Previous month:
March 2020
Next month:
May 2020

April 2020

Favourite 10 singers: (1) female - Sandy Denny and Billie Holiday head my list. But yours?

Image: Jef Aerosol
This was an evolving Salut! Live post.
It attracted gratifying reader response although most of the 33 comments originated at social media mentions of the piece, not here.
Since we're all trying to find ways of occupying ourselves in lockdown, let's revisit the theme. Just list your all-time favourite female singers, which I'l broaden to include any genre.
I will move on to men later ... The article appeared in November 2017. If you want to see how readers reacted then, check it out here.
I will reflect for a day or so and say by way of a comment below whether my own list has changed again ...
Buy Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits album at Salut! Live's Amazon record shelf by clicking on this caption

Continue reading "Favourite 10 singers: (1) female - Sandy Denny and Billie Holiday head my list. But yours?" »

John Prine RIP. No more happy enchiladas ...

Image: Ron Baker. CC BY 3.0,

Not all who contribute to the pages of Salut! Live and Salut! are people I have met. Renata Baraldi, author of a supremely moving coronavirus-related essay from Lombardy, is known to me only on social media, where we have a mutual acquaintance and demonstrate similar musical tastes.
Stan Wilson is American and drops by here, and at Facebook, to exchange thoughts on music. He alerted me to news of John Prine falling victim to Covid-19 and, at that time, fighting for his life in hospital. I awoke today to another alert from Stan, the one I feared. John died on Tuesday at the Vanderbilt University medical centre in Tennessee. He was 73.
And Stan sent me these words of tribute and sadness ...

Continue reading "John Prine RIP. No more happy enchiladas ..." »

Covid-19, Lombardy and the Corries: 'and we'll all go together'


At my main site, Salut!, I have been publishing the coronavirus-related thoughts and experiences of friends scattered far and wide.

The series has produced some outstanding pieces of writing and I urge those of my readers who come only here to browse them by clicking on this link.

Renata Baraldi is an Italian Facebook friend; we have never met but have a mutual acquaintance and a shared love of folk music. She has a particular fondness for the Dubliners. I make no apology for repeating at Salut! Live the poignant words she contributed to the series from her home in Lombardy, the disease's European epicentre ...

Continue reading "Covid-19, Lombardy and the Corries: 'and we'll all go together'" »

Mary McPartlan RIP: 'her loss is huge'

Mary McPartlan, in the middle of the photo, flanked by Gerry Driver and Lisa Knapp*

As the years pass, we get accustomed to hearing unwelcome news about contemporaries while also, and especially in these sad times, wondering about our own mortality.

That familiarity with death does not make it any easier to learn of the passing of those you valued, whether or not you actually knew them that well, or at all.

I never met the Irish singer, producer and broadcaster Mary McPartlan, who has died from cancer at 65. But her music made a significant impression on me and it was with great sadness that I saw this Facebook post from my confrere Colin Irwin ...

Continue reading "Mary McPartlan RIP: 'her loss is huge'" »

Bells of Rhymney the Sheffield way


Fair use:

Only rarely do I reopen discussions on the respective merits of different versions of songs featured in the Cover Story series.

This is not such an occasion. It is intended simply to bring to your attention a thoroughly uplifting choral interpretation of Bells of Rhymney, a powerful song from the South Wales coalfield with lyrics by Idris Davies, a miner who became a poet and teacher, adapted by Pete Seeger.

Continue reading "Bells of Rhymney the Sheffield way " »

Covid-19. Songs of endurance (2) Graham and Eileen Pratt: Ned of the Hill


In a recent post at Salut! Live, I invited readers to nominate the one piece of music they could listen to over and again during lockdown.

This is a near cousin of that little exercise and can be added to at will. I will present in each posting a single track, a song or tune that holds such strong appeal for me that it will never leave my mind as long as I have control of it. I shall merge it with the one-off isolation category and call it Songs of Endurance in the sense of helping us withstand hardship or stress, not a bad thing to have in this troubled time.

Ned of the Hill is a great old Irish song. I have heard it sung well by Kate Rusby and Kathryn Roberts and Ron Kavana and with gusto by the Pogues but never better than by Graham and Eileen Pratt (by which I mean Eileen since Graham's musical contribution, though important, is non-vocal).

Continue reading "Covid-19. Songs of endurance (2) Graham and Eileen Pratt: Ned of the Hill" »