David Wiffen – Songs From The Lost And Found

Friday, 30 January 2015, 19:50 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

It’ s been almost two years since Nick Warburton in a Strange Brew interview shone a spotlight on David Wiffen. Little known in England the country of his birth, this Canadian singer-songwriter has been covered by artists as diverse as Tom Rush, Chris and Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, and The Byrds.

His first solo album, 1965’s ‘David Wiffen at the Bunkhouse Coffeehouse” was followed by further releases by his mid-late 1960s band 3’s a Crowd.  His eponymous 1971 LP included his most widely covered song, ‘Driving Wheel’ and was followed up 1973’s ‘Coast to Coast Fever’. However since then David has released little, save for 1999’s ‘South of Somewhere’.

David Wiffen Songs

This new record ‘Songs From The Lost & Found’ is made up of 12 previously unreleased songs from the mid-seventies to the early eighties along with 5 alternative versions of songs previously seen on ‘South of Somewhere’. Whilst the diversity of the tracks may mean that you don’t love all the material, the quality across the album supports Nick Warburton’s claim that he’s one of the genre’s great ‘unsung heroes’.

Opener ‘California Song’ written on the day of ‘Coast to Coast Fever’s’ release is a fitting start; with it’s country rock backing to diary like lyrics. The ‘Ballad of Jacob Marlowe’ has a more simple folk style with Jacob Marlow embodying elements of David’s story of immigration. This folk style also reaps dividends on his superb cover of The Stones’ ‘No Expectations’ recalling adopted compatriot Joni Mitchell.

David Wiffen United Artists Promo Photo

 David Wiffen United Artists Promo Photo

However his own songwriting is what sets this record apart. ‘Your Room’ has some beautiful chord changes, sung and played immaculately alongside its melancholic subject matter. David has a great voice attested by the driving ‘Sweet Angel Take Me’ and the funky ‘Fire On The Water’.

Many of the tracks talk about his life such as closer ‘Rocking Chair World’, and it’s great that as a listener you get a chance to connect with the artist. Heartfelt, it’s a stunning song and leaves you wanting more. Many of these recordings were thought lost. You can only hope that there’s more tapes hidden someone that can be unearthed.


Fruits de Mer Podcast

Monday, 26 January 2015, 19:58 | Category : Podcasts
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Fruits de Mer Records label chief Keith Jones joins Strange Brew host Jason Barnard to play a selection of tracks from and which inspired the world’s smallest vinyl-only psychedelia/progressive rock/acid-folk/krautrock/R&B/spacerock record label!

Fruits de Mer

  1. Schizo Fun Addict – Theme One (Single A-side, Fruits de Mer, 2008)
  2. Tír na nÓg – Love Is Like A Promise (Forthcoming Single A-side, Fruits de Mer, 2015)
  3. The Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow Is Born (S.F. Sorrow Is Born, Columbia, 1968)
  4. Second Hand – A Fairy Tale (Reality, Polydor, 1968)
  5. The Past Tense – Soul Fiction (Postcards From The Deep “7, Fruits de Mer, 2014)
  6. Crystal Jacqueline – Grantchester Meadows (Forthcoming Single A-side, Fruits de Mer, 2015)
  7. Mighty Baby – Egyptian Tomb (Mighty Baby, Head, 1969)
  8. The Troggs – Cousin Jane (Trogglodynamite, Page One, 1967)
  9. Small Faces – Green Circles (Small Faces, Immediate, 1967)
  10. Touch – Down At Circe’s Place (Touch, Deram, 1969)
  11. Cranium Pie – Masterace (Mechanisms Part 2, Fruits de Mer, 2015 – forthcoming)
  12. Us & Them – By The Time It Gets Dark (By The Time It Gets Dark EP, Fruits de Mer, 2014)
  13. Todd Rundgren – International Feel (A Wizard, a True Star, Bearsville (US), 1973)
  14. Schnauser – Astral Traveller (Single B-side to As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still, Fruits de Mer, 2014) 

The podcast also showcases the forthcoming Games For May Gig at the Half Moon, Putney that Mega Dodo and Fruits de Mer are holding on 24 May. Everyone at the show will receive a goodie-bag of CDs and stuff including a special ‘crabs and dodos game’! Tickets are available here.

Jeff Christie – For All Mankind

Sunday, 25 January 2015, 14:15 | Category : Articles, Leeds
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It’s 45 years since Christie’s ‘Yellow River’ topped the charts around the world and it’s that country rock sound and their self-titled debut album that band leader and songwriter, Jeff Christie, is best known for. However, the long player’s follow up ‘For All Mankind’, including its title track, moved the band’s sound forward, nearer towards Jeff’s British contemporaries like The Who. 

Jeff Christie For All Mankind Single

‘For All Mankind’ was a heartfelt wish for peace drawing from Jeff’s Yorkshire roots, and he has just released a new version of that pivotal song. Jeff talks to Jason Barnard about its release, set against his career spanning 50 years in the music industry:


Games For May – Fruits de Mer and Mega Dodo Records – Live

By John Blaney

The best things in life are worth sharing, and for the last couple of years Fruits de Mer and Mega Dodo have been sharing bands as fast as our records have been flying out the door. When the respective label bosses began exchanging emails something bigger was bound to happen. Buoyed by the success of Fruits de Mer’s Crabstock gigs, Keith Jones suggested putting on a gig. But not just any old gig, oh no, something special, a ‘happening’!


The result is ‘Games For May’, a kind of post-modern homage to the Pink Floyd that features Tír na nÓg; Schnauser; Crystal Jacqueline & The Honey Pot; Mark & The Clouds and The Past Tense at The Half Moon, Putney, London, on Sunday 24 May.


The Moon Band

Saturday, 3 January 2015, 20:19 | Category : Reviews
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By Jason Barnard

The Moon Band are certainly a duo I expect big things from upon hearing their debut single ‘Cedar People’ b/w ‘Home’. Psych-folk is probably the nearest label that you can be applied with both tracks sitting neatly alongside material from period comp ‘Gather in the Mushrooms’.


Both Nicholas Tomlinson and Renee Forrester are clearing very talented playing a host of instruments and singing with Renee taking lead vocals. ‘Cedar People’ has strains of Tull (well flute does take centre stage), early Kate Bush and maybe a smidgen of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Nicholas and Renee hail from Canada and ‘My Home’ echoes Blue era Joni Mitchell – it’s really lovely stuff.

I understand this is a taster for their forthcoming album and if it’s anything near these two songs it’s going to be excellent:



French Boutik – Mieux Comme Ça

Friday, 2 January 2015, 21:00 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

One band I always listen out for with interest is Paris based collective French Boutik. Their latest EP is the double 7″ release Mieux Comme Ça which features three original songs plus an excellent new version of a Madness track.


The title track, ‘Mieux comme Ça’, echoes some of the band’s sound from their last release ‘Ici Paris’ that worked so successfully with its insistent guitar and great melody line.

‘End of the Line’ has a rather unforgettable Kinks style bass run topping off a nod to the mid-60s encompassing mod and early Brit psychedelia.  ‘La comme ça’ then plays to French Boutik’s strengths with their mix of 60s cool with a 2014 twist.

French Boutik’s version of ‘Tiptoes’ sees the first vinyl release of a track that revisits an unheralded corner of Madness’ catalogue. As someone who’s rather fond of the Nutty Boys their French take on this on this dark tale of suicide is rather splendid.

Another excellent EP and I heartily recommend you grab a copy:


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