Musings on the byways of popular culture
07/12/2020 by Colin H 18 Comments
Colin H says
07/12/2020 at 15:52
Another post where the text & video didn’t take… Here it is:
I recently asked the great Sarah McQuaid to record a very rare Bert Jansch Christmas song, known from only one audience recording from a show in 2011. My pal Mark Stratford very, very generously created this wonderful video for the song using some phone clips of Sarah recording plus footage of an Oxfordshire garden in winter and his own clips of Christmas in his own village, and a bit of digital wizardry. Marvellous stuff! Thank you Sarah and Mark. 🙂
07/12/2020 at 20:52
In a parallel universe, this is the Christmas number one…
08/12/2020 at 06:19
It would be nice, wouldn’t it? Sigh.
07/12/2020 at 21:28
07/12/2020 at 22:26
Nice work, Colin.
It’s a lovely song and she really does it justice. All so very restrained and under-stated.
And what a gorgeous, sensual, idiosyncratic voice she has. One reviewer on Spotify likened it to a mug of hot chocolate.
I believe in miracles since she came along…
07/12/2020 at 23:46
Wow! Sarah will be happy indeed 😀
I don’t know if it was the last song Bert Jansch ever wrote, but as far as I can tell it was the last ‘new’ song he debuted in public, existing on one audience recording from a show in Virginia in April (!) 2011. It feels a little like a message he pushed out in a bottle on the sea, and ten years later Sarah found it. And it’s a beautiful message.
08/12/2020 at 06:21
Yes! A beautiful message indeed.
Wow! Thank you SO MUCH for those kind words! New live album and lots of new video content coming very soon — If you’d like to be kept apprised, do sign up to my newsletter mailing list at http://www.sarahmcquaid.com — I only send a few newsletters a year so you won’t be bombarded!
08/12/2020 at 06:24
Hope you all like it! I do hope to put it on an album in a future year – and in the meantime I have a live album coming out next year, along with a concert’s worth of new videos. If you’d like to be added to my newsletter mailing list to be notified when that happens, sign up at http://www.sarahmcquaid.com — I only send a few newsletters a year so you won’t be bombarded!
08/12/2020 at 07:52
You really try and upload it onto Spotify. Then it can hopefully start appearing on Xmas playlists.
And from there it will hopefully start to snowball!
Ron Sexsmith’s Maybe this Xmas started as a two minute song written for a Yuletide compilation.
Now it’s a Xmas classic.
08/12/2020 at 09:50
I’m not sure, Fatz. The essence of the project is this: (a) it’s a Christmas gift to Bert fans from me (in the sense that I commissioned Sarah’s recording); (b) it was a very small gesture (financially) to a locked-down pro musician and two associates, Roger and Martin, to do something creative and positive in their enforced time off the road. And the positive energy that Sarah put in to the project was amazing – far outstripping the modest £ gesture involved! Similarly, Mark Stratford – former MD of the RPM reissue label – put terrific effort and goodwill into creating a zero-budget video. Much as I might want people to hear Sarah’s performance far and wide, it feels wrong to put the audio out on commercial platforms. And yes, I know YouTube falls into that category – but the potential income generated for the copyright holder will be even less that the ridiculous 0.00029 pence per play on Spotify. So it’s meaningless, really. I have no idea if the BJ estate has registered this song – or the handful of other never commercially issued songs by Bert (at least four of which are hearable in YouTube performances by other people) – with PRS. If it does register those songs, it can pick up the YouTube pennies.
12/12/2020 at 10:22
08/12/2020 at 09:27
That’s really rather wonderful.
Thank you!! ❤️
09/12/2020 at 22:55
If you were wondering what ‘Shine Your Light’ sounded like when Bert played it, on guitar, wonder no more… Here’s Jon Riley playing it in a medley with ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, which Bert recorded as a single in 1974. Jon transcribed ‘SYL’ from the sole known live recording and has adapted it only slightly here:
12/12/2020 at 13:47
Lovely understated performance – those piano chord changes are beautiful.
12/12/2020 at 16:28
Alf Cole performing ‘Shine Your Light’, posted today. Three covers in a week – an amazing achievement for a song that barely existed. Alf has also figured out and performed four other ‘unreleased’ Jansch songs – ‘Speak of the Devil’ (performed on radio a couple of times in 1970) and three bluesy numbers known from audience recordings in 2010.
Shine Your Light’, known from a sole audience recording in April 2011, may perhaps have been the last song Bert wrote – certainly, it’s the last ‘new’ song he played in public, as far as I can tell. In what I believe to be his last BBC interview, with Lauren Laverne in June 2011, it was mentioned that the Pentangle were working on new material, so maybe there were other pieces of original music in progress at that time. Still, if it does turn out to be his last message to the world, it’s a good one – ‘Shine your light, forever and a day’.
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