For Bill read Belinda and listen to her Wonderful Fairytale: 'not very trad, but very me'

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Some years ago, I acclaimed the first album from Bill Jones - sorry to be namist about this but she signs messages with the much more appealing Belinda - and later criticised another.

I have felt rotten about it ever since; it was an honest judgement in each case but perhaps reviewers who actually like the art form they are considering should generally be happiest when able to praise, though it would be fair to wonder how many are. Now comes another album and I fell in love with it on first hearing.

Bill/Belinda and I have never met but we get along quite well electronically. Though she hails from Staffordshire, she has lived in Sunderland for most her adult life - in itself a plus in my eyes, though I grew up 20 miles away - and has three sons, of whom one, (Dom) is, as he should be, Sunderland AFC-mad. Like me, he will be at Wembley for the League One playoff final on Sunday (May 26), when I should really be in France and he should be his mum's gig in Chippenham.

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Salut! Live wishes all readers a happy Christmas and lots of great music

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Salut! Live is proud to have brought a discerning if usually quite small audience a treasure chest of excellent music over the 10 years or so of its existence. I wish it could be more active but other commitments get in the way and the refusal of newsnow.co.uk to list the site dampened enthusiasm considerably during 2018 (had they done so, readership would have risen to levels that might make the effort feel worthwhile).

But I shall continue to update Salut! Live as often as I can and am delighted today to wish those regular readers I have, and any others who stray into its pages, a very happy Christmas and a wonderful new year.

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Cover Story (41): Roy Bailey - mourn the man, treasure his work. Another fine version of Richard Thompson's Beeswing

I had not intended to re-open the debate on Beeswing. But it is possibly my favourite song - a choice that changes from time to time - and this comment might otherwise be lost in the undiscovered, though eminently discoverable, archives of Salut! Live.

More importantly, the version I reproduce above is from a wonderful figure of the British folk world who has just died, Roy Bailey (see my report on his death).

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Blues Run the Game: a starring role in The Old Man & the Gun

I noted with surprise today that I have not mentioned the late Jackson C Frank's gripping song, The Blues Run the Game, for three years (plus three days).

But yesterday, screening room number five at Picturehouse Central just off Piccadilly Circus resonated with the spellbinding mix of voice, guitar picking and song that makes this one of my all-time favourites. So why not share another listen?

The reason for my pleasant surprise at the cinema - actually one of two; I enjoyed A Star is Born much more than I'd expected to - is a dominant part of the trailer for Robert Redford's new film, The Old Man & A Gun, about the San Quentin jailbreaker Forrest Tucker. That suggests a great soundtrack. The film looks half-decent, too.

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Murder Valley: a question of identity is answered and Hollywood comes calling

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Who didn't smile at the story of the Dutch man who, at 69, is asking a court to grant his request to "identify" as a 45-year old so he can have more success with online dating?

The subject of this posting is also past 60 but has no problem with his age being known. And after several years of "identifying" as Jake, or occasionally Jake Lark, he has come out. Jake is John Clark, one of three members of the band Murder Valley, based in the Spanish city of Leon.

Until now, I have been calling John Jake when crediting him for the graphical images he produces so prolifically for my football site, Salut! Sunderland .

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RIP Roy Bailey and Bill Caddick, mighty figures of folk

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With great sadness, I record the loss of two more important and endearing figures of British folk music.

Roy Bailey, who died this week aged 83, was a passionate fighter for social justice. You could either agree or disagree with his left-wing politics but that his commitment was genuine could not be denied. His rich, strong voice echoes in the mind as I write this, and I recall with fondness his work with the late Labour MP Tony Benn, Roy's songs interspersing with the politician's recital of chapters from his book, The Writing on the Wall.

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Armistice 100: Eric Bogle, June Tabor and the right kind of remembrance

Over at the parent Salut! site, you will find a couple of reproduced articles of mine dealing with First World War anniversaries.

All I wish to do tonight, at the start of the weekend that marks the centenary of the Armistice ending the Great War, is to remind my few readers of two of the most powerful songs to be written about that conflict.

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Cover Story: (40) Like a Rolling Stone. Bob Dylan or the Rolling Stones

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Image: Jim Pietryga via Wikipedia

Salut! Live limps back into life with another entry in the Cover Story series comparing and contrasting different versions of the same song.

Many years ago in Paris, maybe 2006, I paid a fortune for tickets to see the Rolling Stones at the Stade de France. I can enjoy stadium rock - Coldplay in Nice and Lyon were superb and I've seen impressive clips of other bands in other places - and the Stones' concert was excellent.

I have not seen them live since but a review in my local paper when I'm in France, the Var-Matin (ahead of a Marseille gig, but based on a London show attended by the writer), noted that Ronnie Wood was getting better and better with the passing of years, while Keith Richards was not.

See the entire Cover Story series at this link


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