Salut! History

Leon Rosselson: me, Brassens and the Last Chance, touching on Brel, Sylvestre and (always last) Ferré

Ferre brel brassens - 1

My elder daughter and a friend stayed with us at the weekend in France. Noticing the print (above) that adorns the living room wall, the famous one showing Jacques Brel, Leo Ferré (for once not last) and Georges Brassens, she mentioned that as part of her modern languages degree, she wrote a thesis on Chanson française. Brel, I have been told, had a flat in the little French seaside town, Le Lavandou, where we spend part of the year. The conversation reminded me of an engaging article sent to me by Leon Rosselson, perhaps as close as most get to purveying Chanson anglaise (and with a sharp political edge). It has appeared elswehere ( and see Rosselson's own footnote about Rock’n’Reel. But I have his encouragement to reproduce it for Salut! Live readers. For more of what has been published here about or by Leon Rosselson, this link should bring up a few items ...

Continue reading "Leon Rosselson: me, Brassens and the Last Chance, touching on Brel, Sylvestre and (always last) Ferré " »

Folk meets academia

Tom Walton and friends performing at the Florida Folk Festival: White Springs, Florida

Way, way back - well, all the way to 2000 - I was able to visit Newcastle University to write about its folk music course. The key contact was Richard Middleton, listed to this day as emeritus professor of music. Work and family obligations make this a difficult time to update the site but, in recognition of the hugely appreciated upsurge of interest in its output, I offer this further blast from the past ...

Continue reading "Folk meets academia" »

Folk free: Herman's Hermits, Tom Courtenay and an ode to Mrs Brown's Daughter


Does the fact that Sunderland supporters adapted the first big Herman's Hermit hit,  I'm Into Something Good, make it - and the band - part of the folk tradition? You're right, it does not.
Bill Taylor - I must be quick to shift the blame and that's him above - admitted this was an 'audacious/outrageous new submission'. It didn't stop him submitting it ... but stand by for a more interesting read than you thought possible on the subject of another of their hits, Mrs Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter, and its origins. And to illustrate why I am no good at pub quizzes, if asked who had the hit, I'd have got it completely wrong and replied Joe Brown and the Bruvvers. Well, there could be innocent explanations for him singing such praises of a girl also called Brown ...

Continue reading " Folk free: Herman's Hermits, Tom Courtenay and an ode to Mrs Brown's Daughter" »

Men of the North: Johnny Handle and a classic song from Ed Pickford

Every so often, the e-mail account opens to a message from Ed Pickford, known as a songwriter of the highest order to anyone of my generation from the North East who liked folk music.

He sang solo, and way back with the Northern Front, and can be said to have contributed massively to the cultural landscape of the region; he also supports Sunderland AFC, which endears him to me all the more

Continue reading "Men of the North: Johnny Handle and a classic song from Ed Pickford" »

Swarb on the road, 14 years after that Daily Telegraph obituary

What you see above is some rare old Fairport Convention footage in which Dave Swarbrick sings the song he chose for Salut! Live's 'Song of the Day' series 18 months ago ...

Two early chances arise to sit back and enjoy the superb music of Dave Swarbrick, the outstanding fiddler renowned for his work with Martin Carthy, his many years as a member of Fairport Convention and his ability to survive a collision that is usually fatal, being featured on the obituaries page of The Daily Telegraph.

Continue reading "Swarb on the road, 14 years after that Daily Telegraph obituary" »

Sandy Denny, Fotheringay and the album that refused to stay buried

Fother1Image: Linda Fitzgerald-Moore
One of the most memorable live experiences I have ever known came at the Cropredy festival in 2007, when the sublime Chris While took Sandy Denny's place in what was otherwise the Fairport Convention line-up that recorded Liege and Lief; nearly four decades on, track by track, they re-created that gloriously influential album. If that event took some of us back to the end of the 1960s, what of the tremendous project, pursued by Jerry Donahue, to ensure that a subsequent step in Sandy's career - the second, abandoned album by Fotheringay - was not lost for ever in record label archives? This article, from The National* (published in Abu Dhabi), tells the story - and, don't forget, for a mainstream readership - of Jerry's determined campaign to salvage a priceless gem of the British folk-rock era....

Thirty years have passed since Sandy Denny, a young woman with the voice of an angel but a taste for hard living, suffered a brain haemorrhage while staying with a friend in London. Just 31, she slipped into a coma and died.

She left a young daughter, large numbers of adoring fans and a fair body of recorded work that was to trickle out in various forms over the next three decades.

To coincide with this year’s anniversary of her death, the BBC produced a radio documentary named in part after her most famous song, Who Knows Where The Time Goes? The project echoed a recent explosion of interest in the singer far in excess of the attention she commanded when alive.

And just when it seemed there could surely be nothing more to say or hear, that every radio and television library, record label archive and attic had been combed for material to satisfy the fascination with her life and work, another Sandy Denny album has surfaced.

The story of Fotheringay’s 2, the follow-up record that took 38 years to complete and release, is an extraordinary one. Who, indeed, knows where the time went?

Continue reading "Sandy Denny, Fotheringay and the album that refused to stay buried" »