On Leon Rosselson’s most recent album,Where Are The Barricades?, we encounter a cluster of usual suspects, old, older and new: rotten bankers, corporate raiders, uncaring politicians, plundering national heroes (take a bow, Sir Francis Drake) and an Israeli policy towards Gaza that is not the Holocaust but brings shame and disgrace on the descendants of those who suffered in it.
And we also meet Karl Marx, Cockney equivalents of Ken Loach’s Daniel Blake and people who struggle and not always with success to stay alive, most poignantly two children killed by brutes in different uniforms, one in Nazi-occupied Vilnius, the other in Palestine.
But this is not only Rosselson's latest album, full of the clever, challenging wordplay that for many years allowed me to write approvingly of his work for, of all papers, The Daily Telegraph. It is also his last. At 82, he no longer has the energy or, in the face of new technology, will to record any more.
Must be New Guitar effect. My wife Joelle bought me a Yamaha for our anniversary (45th for heaven's sake) and I am newly enthused about music. My friend Joan Dawson warned me to expect sore fingertips for a few weeks before they hardened again and she was right.
Very sad to hear of the death, albeit at 82, of Leonard Cohen.
Many of his songs made an impact on me, though I have never been a great fan of Hallelujah, less because of the song than because of what it has been turned into. Give me One of Us Must Know, Suzanne, So Long Marianne and Famous Blue Raincoat among many others.
But above all, I think this morning of Maid of Orleans and his super, haunting duet with Jennifer Warnes.
An e-mail with word of a new song arrived today from Ed Pickford, an outstanding North-eastern writer (Pound A Week Rise, One Miner’s Life, Ah Cud Hew and the especially powerful Farewell Johnny Miner are merely examples of his early work).
Ed has weighed in on The Battle of Orgreave and the Government's shameful decision to rule out any sort of inquiry into the events of June 18 in the year, aptly, 1984, when police fought miners during the pit strike during a mass picket in South Yorkshire.
It was only a matter of time before Salut! Live's Song of the Day series reached Christy Moore. Today's the day ...
Salut! Live readers with long memories, and readers of The Daily Telegraph with even longer ones, will know of my "sleeping with Christy Moore" confessions.
My story was topped the other day when the American harper Bonnie Shaljean, who lives in Ireland, added this comment to a threat at Mudcat after talking to the Irish singer Packie Byrne about the rotten news that Mike Waterson had died:
Packie ... reminisced about some of his early memories of the Watersons, whom he first met in the mid or late 60s. During one festival they were all being put up in the same house. Not only the same house, but the same BED, as it turned out. For years afterwards Packie boasted about how he had "slept with the Watersons" and there were those who added up two and two and got five.
Everyone who enters the Gecko Bar seems to know someone who is already there or, because they own or work in it, can usually be found there.
The rapport between musicians and regulars is tangible, partly because the musicians are also regulars. The Gecko is leading the way in keeping music alive, live music alive, in the pleasant but somewhat sleepy Riviera resort of Le Lavandou, midway between Toulon and Saint-Tropez and also midway between Marseille and Nice.
How to catch up on the death of a deservedly revered figure of the British folk scene when it occurred on March 26 and we're now at April 13.
That was the test I set myself.
So I had a quick look around my huge collection of old CDs, incongruously stacked on shelving in the garage, and came up with two sent to me long ago by record companies or agents promoting John's work in days when I was The Daily Telegraph's folk critic.