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http://www.reverbnation.com/shipcote

         Shipcote hails from Newcastle ( where else?) and has been a stlawart of the music scene in those parts for many a year, both as performer and as promoter. In recent years he has taken to songwriting, too and this is just the latest batch of his songs to make it onto cd. Home recorded ( "at Howard's flat in Wallsend" ) and featuring a whole bunch of Shipcote's musical pals, Shipcote Rides Again brings us the man's own particular take on Americana. This particular collection has something of a sub-tropical air about it, whether it's the voodoo style of Pink Rose, the Mexican border style of It's So Good or the atmosphere of the south seas that comes over from time to time - is that the slack key style I can hear? It's a bizarre image to think of a bunch of Geordies conjuring up all this warmth and sunshine whilst recording in a flat in Wallsend, but conjure it they do and very nicely indeed.

         This is really a cd to pick up at a gig whilst the songs are fresh in your head; Shipcote's vocal, as recorded, is way too soft and diffident to make this radio-friendly fare but, even as you're straining a little to catch what he's singing,  you're going to be bowled over by the charm of the man's music. He writes songs that are warm, humane and down to earth - and also leavened with a little gentle humour. I hope it's only a matter of time before his songs get picked up by more commercial acts so that he can get the songwriting royalties he deserves. As it is, there's some gentle pleasure to be won from getting to know these songs in their original form. There's some excellent musicianship on this album and although his pals in the band get a namecheck on the sleeve, there's no clue as to who played what. The guitar playing and the banjo playing are really fine but with me being a particular fan of the pedal steel it would be nice to know who it is in England, other than B J Cole, who plays the pedal steel so well. Keep an ear out for Shipcote, anyway, definitely something of a hidden treasure. 

John Davy


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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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