November 2017 update: as I browse the extensive Salut! Live archive for gems from the past to share with a (slightly) expanding audience, live reviews are not obvious choices. I make an exception for Eddi Reader and this corker of a review, by my great friend Pete Sixsmith, of the night he saw her in Durham. Eddi is one of many outstanding artists who were initally and inexcusably omitted from my recent spot of fun with Best Females Singers.
Eddi herself tweeted various names to me: Annie Briggs, Sandy Denny, "the lassies Unthank", Liz Fraser, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Anita O’Day, Siobhan Miller, Amy Winehouse. "Joanna Carlin, also known as Melanie Harold, my personal folk hero", Rachel Sermanni, Bonnie Raitt, Judee Sill and Linda Ronstadt ("Stone Poneys era"). Sandy Denny and one of "the lassies Unthank", Rachel, did head my two main lists and I have also found room for Amy Winehouse (and, belatedly, Eddi). When I told Eddi I had fond memories of her appearance at the Union Chapel in North London - "one of the best gigs I have ever attended" - some years ago, her reply was a classic: "I'm better now."
So here, from Easter 2011, is Pete Sixsmith's review. It passes the test of time with flying colours ...
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.
Geoff Lakeman entered my life 44 years ago. Newly moved down to London from the North East, I attended for the first time the excellent Herga folk club that John Heydon ran at the Royal Oak in Wealdstone.
At some stage once we became acquainted, I mentioned to Geoff that I was chief reporter of the local rag, the Harrow Observer, only for him to knock any misplaced pride out of me with his reply: "I'm in Fleet Street, at PA (the Press Association, the national news agency)."
Every now and then, I allow myself to stray from the tightly drawn waters of folk and folk offshoots and draw attention to something else that deserves a listen.
Since returning to France after London hibernation, I have found myself stopping to appreciate one song that keeps cropping up on the radio. Lots of changes in tempo, adorable female voice, great tune ... in short, a bloody good pop record.
I remember my daughters wanting me to play a wonderful Box Fox and Stu Luckley album, Nowt So Good'll Pass, probably in cassette form, and especially liking (and getting the regional dialect) in A Begging I Will Go.
Regular visitors to the little Salut! empire - and no, I don't just mean the one or two that come to this particular corner of it - know that the pages of all four sites are open to guest writers. Step forward Mike Dennison*, whose first contribution might have seemed more likely to be at Salut! Sunderland. Instead, noticing that no review of Danny Thompson's album Connected has appeared here, despite having been available for some months, he volunteered one of his own. Read on ...