Today: 16 Horsepower released Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes in 1996


“Well, at first the band were simply called Horsepower, but a lot of people thought that was something to do with heroin. That really pissed me off, so I decided to put something in front of it to distract them. “I got ’16’ from a traditional American folk song, where a man is singing about his dead wife and 16 black horses are pulling her casket up to the cemetery. I liked the image of 16 working horses.”
– David Eugene Edwards (NME, 1996)

16 Horsepower originated out of the “Denver scene” around 1992. Edwards teamed up with bassist Keven Soll and drummer Jean-Yves Tola (yeah he is French), and the trio soon discovered a common love for country music, traditional music (from all corners of the world), and the darker bands of the ’80s, like Joy Division, the Gun Club, and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

They toured extensively the first years, sometimes as opening act for bands like MorphineLos Lobos and the Violent Femmes.

Edwards said at the time that he regularly checked out Library of Congress records, old Appalachian music, and that he just listen to it for hours and hours. He expressed his for love Irish and Cajun music too, and how he saw it as all interconnected. All this seeped into Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes.

When Edwards was writing about early America, he was referring to the darkest aspects of USA’s past: the slavery, the war with native americans and the rape of a fertile land. He’s also thinking of the moral decline and violence of the Wild West that found sinners having to answer to a form of justice much higher than that of Man’s. He writes about a young and more primitive country, he write about the punishments for wrong-doing that were much more severe and eagerly executed than today. The word of God was also the word of the state and the executioner. Edwards and the songs he wrote with Sixteen Horsepower existed in that world.

16 Horsepower – Haw (official video):

“The music of the church was the most important thing to me , that’s where I learned the doctrine, where it came to me. That was how I was spoken to.”
– Edward Eugene Edwards (grandson of a Nazarene minister)

Continue reading Today: 16 Horsepower released Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes in 1996

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 37 “I Want To Hold Your Hand”


“They were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid.”
– Bob Dylan

“We wrote a lot of stuff together, one on one, eyeball to eyeball. Like in ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher’s house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had, ‘Oh you-u-u/ got that something…’ And Paul hits this chord [E minor] and I turn to him and say, ‘That’s it!’ I said, ‘Do that again!’ In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that — both playing into each other’s noses.”
– John Lennon (Playboy)

“‘Eyeball to eyeball’ is a very good description of it. That’s exactly how it was. ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ was very co-written. It was our big number one; the one that would eventually break us in America.”
– Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles)

This is the song that made America pay attention, and kick-started the “British Invasion”. It is the essential Beatles -63 pop song (ok, along with She Loves You). When released in USA,  750,000 copies were sold in the first 3 days, 10,000 copies were sold each hour in New York!


Single by The Beatles
B-side “This Boy” (UK), “I Saw Her Standing There” (US)
Released 29 November 1963 (UK), 26 December 1963 (US)
Format 7″
Recorded 17 October 1963, EMI Studios, London
Genre Rock, pop
Length 2:24
Label Parlophone (UK), Capitol (US)
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin

I Want to Hold Your Hand” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and recorded in October 1963, it was the first Beatles record to be made using four-track equipment.

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 37 “I Want To Hold Your Hand”

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 38 “Taxman”

taxman alt

“I had discovered I was paying a huge amount of money to the taxman. You are so happy that you’ve finally started earning money – and then you find out about tax.

In those days we paid 19 shillings and sixpence (96p) out of every pound, and with supertax and surtax and tax-tax it was ridiculous – a heavy penalty to pay for making money. That was a big turn-off for Britain. Anybody who ever made any money moved to America or somewhere else.”
– George Harrison (Anthology)


Song by the Beatles from the album Revolver
Released 5 August 1966
Recorded 20–22 April, 16 May
and 21 June 1966,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Hard rock, psychedelic
Length 2:39
Label Parlophone
Writer George Harrison
Producer George Martin

Taxman” is a song written by George Harrison released as the opening track on the Beatles’ 1966 album Revolver. Its lyrics attack the high levels of progressive tax taken by the British Labour government of Harold Wilson.

The Beatles – Taxman:

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 38 “Taxman”

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 39 “Because”

abbey road above

“Because” is a ballad written by John Lennon and as usual credited to Lennon/McCartney. It features a 3-part harmony vocal performance between Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison, overdubbed three times to make nine voices in all. The results of this have been compared in sound to the Beach Boys. It appeared on the 1969 album Abbey Road, and is the song that precedes the extended medley that formed side two of the original LP record. George Martin plays the electronic harpsichord at the beginning of the song, and Ringo is nowhere to be heard. That said, Ringo kept the rhythm on a hi-hat, but only in the singers headphones, it was not recorded.

It was the last song recorded for Abbey Road.


Song by the Beatles from the album Abbey Road
Released 26 September 1969
Recorded 1–5 August 1969,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, art rock
Length 2:45
Label Apple Records
Writer Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin

The Beatles – Because:

According to Lennon, the song’s close musical resemblance to the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was no coincidence:

“Yoko was playing Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ on the piano … I said, ‘Can you play those chords backwards?’, and wrote ‘Because’ around them. The lyrics speak for themselves … No imagery, no obscure references.”

It do contain some similarities to Beethoven, but it isn’t obvious, but it’s a good story. It actually sounds a lot like the song “Stay in bed” included in the song “Amsterdam” from John Lennon/Yoko Ono’s  Wedding Album. Listen to the acoustic guitar at about 22:16, it has a very similar melody to “Because”:

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 39 “Because”

Photo Special: Yuma Sun live in Kopervik 1 Feb 2014

Yuma sun Hell awaits-1
Hell Awaits

I did a write-up on Yuma Sun’s latest release a few weeks ago, I really loved the album and was eager to see them play the new material on stage. I did see them yesterday and they didn’t disappoint…at all!  It was a very tight set, a bit short (they were one of three bands this night) but superb.

Yuma sun ghost hand-1
Ghost Hand

The new songs works very well live and hopefully we will see them many times on the festival circuit this summer (and on stand-alone jobs for that matter). They have developed quite a stage show, a mix of a cabaret show and a prayer house meeting. Jaran Hereid looks more and more like an intense preacher!
Continue reading Photo Special: Yuma Sun live in Kopervik 1 Feb 2014

Focusing on Bob Dylan & related music