Tag Archives: England

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Multani

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Indo-Jazz Fusions

It has not been a good week. First we lose two musical greats, Dave Brubeck & Ravi Shankar. And then we have the killings at Newtown, Connecticut

The world is less of a place today for having lost two “greats” who fulfilled their potentials in long, ground-breaking careers. And it is also less of a place for the loss of twenty six innocents in Newtown, many of them just starting on life’s journey.

I don’t have any Brubeck or Shankar in my collection but the Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet, Indo-Jazz Fusions will serve as a more than adequate tribute.

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Multani

Traffic – 40,000 Headmen

Traffic - The Collection

Traffic – The Collection

One small project I have set myself is to recreate some of the sampler albums I listened to when I was a teenager. I haven’t made much progress but perhaps will resurrect the idea this winter. To give me some impetus I’ll post Roamin’ Thro’ the Gloamin with 40,000 Headmen by Traffic. I have it now on a Traffic compilation album The Collection but it was originally released as B-side to the “No Face, No Name, No Number” single in 1968 and then on their second album Traffic.

I first owned it on the Island sampler album Nice Enough to Eat. As an impoverished teenager sampler albums were a lifeline to my musical appetite. I could enjoy good music cheaply and go on to buy the crucial albums as and when I had the money. I have many fond, if fading, memories of hanging out with school-friends listening to these samplers – Nice Enough to Eat, You Can All Join In, Bumpers, The Rock Machine Turns You On etc. Happy days.

Traffic – 40,000 Headmen

3 Mustaphas 3 – This City is Very Exciting!

3 Mustaphas 3 - Soup of the Century

3 Mustaphas 3 – Soup of the Century

My weekly posts from Northampton’s number one CD rack have been a bit less regular of late – apologies. I’d like to say that I have been madly busy with work, a hectic social life or travel to exotic lands but the truth is somewhat more mundane – doing bits and bobs and watching the Olympics. I may have missed a post last week but I’m back again with another tune for which I’m going to find a contrived Olympic link.

Today we have This City is very Exciting! by 3 Mustaphas 3. I’ve just been listening to the latest fRoots podcast, much of which is devoted to re-broadcasting a Folk Roots Radio programme first broadcast 30th September 1985. The programme was presented by Ian Anderson (fRoots) and featured an interview with guest Ben Mandelson of 3 Mustaphas 3. Great stuff – I shall listen again in the car tomorrow as I head down the motorway to a family birthday party.

Listening to the podcast I was inspired to post a track from the 3 Mustaphas 3 CD, Soup of the Century. It’s a fun record with so many musical styles, you get jet-lagged just listening to it. Wikipedia says “With tracks ranging from a Country song in Japanese to a Mexican traditional sung in Hindi, and going through a mix of Irish, Scottish, Greek, Albanian, Klezmer and many more styles, the Mustaphas had broken the last barriers separating ethnic music styles.”

From the CD I’ve chosen This City is Very Exciting! – a sentiment I’m sure many of the Olympic teams, Olympic tourists and Londoners enjoying the Olympic vibe will agree with.

3 Mustaphas 3 – This City is Very Exciting!

Jon Boden with Sam Sweeney – Sweet Thames Flow Softly

Various Artists - This is Proper Folk Too!

Various Artists – This is Proper Folk Too!

For a change we’re not having a Lucky Thirteen post. I don’t seem to have bought a new CD for a while so I went mad and spent £1.99 on a 10 track sampler album. It was the least I could do in these times of austerity to do my bit towards kick-starting the British economy.

I like sampler CDs, and so do many others. I always have since the days of Bumpers, Nice Enough To Eat, You Can All Join In, The Rock Machine Turns You On etc. If you remember these albums you are over 60 or a rock music historian! (I started a mini project a little while ago to recreate some of these samplers in mp3 downloads. I really must get round to finishing it.)

The rationale for releasing samplers was and is to encourage listeners to discover new music and to go on to support the artists by buying their full albums and attending their gigs. It did work in the past and I’m sure that it works today. So go on, do your bit to kick-start the British economy, and support these artists in a club, pub, concert hall or festival and / or in the privacy of your own home.

On with the music; I’ve chosen Sweet Thames Flow Softly by Jon Boden with Sam Sweeney. I Love this song, this is a great version and a song set in London seems timely just prior to the start of London 2012.

Jon Boden with Sam Sweeney – Sweet Thames Flow Softly

Martin Carthy with Dave Swarbrick – Ramblin’ Sailor

Martin Carthy with Dave Swarbrick - Second Album

Martin Carthy with Dave Swarbrick – Second Album

Late again – I blame Andy Murray. Or David Cameron. Or both!

Lucky Thirteen has brought us from Martin Carthy with Brass Monkey to Martin Carthy with Dave Swarbrick on his Second Album. It is really interesting to hear how Martin Carthy’s style has changed over the years. Everything on this album seems much more studied and formal than on later records. He is definitely working his way from the accepted “folk singer” style of singing and playing to something more personal and unique. The track that I have chosen, Ramblin’ Sailor, is the nearest in style to the later albums that he and Dave Swarbrick released.

The sleeve notes say this about the song: “Also known as Young Johnson, this is a typical story of a sailor home from a long voyage and a rather frisky whore who robs him of all his possession, leaving him with a physical reminder of the exchange; or, as “Measure for Measure” puts it, “Impiety makes a feast of him.””

Martin Carthy with Dave Swarbrick – Ramblin’ Sailor

Brass Monkey – Riding Down to Portsmouth

Brass Monkey - The Complete Brass Monkey

Brass Monkey – Doctor Fauster's Tumblers / The Night of Trafalgar / Prince William

It is just thirteen steps from Santiago to Portsmouth, well it is in my record collection anyway. Thirteen steps from Alianza – Alianza! to Brass MonkeyThe Complete Brass Monkey. And, as today I’m riding down to Bognor Regis, I’ll post Riding Down to Portsmouth. Bognor, Portsmouth – they are close enough for me!

The Complete Brass Monkey is a compilation of the first two Brass monkey albums – Brass Monkey (1983) and See How It Runs (1986). Since then they have released Sound and Rumour (1999), Going and Staying (2001), Flame of Fire (2004), Head of Steam (2009) as well as another compilation, The Definitive Collection (2005). I don’t know these albums other than the odd tracks that have been played on the radio. I really should get round to buying them.

And if you enjoy this track (and the others off this album that I have posted, buy the CDs yourself or take yourself off to one of their gigs – yes they are still gigging from time to time. This summer’s gigs can be found on John Kirkpatrick website.

Brass Monkey – Riding Down to Portsmouth

Alianza – Santiago

Alianza - Alianza!

Alianza – Alianza!

Lucky Thirteen brings us back to the beginning of me collection for a second pass. And we arrive at Alianza! by Alianza – well I think that that is correct.

According to an early Show of Hands website, “Alianza was a unique Anglo-Chilean collaboration between three English musicians, Steve Knightley, Phil Beer, and Dave Townsend, and three exiled Chilean musicians, Sergio Avila, Mauricio Venegas and Vladimir Vega. The group sought out the common rhythms, themes and melodies to produce a blend of songs in English, songs in Spanish and songs in both languages ,and dance music from both sides of the Atlantic. The group produced one album Alianza in 1992, which included a number of songs that later became part of the repertoire of Show of Hands, the acoustic roots duo formed by Steve Knightley and Phil Beer.”

The current website of Show of Hands describes the venture this way, “During 1992 Steve and Phil were invited to join an inter-cultural music project which involved working with three exiled Chilean musicians. Out of this the band Alianza was formed and an album made. Alianza toured throughout 1992 and 1993 and influenced Steve and Phil greatly. They were introduced to a new range of rhythms and instruments and Steve was inspired to write songs that are now favorites with Show Of Hands fans including ‘Santiago’, ‘Armadas’ and ‘Columbus Didn’t Find America’. Some of these found their way onto the first Show Of Hands studio album ‘Beat About The Bush’ which was released in 1994.”

Show of Hands are an English folk phenomenon. They tour widely, release albums regularly and engage their fans at every level. If you want to catch them this summer, their summer dates can be found here.

The track I am posting is the fans’ favourite – Santiago.

Alianza – Santiago

BJ Cole – Gnossienne No. 5

Various Artists - Instruments

Various Artists – Instruments

An instrumental this week from an album called, appropriately enough, Instruments. It is one of two samplers put out in the ’90s by Hannibal Records, the other being Voices. The track I’ve chosen is the Erik Satie composition Gnossienne No. 5 played by BJ Cole. So, it is a piano piece adapted for pedal steel guitar.

BJ Cole is little known as a front man but if you look at the breadth of music he has created over the years, you wonder why he is not better known. Wikipedia have an enormous list of bands / acts that BJ Cole has played with or recorded for and I know that this is only a partial list! They name Cochise, Marc Bolan / T.Rex, Elton John, R.E.M., Cat Stevens, Kevin Ayers, Billy Connolly, Richard Ashcroft, The Verve, Luke Vibert, Graham Coxon, Roger Waters, Juno Reactor, Rockin Dave Taylor, Depeche Mode, Doll by Doll, Devon Sproule, Björk, Chumbawamba, David Gilmour, Hanson, Ian Siegal, Jah Wobble, The Stranglers, Sting, Icebreaker, Brian Joseph Friel, David Gilmour, The Moody Blues. Wow!

BJ Cole – Gnossienne No. 5

Chris Wood – The Lady of York

Chris Wood – Trespasser

Chris Wood – Trespasser

No deaths to report this week, though I may have missed some; so on with the show.

This week’s Lucky Thirteen selection brings us to Chris Wood‘s 2007 CD Trespasser. From it I have chosen The Lady of York for the simple reason that my daughter is in York, with her colleagues from Mali, for a debriefing session. As they meet, they will be mindful that the situation in Mali is still very uncertain. Today it is reported that Captain Amadou Sanago, the leader of last month’s coup, has rejected the Ecowas (Economic Community of West African States) decision to send troops to help stabilise the country.

In the liner notes to Trespasser, Chris Wood explains that, “The songs on this album are about enclosure in some form or another. Spiritual, geographical, cultural, legislative, chronological, imaginative… they are an invitation to step upon these places we have been lured into believing are no business of ours.”

The song The Lady of York is a version of Child ballad number 20, The Cruel Mother, though Chris disputes this simple judgement- “Most people refer this song as “The Cruel Mother”. I just don’t buy it.”

Chris Wood has a very busy touring schedule this year. He is doing his own gigs early in the year and guesting on Joan Armatrading’s tour at the end of the year. Try to get to one or other of the gigs if you can.

Chris Wood – The Lady of York

The Unthanks – The Testimony of Patience Kershaw

The Unthanks – Here's the Tender Coming

The Unthanks – Here's the Tender Coming

It’s been another bad week for the deaths of ageing musicos. This week we’ve lost Levon Helm & Bert Weedon. I’ve no Levon Helm in my collection at present (memo to self – buy old Band CDs) and, I must confess that I’ve never,knowingly, owned any Bert Weedon music. But despite my failings, two great men have passed away and It is only right to commemorate them.

The music that I have chosen for this week’s post is far removed from the music of both Levon Helm & Bert Weedon. By virtue of the fate, Lucky Thirteen this week presents us with The Unthanks 2009 album Here's the Tender Coming. And from it I’ve chosen The Testimony of Patience Kershaw.

This song was written by Frank Higgins of Liverpool 1972 and is based on evidence given by Patience Kershaw to the Government Commission of Enquiry into Child Labour in 1842. Patience was a hurrier; a hurrier was a child or woman employed by a collier to transport the coal that they had mined. As a result of the Commission of Enquiry, an Act of Parliament prohibited the underground employment in the mines of women and boys under ten years old.

The Unthanks – The Testimony of Patience Kershaw