear the magic

Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes
Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes - See foot of article for photo credit

We have long wanted to showcase the epic Alabama Shakes in our weekly music podcast and here they are! A brilliant choice from Tobin to open the show, let You Ain’t Alone blow you into the cosmos with its sublime vocals and musical artistry. Brittany will then bring you back to earth and leave you with tears streaming down your face with the achingly beautiful Joe, live from Austin City Limits. Similarly to our suggestion from Dennis we have a brilliant Listener Suggestion from yesteryear sent in by Eelong. French electro swing gets some well-deserved airplay in this episode as well. Welcome to this episode of the From the Bottom of the Record Box music podcast!

Track Listing

  1. You Ain’t Alone Alabama Shakes
  2. Golden Gaze Ian Brown
  3. The Sun is Shining Fleetwood Mac
  4. Now or Never Now Metric
  5. Lone Digger Caravan Palace
  6. Crow Black Chicken Bad Livers
  7. Joe Alabama Shakes

Bad Livers vs. Alabama Shakes

This week’s Vinyl Selection is from the debut album from Texas bluegrass kings Bad Livers. You can listen to the track taken straight from the vinyl in the track link above. Bad livers came kickin’, pluckin’ and screamin’ into the world in 1990 in Austin Texas, when guitar and banjo virtuoso Danny Barnes

came up with this idea that it would be great to have a small-format acoustic band that could play different kinds of music [at a] virtuoso level, where they could play any kind of music.

They played regularly in Austin and garnered quite a following, playing weekly at the Saxon Pub. They continued to define their own sound and categorically stated they were not a bluegrass outfit. At this time Barnes remarked about their live sets at the time:

We were doing Mississippi John Hurt, gospel tunes, Captain Beefheart—anything, really, but it was Motörhead or the Misfits that caught on.

The mid 90’s saw them spending most of their time touring and working on side projects including looking for a new record label to record with. As a result, they finally plumped for Sugar Hill Records signing a three record deal. Their later albums, especially Blood and Mood (their final album), failed to engage with their listenership. Sadly by the time the year 2000 rolled in it appeared that Bad Livers were over for good. Such a shame as they were so different and musically gifted to a virtuosic level.

This isn’t bluegrass and it isn’t this or that. It’s Bad Liver music. We end up making our own thing


That there, that heading is the title of the third studio album from Caravan Palace. I described it on the show as unpronounceable, just a bunch of punctuation. As a result of that, I am determined to discover the meaning of it. Turns out that it is meant to read Robot Face. It does make sense once you know. Interestingly the initial band was founded as a three-piece but further members were needed for live performances. Interestingly these were found via the MySpace website.

Continuing to use the internet as a tool the band gained popularity by releasing a number of demos and promo singles online. They enjoyed success on their first tour, in their native France, in 2006/2007. They appeared with this track on Jools Holland’s 2016/17 Hootenanny, also performing a cover of Black Betty. However, more famously this track features in one of the live sets performed by Professor Gramophone!

Alabama Shakes 03

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