Salut! Commentary

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

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At my main site, Salut!, I have been publishing the Covid19-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 ...

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Diamonds and rust? fRoots halts publication after 40 years

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The ink was barely dry, metaphorically, on the piece I wrote acclaiming the 40th anniversary edition of Ian Anderson's treasured magazine fRoots.

Stretching to 148 compelling pages, the bumper edition itself was barely half-read. And along comes this little bombshell, from Ian himself.

The jewel that has been, for four decades fRoots (if we include the last few editions of Southern Rag before the title changed, initially to Folk Roots, and the new publication was launched), has faded. "I’m so sorry to bring the news that fRoots Magazine is suspending publication," Ian's sad message begins. We knew he was in discussions over a takeover and hoped to stand down as editor; we didn't know those talks were doomed to failure.

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Recovery and rediscovery: Pentangle

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Bryan Ledgard's picture of Pentangle at 2007 BBC Folk Awards

Choosing music to make physical exercise more bearable can be a challenge. It has to be good to have any chance of working, but the last thing you want is for the accompanying exertion to put you off it for life.

In days when I’d spend half an hour in the office gym before starting work,  I found the only album that would see me through an activity I loathed was the  eponymous John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers

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Following a minor op, I had to choose again, to go with daily sequences designed to acquaint my body with what had happened to it and strengthen the muscles.  

Jacqui McShee - I found a. better photograph offered by Vintage Photos at Amazon but was unsure of copyright  - would understand. We are both of an age when such medical issues crop up.

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Songs you cannot get out of your head: from Linda Thompson and Sandy Denny to Dolores O'Riordan, Nic Jones and Kate Rusby

Author: Colin Randall

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Time for another of those lists.

We all have them, songs or tunes we just cannot get out of our heads. A friend who is fairly contemptuous of Ed Sheeran - I am not, incidentally, and like him if selectively - was furious about not being able to shake off one of his hits (I have forgotten which).

Naturally, our personal choices for such lists are liable to change, on a whim or after coming across new or newly remembered sounds. I am restricting my own, current selection to music that is on my mind because I like it ...

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Hard Times/Complainte pour Ste-Catherine: a Kate and Anna McGarrigle feast

Author: Colin Randall

What a find. Bill Taylor, responding to my Cover Story piece on Anna McGarrigle's Heart Like a Wheel and its versions by the McGarrigle sisters, Mary Black and Linda Ronstadt - posted a comment with a link to a quite spellbinding rendition of Hard Times Come Again No More, Stephen Foster's song from the US Civil War.

"Brings me out in goosebumps every time I hear it," wrote Bill, mentioning also the contribution of Rufus Wainwright, the son of Anna's sister Kate.


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

Author: Colin Randall

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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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