High Fives 2014 – Phil Burdett


So, here we go with the first of our guest contributions to this year’s High Fives. Phil Burdett is a singer-songwriter from Essex whose album “Dunfearing and the West Country High” was one of Allan’s top 5 albums for the year. He’s a very entertaining interviewee and he’s a great guy to have a beer (or several) with. Anyway, here are Phil’s favourite five musical events of 2014:

The Basement TapesRelease of Bob Dylan’s complete “Basement Tapes”

To listen through from beginning to end is to get the full vibe of what was a pivotal moment for both Dylan & The Band. For the former it seemed to both remind him of his grassroots & kickstart the muse in a less ornate direction to his psychedelic folk lush glories of “Blonde On Blonde”, paring & pruning but retaining the humour, screw-ups & discoveries of primal, therapeutic jamming & blending it with the honesty & essential demonic strangenesses of old-time Americana. For The Band it gave them the cojones to create their own little slice of rustic art culminating in the double-barreled blast of “Music From Big Pink” and their never-to-be-surpassed eponymous follow up. A beautiful thing, analogue balm to tortured digital ears.

SongdogDiscovering Songdog

My good old chum, guru & benefactor Phil Pavling is rarely wrong about what I’d like & he’s been banging on about Songdog for a while now. I checked out a few songs, was tickled, and then was fortunate enough to support them at a small gig in Essex where I was duly won over completely. Lyndon Morgans (the singer/songwriter of the band) is one of only two people I’ve met in this game that has my complete empathetic esteem due to their commitment & seriousness in regard to their work (the other being the late Jackie Leven). We will be supporting them at King’s Place theatre in London on December 5 and it will be my pleasure.

Electric Eden“Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music” by Rob Young

I know it came out a few years ago but I finally got around to reading it earlier this year. A fantastic synopsis of how folk music evolved & survived through times that were a-changing so swiftly that most other genres slid into stagnation or pastiche. It also got me writing songs again just when I thought the old well had finally dried up & the forthcoming sequence of albums I’m recording under the ‘Albion Caustic Series’ title are pretty much due to the long-gone lives & stimulating chronicles within this extraordinary & exhaustive book.

Soused“Soused” – Scott Walker + Sunn O)))

A tremendous collaboration between the most fearless musical artist in the universe & a drone metal band from Seattle. Typically audacious both musically & lyrically, yet more harmonious than his recent fabulously wilful trilogy of albums. An unexpected joy.



Morning Phase“Morning Phase” – Beck

A (sort of) sequel to the glorious “Sea Change” album which was always a favourite of mine…this is the kind of album I want Brian Wilson to make! An astounding sweep that drags crumbs of mid-period Beach Boys, Chris Bell & Nick Drake through sundry sun-spotted weirdnesses & pulses on the California timeline into a lushly arranged & deliciously orchestrated stew that with a bottle of wine & headphones is my preferred present late night restorative.

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