First Longshot Nelson Album now available on Cheap Wine Records!
Written by Carmen Lee on 25 February 2013. Posted in Articles - Music for MoonRunners Online Magazine.
When I first heard Longshot Nelson’s song “Teeth Marks on Your Brain” on the Smooth & Demented Show on KAOS Radio Austin, I knew that I was hearing something special and that I had to listen to the rest of the album. So I immediately went to the Cheap Wine Records’ bandcamp site for a free download and was not disappointed.
“Teeth Marks on Your Brain” is Longshot Nelson and the Disjoints first album released on the Cheap Wine Records label. Both Cheap Wine Records, a real down to earth DIY label, and Longshot himself hail from Scotland. The album itself has a wonderful mix of Scottish nationalism/political songs as well as the spooky side of Scottish history and legends. There are a few Matt McGinn (Scottish folk artist from Glasgow) covers on the album. McGinn, one of Longshot’s personal inspirations, was very popular in the folk movement of the 60s and reminds me of a Scottish Woody Guthrie. One of these songs is “Rich Man’s Paradise” with its self-evident social commentary on “rich man’s paradise, poor man’s hell”. Another McGinn cover “Wi’ Jimmy Reid and Airlie” is all about the Clyde ship builders in Scotland and how Jimmy Reid and Airlie led a 1971 ‘work in’ instead of striking to try and keep the shipyards open as the English government was trying to close them down. The song has a sort of 60s vibe with banjo, electric guitar and melodica with its chorus urging a “bonnie lassie to rise and dress” herself with a scarf that matches their “scarlet tartan banner” in protest of the government.
There are also a lot of good fighting songs like the Matt McGinn cover “The Heilan’ Man” (heilan’ meaning highland) all about the Romans building Hadrian’s Wall to supposedly protect themselves when they could not conquer Scotland. With the Heilan’ Man’s battle cry of “Grigalai, Grigaloo, come on and fight you cowardly crew! I’ll have ya for my pot o’ stew! Yer feart to fight wae me,” the song has a folksy vibe with almost a country twist. Another such song is “The Men of Knoydart” which is based off a poem by Scottish poet Hamish Henderson. “To hell with your London lawyers, we want our Scottish land,” the song shouts as it is all about the Scotland highlanders fighting for their land from the English. There is also Longshot’s original “Private Land Calypso” which hearkens back to the ‘land’ theme with the catchy chorus of “Hey there you this is private land…it’s a place where ye cannae go. This land here is only for me, it’s not for the likes of you”. And of course along with the fighting songs there is a good drinking song too. “The Polis Taxi” with its chorus which one can imagine being sung in unison by folks at a pub with “I drink, drink, drink. I drink all day and night. And when I’m walking home I like to start a fight. I fight, fight, fight with anyone I see. So if ye seen me out and about stay away fae me”.
There are also a handful of more spooky, darker vibe songs on the album. With heavy laden reverb and almost a hint of Link Wray on the guitar, “The Piper of Culzean” tells the tale of a piper who entered the caves beneath Culzean castle never to return and his ghostly bagpipes can be heard echoing through the halls. “Tam O’Shanter” is based on Scottish poet Robert Burns poem and tells the tale of a farmer who gets drunk and while riding his horse on the way home sees a haunted church lit up with witches dancing and the devil playing the bagpipes. He creeps in to watch but they spy him and the witches begin to chase him as he heads to the River Doon. As he is almost across the water the witches tear off a piece of his horse’s tail. But my favorite of all the songs on the album, and the most unique in my opinion, is the title track “Teeth Marks on Your Brain”. It tells the Scottish legend of Sawney Bean; a cannibal with a large clan in the 15thand 16th century who reportedly was executed for mass murder and cannibalism of over 1,000 people. They were said to live in a cave along the coast and would ambush folks at night and devour them. In fact some say that the cult classic movie “The Hills Have Eyes” is based on this legend. The heavy electric guitar reverb mixed with banjo and melodica gives the song a folksy yet almost 50s, 60s vibe. It is just a very unique blend of sounds and with Longshot’s Scottish accent it really makes it authentic.
The whole album is great from beginning to end. Longshot’s vocals are beautiful, he has a wonderful tone and timber to his voice and the guitar, banjo and melodica work are ‘top class’ as they say in Scotland. Every song is very catchy and I found myself singing along or with the songs stuck in my head throughout the day. I usually don’t listen to albums over and over, but with this one I couldn’t help myself. So make sure to head on over to the Cheap Wine Records bandcamp site because most of the music there is available for free download. Longshot also has a companion EP that goes along with “Teeth Marks on Your Brain” called “The Hairy Tree” (the myth being that one of Sawney Bean’s daughters planted the hairy tree and was later hung from it) so make sure to check that out too. In my opinion Longshot Nelson is a true modern bard and balladeer telling the dark tales of Scottish legend along with its rich national history.
released January 19, 2013
Longshot Nelson and The Disjoints
Photographs by Julie Smith
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