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February 2009

Potted Ed

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE BBC FOLK AWARDS


Book_cover


Well, you've had the substance of the Salut! Live interviews with Ed Pickford. He has turned out, much as expected, to be an absorbing, intelligent and thought-provoking subject and I am grateful for the kind comments that have appeared at Mudcat about this short series.
It could go on for some time to come. Each e-mail exchange produces a new torrent of thoughts, opinions and snippets. And not all of them have anything to do with Sunderland AFC. But let us conclude with the traditional Salut! Live bonus track: in Potted Ed, our interviewee is asked to take my start of each sentence and complete it (with anything from a short phrase to a couple of sentences)......



The best thing to happen in my lifetime....
is the internet and being able to use computers for my creative work and communication; this is an example.

What has made me most angry has been...
the repeated mistakes of the past where greed cares not for need [the first line of a song I am writing].....


Continue reading "Potted Ed" »


Chris Wood double at the BBC Folk Awards 2009

Cwduo


Chris Wood scored a notable double in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for 2009, collecting both Best Singer and, for Trespasser, best album titles.
All the winners are offered warmest congratulations by Salut! Live. Highlights of the awards evening (held last night) will be broadcast on the Mike Harding show on Radio 2 tomorrow evening, Wed Feb 4, at 7pm UK time. The full list of winners is:


FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR

Chris Wood

ALSO NOMINATED

Eliza Carthy

Julie Fowlis

Karine Polwart


BEST DUO

Chris While & Julie Matthews

ALSO NOMINATED

Bob Fox & Stu Luckley

Megson

Spiers & Boden

BEST GROUP

Lau

ALSO NOMINATED

Bellowhead

Faustus


Mawkin:Causley


ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Trespasser – Chris Wood

ALSO NOMINATED

Dreams of Breathing Underwater – Eliza Carthy

Low Culture – Jim Moray

This Earthly Spell – Karine Polwart


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

All You Pretty Girls – Andy Partridge (performed by Jim Moray)

ALSO NOMINATED

Come Down Jehovah – Chris Wood (performed by Chris Wood)

Mr Magnifico – Eliza Carthy/Ben Ivitsky (performed by Eliza Carthy)

The Cottager’s Reply – Frank Mansell/Chris Wood (performed by Chris Wood)

BEST TRADITIONAL TRACK

The Lark in the Morning – Jackie Oates

ALSO NOMINATED

Fakenham Fair – Bellowhead

Lucy Wan – Jim Moray

The Lady of York – Chris Wood


HORIZON AWARD

Jackie Oates

ALSO NOMINATED

Bella Hardy

Jeana Leslie & Siobhan Miller

The Shee

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR

Tom McConville

ALSO NOMINATED

John McCusker

Martin Simpson

Phil Beer

BEST LIVE ACT

The Demon Barbers

ALSO NOMINATED

Bellowhead

Lau

Seth Lakeman


LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

James Taylor

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Judy Collins

FOLK CLUB OF THE YEAR

The Black Swan Folk Club, York


The big interview: Ed Pickford (2)


So we already know that Ed Pickford has a passion for songwriting, and that this passion somehow grew stronger still after he learnt that he had a life-threatening disease. When he complained to me that painting and decorating chores were getting in the way of valuable songwriting time, he was clearly only half joking.
Last night, even at a distance of 3,600 miles, as we both turned off our TVs in disgust, I imagined him sitting down to write a song about the eccentric refereeing that robbed our team, Sunderland, of its first double over Newcastle in three or four hundred years.
Webb's Blunder came to mind as a title, or maybe Howard's Way (of helping distressed Mags). Of course, we both knew that we didn't actually deserve to win, but that's not the point.
But before I am accused of veering off into territory that belongs at Salut! Sunderland, let me pass on a great story Ed had given me during electronic exchanges earlier in the day:
"How will we view the match in 20 hours time?" wrote "nervous of Roker" (the
nom de guerre he chose for himself). "After Newcastle were beaten by Hereford in the FA Cup years ago, I wrote a quick song called A Young Magpie Cut Down in his Prime [Young Sailor Cut Down in his Prime, The Dying Cowboy etc] and sang it to my old friend Jim Sharp, not realising the depth of love he had for NUFC. I don't think he has ever forgiven me."
In fact, Ed has told me many things over the past few days, much of it outside the confines of our interview. But I should return for now to the format I devised at the outset and resume our Q&A, adding only the postscript in which he deals with my concerned inquiry about his health in a way that develops into a fascinating discussion on how his songs are used, and how they may be remembered.


This has been a tremendous project for Salut! Live, and there is more to come. Return a day or so from now for the last chapter - a sort of Potted Ed in which he restricts his replies to a few words completing sentences offered by me.....:

.....the interview resumes:


(Before leaving the story of the Northern Front), let me ask this: lots of arguments arise in these cases about whether the sum of the parts equals, exceeds or falls short of the whole.... what was your assessment?

The Northern Front were three individuals with performing personalities ... plenty of energy. The “music” stopped for me when, in a very short time, it did not inspire me to write anything. It was great for Michael because he could practise his performing skills but I wasn’t bothered about “performing”; I always need – still do – to be working out a new musical problem. I then give what I’ve done to others. If that doesn’t get the material performed then I do it myself.
Once a month in Jesmond a group of musicians meet and – although I would not describe myself as a musician – the place provides a platform for new material. If I haven’t got anything new it’s not as much fun for me – I don’t want to sing Ah Cud Hew 999 times.

Continue reading "The big interview: Ed Pickford (2)" »


Ed Pickford: the big interview (1)

Farewell Durham, Yorkshire too
Nottingham the same to you
Scotland, South Wales say "Adieu"
Farewell Johnny Miner



With the four-line chorus quoted above, and the verses either side of it, Ed Pickford summed up in the starkest terms the impact of "rationalisation" and "reorganisation" of the British coalfield on the men who worked in it.

Sung (above) by George Welch, Farewell Johnny Miner is only one of many great songs of working class struggles and concerns written by Ed (seen performing in the second of the YouTube clips). And it is high time Salut! Live recognised his contribution to what might be called English protest music, since the battles and sufferings of ordinary men and women have inspired some of the noblest additions to the folk tradition.

What follows was prompted by the determination of a York academic to have the man and his work acknowledged. The format of the interview allows Ed, in his own words, to tell the story of the life and times of a songwriter who has dedicated much of his artistic effort to championing the miners - and many more besides.

Continue reading "Ed Pickford: the big interview (1)" »