Sunday, 20 April 2014

One For Sunday Easter Special: Three For Sunday

To quote the 13th Floor Elevators, it's, 'Easter everywhere'. Happy Easter to one and all. One for Sunday has become Three For Sunday for one week to celebrate the great day.

First up, here's Kris Kristofferson with a song about three of his heroes. Bob Dylan recorded this one for his 1986 album, Knocked Out Loaded but I prefer the original.

Kris Kristofferson
They Killed Him (1985)

Talking of Old Zimmy, here he is with his fine late 90's band doing a live version of the Stanley Brothers favourite, 'I Am The Man, Thomas', for all of us doubters. Bob went through a period of regularly opening his shows with a country gospel tune, just so you know where he's coming from.

Bob Dylan
I Am The Man, Thomas (live, 1999)

Finally, here's Emmylou with a tune from her 1987 album, Angel Band, which tells of the promise that Jesus's resurrection makes for us all. Don't want to get too preachy here, mind you, because that ain't my style, so enjoy and have a splendid Easter Day.

Emmylou Harris
We Shall Rise (1987)

Friday, 18 April 2014

Just For The Record: British Sea Power, Trinity Centre, Bristol 15.4.14

I was going to write something extensive in order to celebrate BSP's excellent gig at the Trinity Centre in Bristol (see old Victorian church above) but (a) I've said it all before and (b) this particular trip to Bristol somehow became about far more than seeing the best band on the planet. So, my plan is to tell you more about my 'Trip Out' very soon but here's a brief outline of the event itself.

Set-list (actual list torn from my hands by a young woman half my size and at least half my age - I'm sure she's more deserving).
Intro of odd radio broadcast and Men TogetherToday/Heavenly Waters/Fear of Drowing/Monsters of Sunderland/It Ended On An Oily Stage/Atom/We Are Sound/Once More Now/No Need To Cry/Loving Animals/Lovely Day Tomorrow/Machineries of Joy/Zeus/Remember Me/Waving Flags/The Great Skua/Carrion/All In It
Encore: Spirit of St. Louis/No Lucifer

Crowd surfing by Yan and Phil. Both bears appeared in audience during encore (I did twist Ursine's nose). Lots of moshing. Band really 'up for it'. Energetic two hour set with a good variety of tunes from a now sprawling back catalogue. Abi in fetching pinnie tied to her back. Old hippy with a long stick including added foliage in audience. Good merchandise - I bought a remix CD and two new t-shirts plus some British Tea Power tea bags. Hot, crowded and sweaty. At £14 a ticket you couldn't go wrong.

Here's some music that was featured in the show.

It Ended On An Oily Stage (2005)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Georgia Ruth, Bristol Trinity Centre, 15.4.14

Georgia Ruth

Welsh harpist and singer-songwriter Georgia Ruth brought her harp and merry backing band to Bristol last night to support British Sea Power as they hit the highroads of the West Country. I hope I'll have more to bring you as far as BSP's performance went (hint - very well) but, for now, I just want to say a few words about Ms Williams.

Georgia Ruth was given a warm welcome by the Bristol crowd, even though she did express some doubts as to how into folk music a BSP audience may be. She needn't have worried as these fans are an eclectic bunch. Georgia and the chaps played us some songs from her debut album, Week of Pines (2013). They started off with this one:

We were also treated to the title track, which I posted a week or so ago and which had a few heads bobbing and feet tapping (note coincidental rhythmic similarity to BSP's own 'Machineries of Joy') and an Appalachian tune about a dead dog called 'Blue' amongst a clutch of other gems in a short set which augers well for her gig in Cardiff next month, which your correspondent is looking forward to greatly.

Here's her set-list for Bristol, which I half-inched off the stage as Georgia and the lads exited. Shame the album was not actually on sale at the merch stand like we'd been led to believe it would be. Save it for Cardiff.
Oh, and thanks to Georgia for enabling me to get in my 'joke' about the audience being 'half-pissed' when she asked if there were any 'harpists' out there. Quite unnecessary, I know.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Song He Didn't Write No. 5: Farewell to the Gold

As far I'm aware, Dylan has only performed this great song once, at Youngstown, Ohio on 2nd November, 1992. What makes Dylan's performance extra notable is the fact that we can be certain that his source was English folk singer and guitarist Nic Jones's version from his superb Penguin Eggs album, released on Topic in 1980. How can we so sure of this? Aside from certain formal similarities in their respective takes, we also know that  Bob 'borrowed' his version of the traditional 'Canadee-i-o' from the same record and put it on Good As I Been To You (1992). There was quite a bit of controversy about how close Bob's take of 'Canadee-i-o' was to Nic's at the time of release, especially as old Bobby failed to give Nic a credit. Whatever, it would seem that Mr. Dylan is a big fan of Mr. Jones.

So, where did Nic Jones find 'Farewell to the Gold'? Although it sounds traditional, this tale of tragedy amongst 19th century New Zealand gold prospectors was actually penned by Paul Metsers, who released it on his own album Caution to the Wind in 1982. Here's a lovely take by the author.

Paul Metsers
'Farewell to the Gold'

Now we have a live version by Nic Jones. If you don't have it, go and find yourselves a copy of Penguin Eggs. Shortly after its release Nic was extremely badly injured in a car crash which essentially ended his career until he, to many people's amazement, began working again just a few years ago. A singular voice of the English folk scene.

Nic Jones
'Farewell to the Gold' (live at Knaresborough Folk Club, 1981)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Mississippi Fred McDowell

Goin' Down To The River (1965)

I was wandering the highways and byways of YouTube recently, considering videos for this or that post, when I came across the above clip of the astounding Mississippi Fred McDowell, which was apparently filmed in Germany in 1965. I've cherished Fred's music for many a year but hadn't seen this before. There are so many things I love about it - the dignified passion of the music; its authenticity; Fred's awesome suit and tie; his voice; his sound. Fred was one of the very last 'undiscovered' Delta blues artists when he came to wider notice in the late '50's, following the work of, if memory serves me well, blues collector, Samuel Charters. If I'm wrong about the latter point, put me right. Basically, Fred's music was what they had been playing down in Mississippi since the beginning of the 20th Century. All recordings by the man are fabulous and essential if you have any love for deep blues. Source, of course, of The Rolling Stones' version of 'You Gotta Move'.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

One For Sunday: Jerry Garcia, David Grisman and Tony Rice

Drifting Too Far From The Shore (1993)

Lovely picking and rough and ready vocals by Jerry Garcia and chums from the The Pizza Tapes album which was recorded in 1993.

'Drifting Too Far From The Shore' was written by Charles E. Moody of Gordon County, Georgia, USA, a member of the Georgia Yellow Hammers string band and choir director. The tune is a perennial of bluegrass and country performers including Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, The Country Gentlemen, Emmylou Harris and Bob Dylan; so, if Jerry's version doesn't do it for you, there are plenty of others to hunt down. Have a peaceful Sabbath Day, which today is Palm Sunday. Hosanna!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Round The U-Bend: The Return of the Glam Waste Pipe

We haven't featured anything from the glam dustbin of 70's pop for ages, so here's some fun to make up for it. First we have the rather incredible Kenny, with their '75 youth club bopper, 'Fancy Pants'.

Fancy Pants (1975)

Let's harden things up a bit with an obscure gem from Gumbo. I'm having some difficulty getting more information on this lost band of teen grebos but I know that 'We Don't Care' was the b-side to a song called 'Devils' released on Fontana. Anyone out there help with more details?

We Don't Care (1974)

More glam racket soon.