|Origin||Blackwood, Caerphilly, Wales|
|Genres||Folk Noir, Acoustic, Singer-songwriter|
|Years active||1970s– present|
|Labels||Evangeline Records, One Little Indian Records|
Songdog on Myspace
Songdog are a Welsh three-piece folk noir band noted for their intelligent lyrics and sparse (often acoustic) musical arrangements.
Band members include Lyndon Morgans (vocals, acoustic guitar and songs), Karl Woodward (electric guitars, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, keyboards), Dave Paterson (drums, keyboards, accordion, percussion), Malcolm " Mal" Phillips, Bass and Jasper Salmon (violin). Morgans,Phillips and Woodward had previously been in 80's "hunchback funk" band Sad Among Strangers who scratched the surface of the charts and toured Europe as support to A ha as well as shaking their stuff at many of London's premier venues such as the Marquee, the 100 club, the Greyhound Fulham and The Venue.
Lyndon Morgans was a playwright before going into music. He wrote a play entitled Water Music which was shown at London's Cockpit Theatre in 1992 and starred David Ryall (Outnumbered, The Singing Detective), Dervla Kirwan (Ballykissangel, Goodnight Sweetheart), Linda Baron (Open All Hours) and Elizabeth Estensen (The Liver Birds).
The band’s debut album, The Way of the World, was self-released. Nevertheless, it received some positive press, including a four (out of five) star review from Martin Aston of The Times in June 2001. Morgans "is smitten by that old salty Belgian dog Jacques Brel, as shown by the sparse, candlelit arrangements and tremulous vocals".
In 2003 the band’s second album, Haiku, was released on Evangeline Records. The album received a four (out of five) star review in Uncut. "If 2001's superb 'The Way of the World' was a fittingly damaged, literary affair for a songwriter in thrall to the Beats, Brel and Dylan, 'Haiku' ups the ante with more extreme, nerve-jarring tales of love and sex in all its obsessive, voyeuristic, clammy glory".
By the time of the third album in 2006 the band had signed to One Little Indian Records. Again the album received some positive press, including a 4.5 out of 5 star review in The Sun newspaper. "There's a raw honesty to Morgans' acute insights set in sparse, intimate musical surroundings... The Time of Summer Lightning is one of those albums you can get lost in for weeks. Another example of why quiet might just be the new loud".
On A Life Eroding, the band’s fifth album, “Lyndon Morgans’ lyrics are as evocative as ever, but his graphic, oddly magical songs haven’t previously enjoyed such well-plotted arrangements”. Mojo awarded the album four (out of five) stars.
Celebrity fans include Bruce Springsteen, who covered "Days of Armageddon" (from 2003 album Haiku) for "walk in music" on his European tour and personally requested a copy of their third album, The Time of Summer Lightning. Haiku, the title for Songdog's second album, means a Japanese verse of three short, unrhymed lines. Tracks from the third album received radio airplay on Jonathan Ross' BBC Radio 2 show and John Kennedy's XFM show, amongst others.
it is as a live act that Songdog come in to their own, in tune with each other and the audience they at once conjure up the seedy back rooms of Weimar Berlin or Monmartre and smoke filled pubs in Glasgow, London or Cardiff, the perverse beauty of their tales will have you leaning forwards on the edge of your seat.
- 'Goodbye Isabel' and 'I Love My Angel's Plastic Wings' from 'The Way of the World' (2001)
- 'The Girl on the Escalator at HMV' and 'Days of Armageddon' from 'Haiku' (2003)
- 'The Waitress from Yorkville, Toronto' and 'Childhood Skies' from 'The Time of Summer Lightning' (2005)
Quotes from Lyndon Morgans
- “If I could create a record as powerful as mid-period Joni Mitchell, or Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, I'd die happy”.
- “I'm not a great believer in this idea that rock music is cool because its disposable, its chewing gum - enjoy it then throw it away - I think when you write music you should strive to endure, like a great writer or painter. All the great rock music that I value is on the same level as any other art forms - when I try to write a song, I try to write it as if its forever (although I'm not claiming that any of our stuff will live beyond tomorrow..) I wouldn't be happy just stringing together a cliched set of chords, saying this'll be energetic and get people's rocks off tonight”.
- The Way Of The World (Self-released, 2001)
- Haiku (Evangeline Records, 2003)
- The Time of Summer Lightning (One Little Indian Records, 2005)
- A Wretched Sinner's Song (One Little Indian Records, 2008) Leaked on January 16, 2008.
- A Life Eroding (One Little Indian Records, 26 Apr. 2010)
- Last Orders At Harry's Bar (Junkyard Songs, 7 Oct. 2013)
- Hughes, Rob (February 2003) Album Review of 'Haiku', Uncut, London;
- The Sun newspaper, 24 November 2006, London;
- Haynes, Gavin (2008) The NME review of 'A Wretched Sinner's Song';
- McNair, James (May 2010) Album review of ‘A Life Eroding’, Mojo, London;