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When I previewed, reviewed and otherwise wrote on folk music and its various offshoots for The Daily Telegraph - I worked there for 29 years, mainly on news, without ever inhaling - my admiration for the work of Leon Rosselson was well known. It was even tolerated. The arts desk was quite flexible in any case but one of my devices was to praise his supreme wordcraft while injecting the occasional raised eyebrow at the subversive sentiments found therein. To me, I suppose, he was a great poet who happened to put his poetry to music.
Rosselson and I have occasional e-mail banter to this day. He sent this article to me with the typically challenging thought that I would be unlikely to agree with him on the case he advances - namely that to describe a song as poetry, far from being a compliment, is as insulting as it gets. What follows is a carefully argued but, in parts, hugely critical polemic that calls into question the value of all Leonard Cohen's work and some of Dylan's. Maybe I should stop practising their songs on my new guitar. I won't - but I may come back with a response to Rosselson's arguments ...
The younger Tony B in more familiar guise: credit BBC
He irritates some, amuses or entertains others. I did see him once, deejaying at an old cinema in Ealing that's now a Christian centre. Whatever thoughts I've had about him (he does what he does and seems to do it well enough), I never had him down as a lapsed folkie. Learn about Tony Blackburn and the Swinging Bells, courtesy of this report of the BBC Folk Awards, which he presented ...l
Presenting Al Stewart with a lifetime achievement honour in BBC Radio 2's annual folk awards this week, Tony Blackburn made the startling announcement - confession? - that he is a recovering folkie.
His choice of occasion to "come out" was apt. It was with Stewart that he performed briefly in Tony Blackburn and the Swinging Bells. The name would surely have been enough to put him off, as it would have done me.
But no. "He was a wonderful guitarist except that he was so loud that he drowned out my voice totally," the DJ said. "[But he] seems to have forgotten I was the one who gave him his chance".
The caption at Flickr reads: Enmore Theatre lorry - free Christmas cake to each child, Sat. matinee 24 Dec 1938 / by Sam Hood
If I have been known to use the term, please be assured it was with light-hearted intent.
Stop Press: please see an update in the footnote*
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.
... whether you call here often or have strayed into the site from Salut!, Salut! Sunderland or Salut! North. Warm festive greetings from Colin Randall - seen on Santa duty at his granddaughter's nursery - and his occasional contributor, Pete Sixsmith, below.
Salut! Live readers with memories will know that after several years as a member of the voting panel, I excluded myself from this year's BBC Folk Awards process. So anything that follows will have an even bolder mark of objectivity ... apologies for relying earlier on the BBC press release, minor grammatical lapses and all. I was a bit stretched over at Salut! Sunderland ...
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When I was a much younger folkie, we knew where we stood on Donovan. Hummable, singable pop, maybe, but not Dylan and not folk in a million years.
Attitudes - rightly, I would say - have changed.
And while I can hardly claim to have been hugely familiar with Donovan's work since the days of Catch the Wind and Mellow Yellow - which, secretly of course, I liked even then - I do know that he has beavered away in commendable fashion for 40+ years and therefore deserves his Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at last night's ceremony.