Nanci Griffith. A song a day: (2) 1952 Vincent Black Lightning (and bonus)
Nanci Griffith. A song a day: (4) Little Love Affairs with the Chieftains

Nanci Griffith. A song a day: (3) The Wing and the Wheel

Day three of Salut! Live's "song a day" homage to Nanci Griffith, whose death last Friday at 68 has caused enormous grief, even among those who mever met or perhaps never even saw her perform live. I fall into both categories but have nurtured growing respect and affection for her music over the past 35 years. 

In this collection of tracks and live performances showcasing Nanci's talents, I find myself falling into the trap of following the suggestions of others. I don't mind that any more than Brer Rabbit minded being thrown by the fox into the briar patch because I am being guided by people who know her work well.

Urging me not to neglect examples of Nanci singing solo, with modest accompaniment or with her band, the Blue Moon Orchestra, my friend and fellow Sunderland supporters Malcolm Dawson gave special mention to The Wing and the Wheel



I cannot fault Malcolm's judgement: "a beautiful song that never fails to make me fill up - even more so when I played it after reading about her passing".

Nanci woolies - 1Both songs mentioned today appear on this album, which can be bought at the Salut! Live Amazon link by clicking on this caption



Nanci Griffith wrote the song for her fourth studio album, Last Of The True Believers , which has been described as underlining her move from folk to a more country sound. There was a time this would have put me off but I have grown to appreciate superior country music and this is a sensational performance.

I broke the conventional "Song of the Day" rule yesterday by including a second song.

So I shall leave it there, save to say that if you listen to The Wing and the Wheel and stay connected to YouTube, you will be rewarded - if it works for you as it did for me - by a clip of Nanci beautifully introducing and then singing Love at the Five and Dime in 1988 at Anderson Fair (which I believed to be a Texan folk and acoustic festival, but see John Sakamoto's comment below), also referred to by Malcolm. This is possibly the only song that ever made Woolworths seem romantic.

(ps It didn't work for me when I tried it again. The link is here)


* For other items in this mini-series, and further tributes to Nanci Griffith, please go to this link.



Malcolm Dawson

I must have heard both those songs hundreds of times over the past 33 years or so and every time I listen to them, my back tingles, my stomach flutters and my eyes go damp. It happened again after following the links and there aren't that many performers who have that effect on me. What a wonderful legacy to have left behind. RIP Nanci and as you would have said in that Texan voice "I thank yew."


Thanks Colin - hadn't heard that song before - really lovely

Bryan Whiley


John Sakamoto

Thank you for the judicious choices, and for doing this daily. One small thing: Despite its name, Anderson Fair is actually a club in Houston. Griffith's first live album, One Fair Summer Evening, was recorded there. On the closing number, "Spin on a Red Brick Floor," she thanks Tim and Linda, the club's proprietors.

Stacey Baker

Via the Sandy Denny and Family Facebook group

Colin Randall i just created a spotify playlist with my favorites. She was a songwriter inspired by many other songwriters and she had two full albums of covers “Other Voices, Other Rooms” highlighting some of her favorites including Sandy and Richard Thompson. She always took the time to introduce songs and attribute them to the writer which not all singers do and I loved the stories that she told about them as well. Her album “One Fair Summer Evening” has a lot of that banter included and showed that live she was even better than in the studio.

Colin Randall

John Sakamoto: thanks for pointing that out. It was new to me and Wikipedia didn’t help as a accurately as it might have done! I have now edited the reference

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