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April 2021

Cover Story: (64) Here's the Tender Coming. Mighty Doonans, Unthanks, Dave Burland or Frankie Armstrong

I have said often enough that the Cover Story series is not intended primarily as a competition but aims to alert readers to different treatments of the same songs and instrumentals. Inevitably, however, whether an item is written by me... Read more →


Cover Story: (63) Hard Times of Old England. Steeleye Span, the Coppers, Chumbawamba, Band of Hope or Billy Bragg and Imagined Village

We could get very, very political about this one. Indeed, some versions of Hard Times of Old England do just that, replacing tales of woes afflicting the working class of the 18th century with waspish commentary on modern deprivation and... Read more →


Cover Story: (27) Seduction, witchcraft and sometimes savagery on Broomfield Hill - Bellowhead or Dr Faustus

April 2021 update: Yesterday, I passed part of the longest drive I've made in months listening to Bellowhead's album Hedonism and marvelled at just how good it is. Big band folk feels like a contradiction in terms but I'm perfectly... Read more →


Instruments of Pleasure: (7) Simon Mayor's Man on the Plane and America's grim gun fetish

What goes through your mind with news of each mass shooting in the United States? Shock, I suspect, no longer comes into it for most of us. Beyond sadness for the victims, my thoughts are dominated by sheer anger at... Read more →


Cover Story: (62) Me and My Uncle. Grateful Dead, Judy Collins or its writer, John Phillips

Now that Cover Story is sixtysomething instalments old, it feels right that Bill Taylor should dig out a song of which I was unaware, written by the Mamas and Papas' late John Phillips during a boozy session in 1963. He... Read more →