I went to see Kelly Willis at the Maze last Wednesday, part of her UK Tour. I will try and post a review. Did anyone else catch her at all or is this a very minority taste?
Have just heard that Jon Hiseman has passed.
Very sad news – a fine drummer and a decent bloke on the occasion I attended a talk he gave.
There is a new compilation, just released, of Fairport Convention 1968-78. This contains 7 discs, a booklet and a poster in a boxed set.
This will take me time to work through, since there is a lot of material here (including BBC Broadcasts and live shows), quite a lot of which has been previously unreleased.
Worth a look, if Fairports are your bag. I got mine in Head Records (Leamington Spa) for £60. Not sure if better deals are available.
Bristol Old Vic
I saw this Kneehigh Theatre production back in 2005 at Warwick Arts Centre – brilliant both then and now. Notionally a tragedy, but framed by the device of being played within ‘The Club Unloved’. The players and musicians all played members of this club at times dressed in kagouls, glasses and balaclavas. The play is partially in verse, includes a fantastic stage set, top-notch musicians up in a ‘Crows Nest’, dancing and much more. Apart from the excellent leads playing the lovers, the Cornish King Mark and his sidekick (a brilliant Kyle Lima as Frocil), the show was nearly stolen by a pantomime dame-like Brangian (Yseult’s Irish maid). The show does break the ‘4th wall’ in many respects and there is some audience participation, but no-one is shamed or embarrassed – some balloons were involved. Uplifting, zany and energetic – the show throughly deserved its standing ovation. Anything that has the cast dancing and mugging furiously to ‘Get Lucky’ has my vote. You even get serenaded by band and cast members during the interval (‘Only The Lonely’ being one selection).
A mixture of ages. Unfortunately, the people behind us had brought » Continue Reading.
Pizza Express,Brindley Place, Birmingham
Wonderful night at Pizza Express in Birmingham watching Dean Friedman. Not a name on many people’s lips. Possibly remembered for some quirky songs nearly 40 years ago.
But this guy is not just a one-hit-wonder. He composed loads of great songs. He teaches songwriting and conducts workshops.
He comes on and plays acoustic guitar with a very polished and nuanced hybrid picking style. At 61, his voice has lost none of its richness and range. His repartee between each song is witty. He embroiders each song with a tale – the evolution of McDonalds Girl into a YouTube hit and its eventual adoption 30 years later by the eponymous brand; the tale of Half Man Half Biscuit’s “Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman”, which is followed by his song about HMHB’s Nigel Blackwell entitled “A Baker’s Tale” ‘explaining’ Nigel’s birth.
He moves to piano and reveals a style rich in both jazz and classical training. The songs are well constructed, literate and funny.
He plays all the favourites – “Ariel”, “Rocking Chair” , ” Shopping Bag Ladies”, “Woman Of Mine”, and many more, including a very Randy Newmanesque “Death To The Neighbours”.
Just heard the news about Guy Clark. Sad – fortunate enough to have seen him live. One of many artists who ‘soundtracked my life’, excuse the cliche. I guess no-one goes on for ever. He wrote so many classic songs and delivered them in his inimitable style. A true storyteller.
Guy starts at about 0:53 in the above clip
I just watched 5 minutes of Fleetwood Mac at this year’s IOW Festival. That was about 4 minute 40 sec too much. A tour (or two) too far I fear.
Shaky vocals, harmonies and timing – they looked like a bunch of skeletons that had been woken from the grave, dressed and pushed on stage – with the exception of the slightly more well-upholstered Ms Nicks, but she looked like an over made-up old aunt. What a bunch. Very scary – do not look at the stage!
I play in what is mainly a covers band called 4MoreInc based around Warwick, but which plays across the Midlands and further south. We have just released ‘Slave to The Moon’ – a 4 track EP of original material on CD and internet outlets. These include Spotify Free as well as Amazon, iTunes and others. The songs were all written by bassist Steve Clarke and arranged by the band. The rest of the line-up is Ellie Monkievitch vocals/keyboards, Ian ‘Hulk’ Hill on drums and myself on guitars and backing vocals. If you have a moment, I would be grateful if you could give us a listen. We also have a Facebook page,
Theatre Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University
I was offered the ticket by a friend who had been let down. Thank goodness I accepted! Rumer has a truly wonderful voice. Maybe she could be accused of not taking chances, because her phrasing and pitch is so measured. But just when you thought the music was veering too far into MOR territory, something soulful would come along or a rhythm would change and give it a kick. The show leaned heavily on her recent album “Into Colour” leavened with a Hall/Oates song she sang on “Daryll’s House” and variety of others including ‘Blackbird’. The six-piece backing band was sympathetic and thoroughly smooth and professional – unfair to pick one out, but the (frighteningly young-looking) drummer had as good a touch as I have heard in a long time. A perfect night – to try and fault it would be churlish.
Oldish in the main (and I mean old), a Radio 2 crowd, I suspect. One or two eccentrically dressed coves and the odd pony-tailed middle-aged man with a younger girlfriend.
It made me think..
Why isn’t Rumer playing bigger venues – she deserves to be heard, » Continue Reading.