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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 →

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 →

Song of the Day: Bob Fox and Stu Luckley ... the Bonny Gateshead Lass

April 2021 update: 10 years after it first appeared, I return to this cracking piece of North-eastern singing and playing, folk meets music hall, from an album released in 1978, The chosen track remains, for me, a firm favourite. I... Read more →

Song of the Day Revisited: Nic Jones, Little Pot Stove and a triumph over tragedy

April 2021 update: I have no up-to-date news of Nic Jones, one of the finest and most influential English folk singers of his generation. However, it is worth recording that he did make a hugely commendable comeback, starting in 2010... Read more →