I noted with surprise today that I have not mentioned the late Jackson C Frank's gripping song, The Blues Run the Game, for three years (plus three days).
But yesterday, screening room number five at Picturehouse Central just off Piccadilly Circus resonated with the spellbinding mix of voice, guitar picking and song that makes this one of my all-time favourites. So why not share another listen?
The reason for my pleasant surprise at the cinema - actually one of two; I enjoyed A Star is Born much more than I'd expected to - is a dominant part of the trailer for Robert Redford's new film, The Old Man & A Gun, about the San Quentin jailbreaker Forrest Tucker. That suggests a great soundtrack. The film looks half-decent, too.
Over at the parent Salut! site, you will find a couple of reproduced articles of mine dealing with First World War anniversaries.
All I wish to do tonight, at the start of the weekend that marks the centenary of the Armistice ending the Great War, is to remind my few readers of two of the most powerful songs to be written about that conflict.
November 2017 update: a former colleague, Bill Stock, wrote this at Facebook the day, prompting me to trawl through the Salut! Live archives and reproduce - from 10 years ago - the little piece that follows ...
"Met my all-time UK blues hero, the legendary John Mayall, at his gig in Southend tonight. Bought a couple of signed CDs before the show (see next photo) and told John I first saw him at Bishop’s Stortford, Herts in the late 60s.
What an amazing gig. After playing non-stop for nearly two hours he and his fab band were given a well-deserved standing ovation by fans. Bear in mind that Mr Mayall was called up for National Service, served in Korea and has been playing the Blues since the Fifties, he sounded as fresh and sprightly as ever. His multi-skilling abilities amazed me. On some numbers he played Roland or Hammond keyboards with his right hand, played a harmonica held again a microphone in his left hand while singing a few verses in between. He also played superb rhythm and lead guitars. No wonder he was made OBE for services to music. And at the end of the show John and the whole band met fans in the foyer to sign more CDs and programmes and pose for more photos. Brilliant."
Billy Bragg, Bluesbreakers, Bob Dylan, British, Carthy Family, Copper Family, Dave and Toni Arthur, Doonan Family, Eric Clapton, France, French, Joan Baez, John Mayall, Lakeman Family, Le Lavandou, Spinners, Watersons, White Heather Club
My elder daughter and a friend stayed with us at the weekend in France. Noticing the print (above) that adorns the living room wall, the famous one showing Jacques Brel, Leo Ferré (for once not last) and Georges Brassens, she mentioned that as part of her modern languages degree, she wrote a thesis on Chanson française. Brel, I have been told, had a flat in the little French seaside town, Le Lavandou, where we spend part of the year.
The conversation reminded me of an engaging article sent to me by Leon Rosselson, perhaps as close as most get to purveying Chanson anglaise (and with a sharp political edge). It has appeared elswehere (https://medium.com/@rosselson/me-georges-brassens-the-last-chance-a-shaggy-dog-story-cf4b11fc348d and see Rosselson's own footnote about Rock’n’Reel. But I have his encouragement to reproduce it for Salut! Live readers. For more of what has been published here about or by Leon Rosselson, this link should bring up a few items ...
Way, way back - well, all the way to 2000 - I was able to visit Newcastle University to write about its folk music course. The key contact was Richard Middleton, listed to this day as emeritus professor of music. Work and family obligations make this a difficult time to update the site but, in recognition of the hugely appreciated upsurge of interest in its output, I offer this further blast from the past ...