The Real Si-B ‘Lost in a Hug’

The Real Si-B at the Dover Castle

The Real Si-B is the monicker of Simon F Baker, a UK Swamp Country-Roots Singer Songwriter & One Man Band, who mixes traditional influences with a love of the quirky & unexpected.

Originally from the rougher side of Croydon and brought up on a commune in Suffolk, Si is now based in Brighton and Hove. In ‘Lost in the Hug’ he’s produced a surprising and enjoyable album, mixing a strong musicality with some gutsy, heart-felt rhythm and blues, be-fitting a man who claims one of his favourite smells is the inside of an acoustic guitar.

The album was mainly recorded in Si’s small home studio in Hove with some parts recorded live in Alfriston Chapel and then sent to Finnish producer Jerry Icon, formerly of Brighton but now in Italy, who played & recorded bass for the songs & mixed & mastered the album. Keith Osborne of Hastings also added a gorgeous lapstring steel part to ‘Dear Sam’.

The album is refreshing and while rooted in old music still sounds fresh and new. Particular favourites to our ears are the upbeat ‘Alabama Mambo Blues’, the strangely psychedelic rootsy spiritual sound of ‘Pigskin Shoestring Song’ and the beautifully gentle, memory-filled ‘Dear Sam’ which seems to oose sunshine and personal stories. But there’s not a weak song on the whole album. Give it a listen at the link below.

Si says many of the songs on the album were written about people he knew “like ‘Elephant’ which popped out after a conversation with my brother. Or ‘Rings of Gypsy Gold’ which is a true story about Eastern European gypsies who flagged me down on a motorway flyover & scammed me out of whatever cash I had on me in exchange for some fake ‘gold’ rings. I got hoodwinked – but I got a song out of it!”

Si says he grew up listening to “a lot of Jamaican Ska, as well as punk bands like The Clash and The Slits and all the weird eclectic stuff John Peel used to play” which left a lasting impression. But as he grew older he found himself “more & more drawn to types of music which have a simple timeless beauty & penetrating honesty about them”. He became attracted to Apalachian folk & hillbilly Country music as well as the early 20s and 30s blues singers which inspired the American Folk music revival in the 1960’s, and which comes through loud and clear in the album ‘Lost in the Hug’.

“Really though I wanted to try & do it in the way that came most natural to me rather than trying to apply any kind of formula or style of someone elses,” Si says. 

That certainly worked. While the album has elements of the raw warmth of Seasick Steve or the quirky pop sensibility of the Talking Heads, it is much more rootsy, reminisicent a bit of the Louisiana swamp music as well as a touch of Chas & Dave and the pub rock of the late 1970s. However, it’s very much Si’s own sound, aided by his excellent grasp of his instrumentation also shown to good effect in his one-man-band live shows.

The Real Si-B live at the Brunswick1

Si is currently working on new material for his next album, as well as looking for interesting small venues in the South East to play at and other sympathetic artists to work with. He says that anyone interested should not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Listen to and/or download ‘Lost in the Hug’ from The Real Si-B’s website here

and catch Si next on Friday 1st September at The Bugle Inn (24 St Martins St, Brighton BN2 3HJ)   8.30pm – free entry

or Saturday 4th November at The Dover Castle Pub (Southover St, Hanover BN2 9UE) also a free entry gig

+++++

Words by Jon Southcoasting

Photo (1) by Jon Southcoasting and (2) by Graham O’Connor-Laurence

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M Butterfly debut album

M Butterfly is the nom-de-plume of Martyn Lewis, a 27 year old songwriter from Brighton who has just released his first album of subtle, sensitive sad-core.

Martyn plays guitar and synths as well as singing. Unusually, the album was recorded on to tape, giving it the feel at times of an old lost 78.  Martin told us that “Thom was a wonderful producer who managed to hear the same things I heard in the songs, and he never doubted my ability, which gave me endless drive.”

This record took Martyn about 2 years to write and it was worth the wait. The album contains a beautiful collection of sad songs with a musical alt-country heart. The song ‘The Loving Arms’ might just be the saddest song you’ll ever hear. The collection as a whole is not depressing however, because of Martyn’s lyricism and ability to dive into melancholy and then bring the songs back, illustrated well by the opening lines of the first song ‘Yes, always’:  “Well I stare into the abyss and make it blink…”

Martyn says his main influences are classic songwriters like Townes van Zandt, Vic Chesnutt and Judee Sill, all known for not being afraid to dive into the darker regions of the human mind at times.  “Really heartfelt lyrics over relatively simple songs,” is Martyn’s summation. “In terms of dynamics and texture I took a lot of influence from Low, Julee Cruise and PJ Harvey’s more experimental albums. That Julee Cruise album was a massive influence with its textures on the guitars.” You can hear some of the Twin Peaks influence to good effect on some of the songs, and the album contains a similar shimmering sense of otherness.

The album has been released in a very limited CD-R edition which has already sold out, but you can still buy the music from bandcamp. Martyn is planning to release a very limited lathe cut vinyl EP later this year which he says will include some full band songs. One of which, ‘strings on yr wrist’  has featured in his live set for a while. “Hopefully [the band songs] will be fast and noisy and grungy.”

“After this I’ll start writing for album 2. I won’t be rushing anything for the second record,” he says. “I’m very into beats at the moment, and whilst I definitely won’t be doing a hip hop album I’d like to record a song or two that you could dance to!”

Surprising perhaps, but whatever it sounds like, we look forward to album number two with eager anticipation.

You can listen to M Butterfly I here:

An Alternative 2016 Albums best of…

So Rob always has his top ten Brighton albums of the year and it’s always very good and there are usually one or two overlaps with Jon’s but they’re never the same, so in the spirit of diversity and a reflection of the excellent year 2016 has been for music, Jon thought he’d drop a few Rob failed to mention and which happen to be top of his list. Continue reading

An alternative End of Year Brighton Top ten

As Rob has been meticulously drip-feeding his top twenty from 2014 into the blog over the last few weeks, I thought I’d provide an alternative listing just to show the diversity of our blogging tastes. That meant, no duplication with the Rob-o-Sphere, and so out went Curxes, Cate Ferris, Fear of Men, all of which were excellent in my book.

That left me with the following selections capturing ten (well, eleven) of the brilliant sounds and songs that emerged from our fair city over the last year in a shambling semblance/pretence of order:

Bentcousin – Dizzy 

These terrible twins have been drip-feeding the cosmos with some ace songs, but this was the killer track for me released on a vinyl 7 inch and with some super Brighton-relevant rapping from Rory P.

 

yourgardenday – Something in the Music

A gorgeous plea for tolerance and harmony and a love of music, this had a limited release last year as lead track on Robin Coward’s Flat Stream EP, finally getting a full on-line release this summer.

 

Time for T – Free Hugs

An adorable band writing some adorable songs, this slunk of 70s soul has a great chorus and a charming video in which the band spend the whole song hugging Brighton people. Did I say it was adorable?

 

Sharon Lewis –  Boxer’s Glove 

Released right at the tail end of last year, this came from the Simple Things EP that accompanied Sharon’s excellent album, a melancholic tale of domestic violence, harsh but beautiful.

 

5  Fragile Creatures –  Fragile Creatures 

This band write some classic pop and none better than this – the self-named winner from their first EP which came out this summer.

 

Ellie Ford – Low

Singer-songwriter who had her debut EP re-released by Hidden Trail Records this year, from whence came this song, and also released an excellent covers EP. Ellie Ford is a singer who just gets better and better and her debut album should come out next year.

 

7 AK/DK – Maxwell’s Waves

This track comes from their album titled ‘Synth + Drums + Noise + Space’ which kind of sums up their sound without the excitement of their stunning live shows.

 

8 Slum of Legs – Razorblade the tape

This band are manic live, and their initial punky 7″ single on the Tuff Enuff label captures just half of this energy. This was the b-side.

 

9 Fiona Sally Miller – Lanterns

From one of three EPs released on the same day, this was one of the proper songs rather than the underwater experimental or live tracks, but like so much of Miller’s work it sounded magical.

 

=10 The Delta Bell – Wasted

Hiawatha Telephone Company – Dave

‘Wasted’ is a classic rambling country song sung by the gorgeous tones of Kate Gerrard and hit all the right notes in my book.

Shamelssly squeezing an eleventh song into my top ten I’ll come clean and admit that I had a hand in ‘Dave’, but it’s a song that ought to resonate in 2015 it being election year. Ripe for a cover, but for now we have this.

 

Pub Rock with Clowwns and Mum Dad & The Kids

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This gallery contains 12 photos.

Mum Dad and the Kids opened last night for the newly renamed Clowwns (extra ‘W’) at the Gladstone Arms on the Lewes Road. Tim Harbridge’s band play a brilliant high-tempo compound of power pop and glam rock, with some excellent … Continue reading

Cable Club featuring The Delta Bell

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This gallery contains 3 photos.

the Cable Club is a Brighton institution, putting on low-key small scale gigs for well over a decade. Brighton music blog attended its latest outing at the Prince Albert pub, to see three new acts we’d not seen before. First up … Continue reading

The Re-incarnation of Trim Tab Jim

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This gallery contains 8 photos.

Friday night saw the Cable Club present the strange phenomenon that is the re-incarnation of Trim Tab Jim and it was another one of those brilliant Brighton gigs full of talented inventive musicianship that seemed to be attended by about … Continue reading