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August 2007

In the right hands

A proud parent kindly sent me the link to this YouTube clip of the Kerfuffle's Cropredy set.

Unfortunately, I was not able to spend long enough at the festival to catch more than a handful of the acts and this was one of the many I missed.

But I have listened carefully to the Kerfuffle album, Links, on their own RootBeat label, and am more than happy to commend it as an excellent example of young British musicians quietly proving that the future of folk is safe in their hands.

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In memorium

Peter Bellamy, courtesy Folk Images
From today, Salut! Live has a new feature. Down near the foot of the right hand column you will find a sub-heading Salut! Lives, which will build into an archive of obituaries I have written on folk singers and musicians who are no longer with us.

Obits on my former newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, are not signed, though people close to the subjects will often know - through the contacts necessarily made at the time the articles are prepared - the identity of the author.

I have so far reached back into the electronic library to extract my appreciations of the lives of Steve Benbow, Tony Capstick, Johnny Cunningham and, most recent of all, Tommy Makem.

More will be added as I remember or locate them. You will not, however, find the premature obit on Dave Swarbrick in my list. As those familiar with my recent Cropredy competition will know, I was not the writer (that was Colin Irwin, though he was blameless in the affair).

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Houghton Weavers, Jenny Sings Lenny....what is folk?

Salut! Live is open to contributors. Philip Howells* explores the tricky territory many of us encounter when seeking to define folk music

(c)Keith Tysall

We may aspire to the “classless society” and regard the idea of “class” as non-PC but in many ways we thrive on class - at least in the sense of definition.

For example, what is folk? One thing’s certain, your answer probably won’t meet with the approval of bearded gentlemen with open-toed sandals salivating over the Vaughan Williams collection of English folk songs.

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Kate Rusby and a Cropredy postcript

During exchanges with Kate Rusby about an article I was writing for her website, I mentioned that I was heading for Cropredy and the annual Fairport Convention reunion. "Have a ball," was Kate's advice.

But I loved her reaction when I reported my feelings of utter joy at the reproduction of the amazing album Liege and Lief.

"ps....," I wrote, "absolutely adored Liege and Lief concert. Chris While was magnificent."

Kate's response: "AW that’s brilliant, she was so nervous. I knew she’d do good tho cos she’s just fab."

No need to tidy up the e-mailSpeak. The message was clear and understood.

Cropredy: the winner's take

No sooner had I invited readers' thoughts on Fairport Convention and Cropredy than a detailed, thought-provoking missive arrived from Martin Sellers, who won a pair of tickets for the festival in the competition linked to Salut! Live's interview with Simon Nicol.

From a big thumbs-up for Show of Hands, Marie-Louise O'Connor and the Demon Barbers Roadshow to disappointment with Seth Lakeman and a mixed, measured assessment of Fairport, he has views on three days of music in and around the festival.

But I will let Martin do the talking:

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Fair play Fairport: glories of Liege and Lief revisited

Eddie Yates, aka Vernon Scripps and even Geoffrey Hughes, and Mike Harding - joint comperes for the occasion - were dead right. This was a night when history was being made, and we were all part of it just by being there.

One track - Come All Ye - is captured on a YouTube clip later in this posting.

What were the best gigs you ever attended? I remember Touchstone and De Dannan (with Mary Black), both in Bristol, that night at my old folk club when Christy Moore came a week later than booked (according to me, though not to him) and shared the night with Tony Capstick. There have been others.....from Celtic Connections (Glasgow) and Celtic Colours (Cape Breton) to Cambridge (festival) and the Royal Festival Hall (several memorable concerts, including Steeleye Span, Relativity and De Dannan again).

And now I can add Fairport Convention after they reproduced, track by track, their tremendous 1969 album Liege and Lief at the 2007 Cropredy festival.

All five male members of the band that originally made the album - Simon Nicol, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Swarbrick, Richard Thompson and Dave Mattacks - reassembled on stage for the event. In poor Sandy Denny's place, and filling her boots quite magnificently, was Chris While.

Continue reading "Fair play Fairport: glories of Liege and Lief revisited " »