Off to Cuba. Back soon ...

Author: Colin Randall


If you have not dipped into the Cover Story series, it's time you did.

Have your say on same songs, different versions just as the series attempts to do. Suggest your own contenders - write about them for Salut! Live if you wish.

But for the next week or so, do not expect anything further from me. I am off to Havana.

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Cover Story (36): Rave On. Buddy Holly or Steeleye Span

Author: Colin Randall

Buddy - 1

Cover Story - same songs, different versions - has been running for a while now. This is a slightly unusual addition to the series ...

But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step

My paper round days started after Don McLean's. But I suspect I would have felt a little the same had the papers in my bag in the mid-1960s carried front-page news of Buddy Holly's death in an air crash.

Holly's music was difficult to dislike for young lads and lasses growing up during his tragically short career and for a few years afterwards. It was simple but irresistibly catchy; the lyrics expressed everyday emotions - ones we had or aspired to - and the tunes were memorable.

Rave On was among his best songs or rather one of the best songs he recorded since he didn't write it. I find no fault with it but - for the purposes of this, the 36th and latest edition of Cover Story - I do know of a version I like even more.

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The Swarb tribute tour featuring the Jason Wilson Band, Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick and another Swarbrick

Author: Colin Randall

Swarb tribute - 1

A British folk-rock fiddler exemplaire, I called Dave Swarbrick when he died on June 23 2016.

He had left family and friends in no doubt that he wanted no funeral when his time came, and none was held. But he did like the idea of a last session with some of his many friends among fellow-musicians.

To his widow, Jill Swarbrick-Banks, this could be interpreted as his blessing for the round of concerts that is about to begin, what Jill calls "a touring tribute of minstrel friends that have come together to celebrate the great Swarb and his music".

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Cover Story (35): Jack Haggerty - Touchstone, Tony Furtado or Celtic Mayhem

Author: Colin Randall

Just for fun and also because I never tire of hearing Jack Haggerty, I thought I'd combine nostalgia (Dipping into the Past via Salut! Live's extensive archive) and our regular look at different treatments of the same songs (Cover Story). Jack Haggerty, also known as Jack Hackety, is the first-person lament of a heartbroken raftsman on the Flat Rover in Michigan over the loss of the life of his life, the blacksmith's daughter Anna.


She cruelly announces she is to marry another ("to her mother, Jane Tucker, I lay all the blame," wails our hero. "For she caused her to leave me and slandered my name..." ).

The song dates form the 1860s and was written by one Dan McGinnis whose trades did include working the rafts. There are a number of versions out there and any competent singer or band should be able to give the song a decent shot. More of that later; one, for me, stands head and shoulders above all others. And that is where the nostalgia comes into the tale. What follows is based on what first appeared in one of the Salut! Live "Song of the Day" variants. *****

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Signposts for admirers of Bert Jansch, Martin Simpson, John Renbourn and the Unthanks

Author: Colin Randall

Bert Jansch - 1
Click here to check Bert Jansch's music at Amazon

Just as I indulged in a spot of self-deprecation, mocking Salut! Live's improving but still modest readership figures, the unexpected happened.

Andrew Curry's guest contribution to the Cover Story series, an informed comparison of three versions of Jackson C Frank's 1960s contemporary folk classic Blues Run the Game, has attracted more readers that any item I can detect since a four-part interview with Rachel Unthank all of nine years ago.

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Cover Story (34): Blues Run the Game. Jackson C Frank, Bert Jansch or Martin Simpson

Jackson C Frank

Salut! Live wishes its scores of readers, sometimes hundreds (OK 100+) as it is creeping up if slowly, a happy and healthy 2018. Cover Story, our look at the same songs by different singers, reaches its 34th instalment today.

It's a series that people seem to think has some merit and you can check the archive at this link. As ever, guest contributors are warmly welcome. And Andrew Curry, a fellow enthusiast of folk music and also a fellow, suffering Sunderland AFC supporter, has come up with a gem of an entry in the series.

Why didn't I think of Blues Run the Game as an obvious contender for the series? I love this song. I remember it being sung by my friend Phil Steele at the folk clubs we frequented or ran in the North East (or at least I think I do; the memory may be playing tricks). I remember Jackson C Frank's original and, in particular, I remember learning about Frank's tragic life. Andrew captures all the elements of a classic of contemporary folk and discusses other versions, too ...

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