Barbara Dickson's cure for lockdown blues: Time is Going Faster reviewed

Bd 4 - 1Photo credit: Brian Aris
 
When the week began, I planned to post my review of Barbara Dickson's new album, Time is Going Faster, at about the same time as the two-part interview. Tragic events in France got in the way of that plan; I was needed by The Independent and the The National (UAE) to apply whatever knowledge I have on these matters to complement their coverage of the hideous Islamist attacks that have left four people dead (I never include terrorists in the count).
 
Apologies, then, for the short delay. And warm thanks to the many hundreds of people who, mostly for the first time, have been drawn to the pages of Salut! Live by online references to my main interview with Barbara and the more succinct quickfire Q&A. I hope some at least found time and inclination to explore the site further and look forward to welcoming them back ....
 
 

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Barbara Dickson briefly: Scottish independence, Marcus & Rishi and a question of pride

Barbara Dickson - CD cover photo - credit Brian Aris
Photo: Brian Aris

UPDATE: My review of Barbara Dickson's new album, Time is Going Faster, appears at https://www.salutlive.com/2020/10/time-is-going-faster.html
The Big Interview with Barbara Dickson, as I like to call it, appears at this Salut! Live link: https://www.salutlive.com/2020/10/the-big-interview-barbara-dickson.html.

In keeping with the site's tradition of posing a companion quickfire set of questions and answer, here are her thoughts on a range of topics from politics and Scottish independence to reading habits and a yearning for grandchildren (the answer on books is longer because I went back to Barbara for more) ...

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The Big Interview: Barbara Dickson, hating lockdown, rejecting celebrity, loving her music

Barbara Dickson 2020 - credit Brian Aris
Photo: Brian Aris

UPDATE: My review of Barbara Dickson's new album, Time is Going Faster, appears at https://www.salutlive.com/2020/10/time-is-going-faster.html
Twice so far this century, I have mistakenly remembered Barbara Dickson as a member of the Scottish folk trio Bitter Withy, who performed at one or both of the folk clubs I ran decades ago in my home town of Shildon, Co Durham and Bishop Auckland, three miles away.
In 2008, I put my faulty memory right with the help of Alan Clyde, who handles Barbara's promotion. She was never in Bitter Withy and must have appeared at my club/s solo or with Rab Noakes. Faulty memory can be resilient and had re-invaded my mind as I composed a set of questions for this interview. Apologies for the second time in 12 years. If we're both still around in 2032, I'll doubtless ask Barbara again to recall those Bitter Withy days.
Back to the present. After a fabulous career taking in music, the stage, the screen and print, Barbara has a charming new album out. It's called Time is Going Faster, a warm, relaxed and diverse selection of songs which I took a little time to embrace but now find irresistible. Having followed Barbara's work since those folk days, and remembering the extraordinary impact of her early collaboration with Archie Fisher (their 1970 album Thro' The Recent Years almost certainly survives in my loft-confined vinyl collection), I am delighted to find she is still drawn to material that would have been entirely in keeping as part of her folk club repertoire.
The album can be ordered at https://www.barbaradickson.net. and this is the result of our e-mail exchange, to be followed by a quickfire interview by phone ...

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The Auld Triangle: Glen Hansard par hasard - Paris, NYC, London and Chicago

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                                                   Glen Hansard by Niccolò Caranti

A woman giving her name as Claire, commenting at YouTube on a clip of one of stars of The Commitments, Glen Hansard, and band performing The Auld Triangle at Chicago's Lollapalooza festival had something of a direct manner: "I’d do rude things to Glen Hansard."

I do not feel quite the same way. But I have developed huge affection for the energy and empathy he injects into the song, effortless charming his audiences and enthusiastically drawing in other band members and backstage staff by sharing out the solos.

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Cover Story (47). Losing control: Zombie by the Cranberries, Miley Cyrus and others

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Dolores O'Riordan fronts the Cranberries in a 2016 Netherlands concert. Image: Bart Notermans from Rotterdam

 

Editor's note; Miley Cyrus's name was misspelt in the the original headline. The entire sub-editing team would be sacked if we had one 

 

For his latest contribution to Salut! Live's popular Cover Story series Bill Taylor listens to different versions of the Cranberries' Zombie:
No need to go into a lot of introductory detail about the Cranberries and Zombie, the 1994 protest song about the previous year’s IRA bombings in Warrington that killed two children.
Driven by lead singer/songwriter Dolores O’Riordan’s keening, take-no-prisoners voice and the angry power of the band, it’s an electrifying work that can without hperbole be described as iconic:

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Cover Story: (46) the songs and the story so far with Beeswing way in front

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The most widely read item at Salut! Live, at least this week, is the piece I posted yesterday about the vibrant song of defiance and opposition to fascism, Bella Ciao, in which I briefly describe how performing it in northern Italy is often unwelcome and even, in one or two areas, forbidden. I am glad to say a lot of the readers have come from Italy.

But the consistently most popular pages at this site, as I write, are those listed under Cover Story, a series now stretching to 45 instalments, each describing different versions of the same piece of music. Click on that title for the series, or use the clickable list you find by scrolling down the column to the right, and you will find each of the articles published so far.

By far the most often viewed such posting, if I consider current statistics, is my look at the marvellous Richard Thompson song Beeswing, which has been covered umpteen times. It was only after stating my marginal preference for Christy Moore's version that I changed my mind and went with the composer's own, or one of his own many performances available at YouTube. This was how I put it when thanking readers for their feedback:

Great set of comments here. I discussed the merits of Richard vs Christy ... and came down on Christy's side ('the emphasis, warm texture, complete understanding of each character's thoughts) but honestly now accept that Richard's version, live, of his own magnificent song is unbeatable. Others will, and may, disagree ... as Dave Swarbrick once said, 'you can do anything you like with music. It won't mind.

 

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Bella Ciao; big on Netflix, remembered from the 1960s London-Irish folk scene, discouraged in Italy

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On each of two nights recently spent in the Italian resort of Alassio, we ate at a restaurant called the Galeon.

The food was good but the second visit was made because, as for the first, entertainment was to be provided by a duo formed by the outstanding Consuelo and her musical partner, also highly accomplished but whose name I now forget.

I really wanted them to perform Bella Ciao , originally sung by downtrodden women working in Italian rice fields and later adopted by anti-Mussolini partisans fighting fascism. And I told Consuelo so.

If she sang it at all, it would have been after we left and that was a couple of hours or more into the indefatigable duo's set, a marathon that stretched from Blowing in the Wind to Italian classics.

"Fair play to you, it's a great song," I once heard the Irish chanteuse Dolores Keane shout back when someone called out for Peggy Gordon. "I just don't sing it." And maybe Consuelo doesn't include Bella Ciao in her  seemingly inexhaustible repertoire.

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Instruments of pleasure: (6) Music for a Found Harmonium by Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Patrick Street or Sharon Shannon

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Simon Jeffes: I found this album at Amazon

 

Twenty-three years have passed since the untimely death of Simon Jeffes, co-founder with Helen Liebmann of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, and getting on for 40 since he wrote Music For a Found Harmonium on an instrument he found in a back street of Kyoto.

It is a simple but startling piece of music, much more impressive to my ears than the ensemble's Telephone and Rubber Band, acclaimed by some as its most notable work.

 

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