This just in… the Linley Hamilton Quintet filmed for online dispersal in place of an audience at this year’s Limerick Jazz Festival. It’s sensational!
A surprisingly decent and atypical performance by Van – without horns, Hammond organ shuffle or Blues Brothers outfits.
There has, remarkably, been little coverage of this – locally let alone nationally. Live music was effectively banned in NI yesterday. In a licensed premises, it is no longer permitted to have: (a) dancing; (b) the provision of music, whether live or recorded, for dancing; or (c) live music.
Unless you are running live music in a church hall, that’s it – you’re finished. Ironically, this is more or less opposite to the Oliver Cromwell regime in the 1640s – the puritans banning music in churches but actually doing a lot to foster live opera (albeit, maybe not in the local boozer).
I started Scott’s Jazz Club in East Belfast this month with three pals – jazz piano pro Scott Flanigan, events organisation pro Karen Smyth and sound/lighting/film pro Cormac O’Kane – in the premises of a licensed Working Men’s Club That WM club benefited from table-service bar sales; tickets included food purchased by arrangement from a neighbouring restaurant, which obviously benefited that restaurant; and the ticket funds provided fees for a couple of sound/lighting guys plus both pay and, crucially, a now painfully rare public performance platform for professional players (bassist and drummer on week one, same bassist different » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Twelve songs, 47 minutes and an aura of magic. Northern lass Fay goes in search of the Otherworld – a place of strangeness, adventures, wistful pathways and sorrowing souls. A coherent, compelling sound world envelopes the album, with Fay’s rich voice supported by banjo (herself), guitar and harmonium (Rob Harbron), violin and viola (Sam Sweeney), double bass (Ben Nicholls) and jaw harp (Ewan MacPherson). Happily, not all at once, usually. On first listen, I felt that maybe there were one or two arrangements too many that featured the polyphony of strings and harmonium but on further listens – three in a row today, for instance, while grappling with various annoying tasks – it all clicked into place: it’s ALL ‘just right’.
Fay’s voice is reminiscent, to my ears, of the late Maggie Doyle in terms of her clear diction and a certain throatiness and of Norma Waterson, in the matriarchal depth and heft and the ‘northern’ twang; in places, a turn of phrase or an air of sadness brought to mind Anne Briggs, a singer of a very different sort. These are only loose pointers. Half of the songs are Fay’s own and of » Continue Reading.
Last week, myself and three friends – Cormac O’Kane (a pro recording studio wizard with extensive TV experience), Karen Smyth (a long-experienced events organiser) and Scott Flanigan (a pro piano jazz sensation, bandleader and recording artist) – opened a jazz club. In suburban East Belfast in a hitherto obscure (save to its members) Working Men’s Club. In the middle of a pandemic. And, remarkably, it was a roaring success. 🙂
It was the first of two trial sessions (the next is Thursday 24th) to see if we could run such a thing within government guidelines and to see if people would be interested. They certainly were – not only jazz fans, but locals simply wanting some live entertainment to go to. Seating was cabaret-style (using one third of the room’s capacity), patrons were asked not to move from the spaced tables save for ‘comfort breaks’, and everything was sanitised. A ‘risk assessment by a reasonable person’ had been carried out (as per guidelines). Food was built into the ticket price (supplied by a terrific Bangladeshi restaurant that had recently opened on the ground floor) and two waiters in masks dealt with drinks orders.
I had lived around the corner from » Continue Reading.
Folk/blues scenester, performer, club organiser, sometime broadcaster, former ‘Froots’ editor and personality Ian Anderson started a record label in Bristol in 1970. In this new podcast/cyber radio thing, he plays a track from everything the label released – 24 LPs and a few singles. My favourites from the label are Al Jones, Chris Thompson, Wizz Jones and a bit of Dave Evans. To my taste, you probably ‘had to be there’ for a couple of the other acts, but that matters not – hats off to Ian for making it happen in an era when independent labels were relatively rare. He had a decent hit rate, quality wise.
The link contains the pod / radio thing plus a few paragraphs of history on the venture and lots of LP sleeves and adverts.
I must listen to it myself…
I’m aware that there have been very few posts about the Thompmeister recently, so to address that, let me give the AW a heads up about a Fairport Convention docco on Sky Arts some time this weekend. Mrs H tells me Sky Arts is now ‘free’ for a period.
We’ve rarely seen him this ecstatic…
This is fascinating. Stick around for the presenter at the end – it’s hard to imagine a ‘more 70s’ image. It’s also hard to imagine it was ever a good image.
I haven’t seen last night’s BBC4 docco on mid-70s British popsters the Real Thing yet, but there can’t be many songs that celebrate them. Here’s one, from Vincent Harkin’s One More Great Adventure, in a gig I put on *just* before the apocalypse, on March 13th. The song is ‘Heatwave’, a memoir of the summer of ’76, and it starts around 14:40…
What does it sound like?:
The first thing that strikes you about this new 2CD live album from Colosseum, professionally recorded across several shows in early 1971, is how sensational it sounds. Vibrant, clear, sparkling, dynamic and alive. Mixing/mastering engineer Eroc (one Joachim Ehrig, a pro recording artist in bands and solo, as Eroc, from the 70s to the 90s, now a mastering maestro) has done an astounding job!
It’s a blistering performance, too. For those who don’t know much about Colosseum, their sound is – to my mind – part of a peculiarly British sort of jazz/rock blend, involving the likes of brass, Hammond and vibraphones, that thrived briefly for roughly a year either side of 1970. It’s a sound world that had its origins in the Graham Bond Organisation of the middle 60s – in which Colosseum mainstays Jon Hiseman (drums) and Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxes) both played – was influenced by the absurdist songwriting of Pete Brown with Jack Bruce in Cream, and that was developed by Jack Bruce’s ‘Songs for a Tailor’ (1969) album arrangements (again, featuring both Hiseman and DHS) and his 1971 touring band (which reunited him with Bond), by the Keef Hartley Band » Continue Reading.
I thought AWers might enjoy this half-hour broadcast by Kris K from back in the day, found on an inherited reel and just shared online. It was one of a series of half-hour single-artist shows produced by Frances Line (with future ‘Folk on 2’ man/ FL husband Jim Lloyd back-announcing this one) that year, usually going out on Saturday afternoons or Sunday evenings. Kris is a bit hung-over but it’s very relaxed session of pretty much his greatest hits… then and now.
I’ve had the pleasure recently of proofreading a debut novel by David O’Reilly, a fellow who runs two women’s football teams in Belfast, and whose day job (well, evening job) is being a radio personality with a pseudonym on an ‘indie guitar bands’ sort of show. I don’t know David, really – just a friend of a friend who asked for my services – but I was struck by how fantastic his book, ‘Lottie the Raven’, is, and I’d like to commend it to Afterworders.
It’s aimed at a teenage audience, being the story of a 14-year-old girl (a soccer prodigy who is ambivalent about whether she even likes the game, and who has other matters to deal with in the tale) in an under-18 team. Her dad – a single father – is a sort of Tom Bombadil figure, an effervescent, almost absurd character with a thread of profundity under the surface, who used to be a Premier League player until mysteriously leaving the game.
Even though it’s aimed at teenagers, I found it a page turner (I would have kept turning even had I not been hired to do so!) with drama, humour, pathos and heart. I know » Continue Reading.
Legendary uilleann piper, music collector, storyteller, broadcaster, loner and enigma Séamus Ennis (1919-82) made only two albums in the Swinging Sixties, one at either end. The one from 1969 has never been reissued in the CD or download era (the original label was bought by a man who disliked the digital medium). Can we let this lack of access to the man’s finest 40 minute snapshot continue? Of course not! I’ve digitised the album this afternoon. Below is an extract from ‘The Wheels of the World’ (Jawbone Press, 2015) about it. Set aside that amount of time, make a cup of tea and listen to one of the greats in what is more or less a podcast from 50 years ago… 🙂
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Barring his by-default appearance on one of the torrent of 1964 Newport Festival live albums, Séamus Ennis managed to traverse the 1960s – between 1961’s Ceol, Scéalta Agus Amhráin and 1969 – without enhancing his discography. It might have been otherwise. In February 1968, a former BBC colleague, H. Rooney Pelletier, newly appointed General Manager of BBC Radio Enterprises, wrote to Séamus offering to release an LP culled from his 1958 piping session for the » Continue Reading.
Dyble Longdon Announce Release of Between A Breath And A Breath
Release date 25th September 2020
9th July 2020: Dyble Longdon is a collaboration between iconic vocalist Judy Dyble (ex Fairport Convention, Trader Horne) and Huge Big Train songwriter and frontman David Longdon. They release their highly anticipated album Between A Breath And A Breath on 25th September. The CD edition is released on English Electric, distributed by RSK, and the gatefold vinyl edition is released on the Plane Groovy label.
You can pre-order the album here: https://burningshed.com/tag/Dyble+Longdon
The album contains seven original compositions with all lyrics by Judy Dyble and music and production by David Longdon. The songs are, at times, haunting and, at others, beautifully fragile. This collaboration with David Longdon is something Judy Dyble has hoped for for some time. “I first heard David sing with Big Big Train at King’s Place in London 2015 and immediately decided that I really wanted to sing with him someday. And here we are with a collaborative album, which I think is wonderful!” she said.
David Longdon added: “Judy asked if I would like to work with her. She sent me some great lyrics which inspired the music » Continue Reading.
The mighty Stonefish recorded three EPs in Belfast in 1995-96, two of which escaped at that time, one of which didn’t before the cauldronesque trio of pur molten rock imploded into a cosmic singularity under the sheer weight of their own superbity.
Apparently, an outdoor show I organised at Clarendon Dock, Belfast in early 1997 was their last hurrah. I found three B&W snaps from it recently – almost the only Stonefish pics from back in the day there are…
At last, Norm, Phil and Bob have had the 12 track monster remastered and (as of today) made available on Spotify, Apple, YouTube, Bandcamp etc. I’ve purchased one already. I commend it to one and all.
No one was more enthusiastic about second-division British blues boomers than Mojo Working, our former alumnus. I keep hoping he’ll come back – one of the AW Greats! This vintage Shack was just posted today:
…but not the Mahavishnu Orchestra line-up you might expect. 😀 Here are John McLaughlin, Ralphe Armstrong (bass) and Narada Michael Walden (drums/vocals) from the very last MO – the one that toured Europe with Wishbone Ash in August 1975, calling it a day somewhere near Detroit in November that year. Only Stu Goldberg from that relatively forgotten quartet – which saw out 1975 after a mighty 11-piece version of MO toured Europe in Jan-Feb 1975 and a funky 9-piece version toured the US from April-June 1975 – is missing here. In his place, we have Cindy Blackman and Carlos Santana.
Set aside your suspicions that this will be a fusion apocalypse – it’s cosmic soul!
No, the Mahavishnu isn’t depressed – he’s just posted a sensational remote jam with his band mates 😀
A bit of back-porch social commentary…
This kind of nickname construction – anticipating part of a surname with an abbreviation of it – has always annoyed me. I cringe at it. Anyone else? No doubt there are many other examples of it…
This has to be a contender: ‘Bittern Storm Over Ulm’ by Henry Cow…
This is some kind of spin-off / second-cousin to Francis Kane O’Cathain’s forthcoming Otherish project, which I wrote about here: https://theafterword.co.uk/otherish/
Many of the same people seem to be involved, though I understand it’s a distinct beast. It’s a charity single out tomorrow. I’ll post a link to a selling mechanism when one is available. Meanwhile/alternatively, give it a spin. I think it’s splendid.