Cover story

Cover Story: (19) Beeswing - Christy Moore or Richard Thompson

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Can Salut! Live's Cover Story series stagger back into life? It can.

Apologies for the dearth of updates. I have been on holiday in Corsica - massively recommended - and trying to earn a living (not recommended).

Today, I turn to a song that has been haunting me for days. On the garage shelves where I keep hundreds of CDs, I came across Christy Moore's album, Burning Times. He's made better, but some tracks stand out. I'd nominate Magdalen Laundries, Hattie Carroll and, yes, Beeswing. I've been playing it over and again, ignoring iTunes's insulting attempt to categorise it as country and western.

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Cover Story: (18) Sheepcrook and Black Dog. Steeleye Span or Offa Rex

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Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/poptech/10468763423/

Never let it be said that Salut! Live is stuck in the past. Why, I'm even aware of the fuss Jethro Tull are causing.

But yes, it is important to look at artists much younger than those we saw as young 'uns ourselves back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. It is an especially enjoyable pursuit when fresh talent takes a new look at the same material our older heroes performed.

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Cover Story: (17) Reconciliation. Ron Kavana, Dick Gaughan, the Cottars or Voice Squad

Long, long ago, I drank cup after cup of tea in the home of a charming woman, influential in a highly sensitive area of what she called the north of Ireland and the maps identify as Northern Ireland. We discussed burning issues affecting her troubled land.

I had a reason for being there which even now might be inappropriate and perhaps unsafe to explain. In order to bring to wider attention a grievance (with the authorities) that she was eager to expose, I needed - as a reporter representing a fair, as it was then, but conservative newspaper - to be sure in my own mind that she was personally hostile to terrorism.

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Cover Story: (16) Girl From The North Country. Altan or Bob Dylan - a close-run thing

Forget the striking melodic similarities with Boots of Spanish Leather, Bob Dylan's Girl From The North Country is a great song. But the same debate arises: is Dylan/s version better than an Irish interpretation? The song has a tangled history. An English folk legend, Martin Carthy, was hugely influential in Dylan's composition of the song after the latter's first visit to London in 1962. Wikipedia says a little coyly that Dylan "drew upon for aspects of the melody and lyric's arrangement" on the English traditional Scarborough Fair to the extent of including the concluding line of the chorus, "Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine". All of which has echoes of Carthy's protracted but eventually resolved grudge against Paul Simon over the Simon and Garfunkel hit Scarborough Fair.

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Cover Story: (15) The Queen and the Soldier. Suzanne Vega or Kathryn Roberts and Kate Rusby

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Can, for once, a draw be called?
I have already said Cover Story is not intended as a series of duels. It is merely a vehicle for alerting Salut! Live readers to - or, more likely - reminding them of the options music offers, the different versions of the same songs, though personal preferences are inevitable.

I have always admired The Queen and the Soldier, a long anti-war ballad written by Suzanne Vega, but had until a few hours ago heard only the version by Kate Rusby and Kathryn Roberts on their eponymous 1995 recording that I made my album of the decade back when reviewing folk music for The Daily Telegraph. Roberts is the dominant voice on this track but Rusby - for once in the background - adds exquisite harmonies.

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Cover Story: (14) Galway to Graceland. Richard Thompson or Eleanor Shanley


Here is one more entry to the growing body of work that is Salut! Live's Cover Story series, comparing and inviting comment on different versions of different songs ... I am open to suggestions for, and contributions to, the series

Once the wildfires had abated, Huguette repeated the invitation to her gorgeous rambling villa in Bormes-les-Mimosas for apéritifs. The damage to trees worryingly close to her home was severe; it was no wonder she had spent a sleepless night.

Approaching the house, we were aware of the sound of Elvis. And then more Elvis. Huguette adores him and was playing track after track, from YouTube, on her laptop.

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