Singles going steady 10: Gone, but not (entirely) forgotten

Thursday, 30 August 2007, 16:18 | Category : Uncategorized
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We’re still in the Bs, as I slowly make my way through my big CD singles rack, and will be for a while longer. Today I have a couple of bands who are no longer around and were little-known to the extent that I can’t find much information about them anywhere (and I have tried).

The first is Barefoot Contessa, a British band who were, in the mid 90s, making the sort of music which would a few years later be called alt-country or Americana. Maybe they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, what with the nation being in the throes of Britpop and all that. Maybe if they had arrived on the scene a little later, they’d have been more lauded. Who knows?

The EP I have of theirs is one that came to me due to the marital merging of Mrs Growl’s and my music collections. I admit to never having heard it until the other day, whilst thinking about this post. It’s all agreeable stuff, in a sort of Mazzy Star way, before wandering off and becoming a bit more bluesy by track 4. According to a current eBay sale, it looks like Barefoot Contessa had an album out in 2005. This EP was from 2007.

They must really have been operating under the radar (mine at least) for quite a while because it turns out that the band released four albums in total, the last in 2001. This fact I’ve gleaned from the website of former lead singer Helene Dineen, who now records under her first name, and has a band which features ex-Barefoot Contessa bandmate Graham Gargiulo, which makes it a re-convening of sorts.

While I’m here I may as well mention that her new material is also pretty good – continuing in a similar Americana-ish vein, but also incorporating elements of 60s pop and her love for chanson and Francoise Hardy. She’s released two albums – Postcard in 2003 and Routines last year. I’ve only spent a short while listening to the tracks on her myspace but I’m impressed already. Look! I’ve even downloaded a track from her latest record from emusic to share with you! I’ll probably even go back later to get more.

Download: Barefoot Contessa – Happy Together
Download: Barefoot Contessa – Ice
Download: Helene – This is All We Need to Know

The second, even more hard-to find band, are Blind Jackson. I think I picked up this two-track CD single from Flashback Records on Essex Road when I used to work in that area. At the time it tapped into that jaunty 60s groove thing that had already been established by The Coral and a whole heap of other bands coming out of Liverpool. In fact, on first listen it was hard to believe that this was a London band and not one from Merseyside. It’s all pretty enjoyable, and even ventures beyond the retro sea shanties in employing a cheesy synth on the b-side. But good though it is, it was obviously not enough to establish them as a band. Again, I see from eBay that a mini-album was released in 2005, but that seems to be about it. No more info is forthcoming, and the website mentioned on the CD cover is no longer there. In the absence of any more info, I can only assume they’ve gone. Shame, really.

Download: Blind Jackson – Where Did You Sleep Last Night?
Download: Blind Jackson – If Trouble Were Money

No click to buy links obviously, as you can’t. But do check out Helene

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