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June 2017

Cover Story: (2) Don't Think Twice It's All Right. Dylan vs Baez

Driving in stifling Mediterranean heat of 33 degrees, the steering wheel and seat burning because the car had been left outside, is perhaps not the best way to listen to any music.

But that is when I put on one of many Bob Dylan versions of my favourite song of his, Don't Think Twice It's All Right. It quickly confirmed by unshakeable though, I know, contentious belief that the best singer of this song is, as it always has been, Joan Baez.

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Cover Story: (1) Ed Sheeran's Galway Girl vs Steve Earle (with Sharon Shannon)

Another Salut! Live series. I have no idea how it will develop but let's get it started anyway ...

Driving in France, I heard a song on RTL2 that was called Galway Girl before I knew that it was sung by Ed Sheeran. My first reaction was indeed reactionary, along the lines of "I know a much better song called Galway Girl than that!".

I was, of course, thinking of Steve Earle, whose effort is best heard when accompanied by Sharon Shannon and assorted musical pals.

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Who Knows Where The Time Went?

June 2017 update: this tribute piece to a great song by an even greater departed heroine of folk and folk-rock, Sandy Denny, first appeared nine years ago when I was living in Abu Dhabi. Some of the versions mentioned in my introduction have disappeared, because the links went dead, but others - Nanci Griffith, Rufus Wainwright, 10,000 Maniacs - have been added. See Comments, too: I never got round to acting on Tom Bliss's request but will try to do so in due course (another nine years?). Meanwhile, my thanks to Ross Anderson for alerting me to a tremendous BBC Soul Music mini-documentary on the song, quoting Sandy, Judy Collins, Rufus, Sandy's biographer Mick Houghton, Simon Nicol and several others. There's a link in the footnote ...

...well, I'd like to know what happened to the time that has elapsed since I agreed to an acquaintance's request to compile for him a cassette - that dates it already - of versions of Sandy Denny's spellbinding Who Knows Where The Time Goes?, his favourite song.

It began with good intentions on my part. As a reviewer of folk albums, I already had several renditions - quite a few different ones recorded by Sandy, come to that - and you can be sure that more have reached me since.

But I never quite got round to it. I am not sure exactly how many years have passed since my undertaking to prepare the tape. But with thanks to YouTube subscribers and apologies to Julian, the husband of one of my wife's then colleagues, here at least is a start.

A search for the song produces the good, the not so good and the downright ugly. I came across some assaults on the ear that were simply so gruesome that it would be unkind to everyone concerned to expose them to Salut! Live's small but probably quite discerning audience.

A frustrating feature of where I live (the UAE) is that when using the internet away from my place of work, I am handicapped by restricted access to certain sites. I have no reason to fear that Salut! Live is other than entirely innocent, likewise my other sites (Salut!, Salut! North and Salut! Sunderland). But I gather from Typepad that there is some problem here concerning - presumably - all the sites it hosts.

The upshot is that I cannot properly view the clips I have located from YouTube, except via a not very practical preview function. I know that Sandy is there two or three times, including a BBC interview in which the song is also heard.

You will also hear Kate Rusby, Mary Black, Judy Collins, Richard Thompson, Eva Cassidy, Nina Simone, the Sullen Kinks, Kate Wolf, John Kirkpatrick, Justin Bond, Lisa Lavery, Chris While

Feel free to commend other versions to me, or to comment on those I present here in an attempt to ease my guilty conscience. And sorry again, Julian, I still haven't got round to making a tape.

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As Vin Garbutt is laid to rest, let Kate Rusby lead the tributes ...


Since the rotten news of Vin Garbutt's death, I have seen countless photos, video clips and verbal tributes. Among them all, what you see above speaks volumes for me since it couples two of the people from English folk that I most treasure, Vin with Kate Rusby.

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The Waterboys' Steve Wickham: from legendary fiddling to dark French sisters of love

Steve wickham - 1

Let me credit the CD's sleeve painting: Georgia Cox from Bath: visit her site

Steve Wickham: Beekeeper

After an utterly grim stream of news from home - from the London Bridge terrorist attack to the death of Vin Garbutt and now the appalling loss of life in the Grenfell Tower fire - it was as much a soothing relief as a joy to drive along the French Mediterranean coast and listen to Steve Wickham's album, Beekeeper.

This coastline knows its own trauma, of course. Nowhere is really safe from the threat of natural or unnatural disaster. Just for now, it feels peaceful and serene ahead of next month's invasion, one that transforms the population of my own little town from 6,000 to much more than 100,000.

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Two John Norths: Vin Garbutt as remembered by Mike Amos

I make no apology for returning to Vin Garbutt, the magnificent and much-loved Teesside singer, songwriter and storyteller who died last week aged 69. Vin's widow Pat and the rest of the family have announced that the funeral will take place at Middlesbrough Cathedral, Coulby Newham, on Friday at noon, after which Vin will be laid to rest at Eston Cemetery. It is to my immense regret, having heard the recent BBC Tees interview with Vin (see below), that I while I knew he had previously been unwell, I was unaware of his recent major surgery and therefore not prompted - as were many - to renew contact with a man I had known, albeit mostly at long distance, for most of my life.
My own little tribute appears here and I am grateful that many more people than usually visit the pages of Salut! Live have seen it.
My friend, former colleague and journalistic mentor Mike Amos, an award-winning if now semi-retired columnist for The Northern Echo knew Vin well. One of Mike's regular features was John North, a beautifully written daily look at North-eastern people and ways; the clip you see above is how Vin, in his own way with his song The Land of Three Rivers (John North), also captured the region's essence. Features Mike has written about Vin in the past appear to have fallen off that part of the world that is the Echo website.
But this is from Mike's own site, Grass Routes (well worth a read for anyone interested in the people of the North East: it calls itself "thumbs-up journey with North-east football folk" but is actually much more than that). It was published on the day of Vin's death, June 6 ...

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