Salut! Prizes

Bravo Bellowhead: fRoots album of 2010


An e-mail
from the fRoots editor Ian Anderson brings news that Bellowhead have won the album-of-the-year award in the magazine's annual poll - its 25th - of critics and others associated with folk and roots music.

I am delighted for Bellowhead, an outstanding band, and offer them Salut! Live's warm congratulations.


But the choice vindicates my own decision not to take part, for the first time in as many years as I can recall, in this year's judging. The same applied to the BBC 2 folk music awards poll.

My chaotic existence over the past five or six years - moving from Paris to the south of France to London to Abu Dhabi and back again (but without Paris) - has limited my access to as much music as I would like to hear. The supply of review albums has also steadied to a trickle, an understandable consequence of the little amount of reviewing I still do in newspapers as opposed to here (and it's not that much more here).

I have asked both fRoots and the BBC to keep me in mind as a panel member for next year and hope very much to make Salut! Live much more active than it has been. But for 2010, I simply could not have done justice to the judge's role.

So bravo Bellowhead, and to the other winners, as announced last night on BBC Radio 3's World On 3 by Mary Ann Kennedy and Ian:

Album Of 2010: Bellowhead Hedonism (Navigator)

Compilation/Re-issue: Various Artists: Africa 50 (Stern's/ Discograph)

Best Packaged Album: Natalie Merchant Leave Your Sleep (Nonesuch)


Since I have none of these albums, a gap in my life that I shall now rectify, the correctness of my decision to abstain from the voting was clearly justified.

If the awards entice you into buying any of the selected albums, or any others that have been mentioned here over the past couple of years, consult my Amazon list by scrolling down the right sidebar or go directly to the Bellowhead link by

and navigating the Amazon site.

BBC folk awards: recognition for Nanci Griffith and Dick Gaughan



As I have just moaned to Someone In The Know, a long-awaited holiday (my first visit to China) means I cannot work on an appropriate begging letter for an invite to the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

But I can share with Salut! Live readers the welcome news that some of the honours have already been decided: Lifetime Achievement Awards to Dick Gaughan and Nanci Griffith marking their inspirational roles in the music we love, and a new Good Tradition award, of which more later.

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Sandy Denny, Fotheringay and three free CDs



It is not a well kept secret that Salut! Live is a huge fan of Sandy Denny.

She was not only an enthralling singer, the beauty of her voice enhanced by that hint of vulnerability. She also wrote some outstanding songs.

When she left Fairport Convention for the first time, it was to form Fotheringay. They made one album, started work on a second and then disintegrated. Sandy had succumbed, with massive reluctance according to those close to her at the time, to mounting pressure to embark on a solo career.

The pressure was not surprising. We love to claim Sandy Denny for folk and folk-rock, but her appeal crossed these boundaries we impose; she'd won two female singer of the year awards in a mainstream pop setting.

One argument could be that she made the second Fotheringay album when she invited the musicians she had worked with in the band to play on her solo debut.

But now, 38 years after Fotheringay first started laying down the tracks of the follow-up to their first record, Fotheringay 2 is available. I will tell the story, of how it has come about, in greater detail as a later stage (for those not already familiar with it). But for now, why not claim one of the three free copies the issuing record label, Fledg'ling, has made available for this site.

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Maddy Prior competition: and the winners are...

Pretty much everyone who entered, or they would be if I had enough prizes to go round.

Each memory or anecdote brought back my own recollections of seeing Maddy Prior when she toured with Tim Hart as a duo, the thrill of hearing Steeleye Span for the first time (while browsing in the record shop at Cecil Sharp House of all places), interviewing Maddy, following each development in her career......

I have a delicious reminiscense of my own, only part of which I can divulge.

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Eliza Carthy's prized fans

At one point, I feared it might turn into one of those newspaper bingo scandals, if anyone remembers them, when thousands of people who had all won because of some competition cock-up would descend on Fleet Street to claim their dosh.

In the midst of a bit of chaos in Abu Dhabi (banks suddenly told every customer to go to ATM machines to change their pins after a security alert, with predictable results), I realised that there were several correct answers to the question: "What do Eliza Carthy's albums Red Rice and Anglicana have in common apart from having been made by Eliza Carthy and - though the answer I am looking for is topical - appeared on Topic?"

By the time I got back from the queues at the cash machines and added the "topical" clue, more than one entrant had indeed tried the same label answer. As my daughters used to say: "As if!"

But then, others pointed out the musicians who had appeared on both albums, the design work, the photography. And that both were great albums......

The reply I wanted - can I add "of course" to make it look as if everyone should have guessed? - was that both had received Mercury music award nominations. Could hardly have been more topical.

In any event, Salut! Live now has its winners. Thanks to everyone who took part; it was a healthy response and there were nine outright correct answers. For the tenth signed copy of Eliza's Dreams of Breathing Underwater album, I drew at random from answers that were clever or interesting and also correctly identified one common feature. Please be patient; I will pass the addresses to Proper Music, who kindly offered the CDs for such a competition, and the prize albums will reach winners from there.
So the winners are:

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Sign up for an Eliza Carthy competition


STOP PRESS: I now have nine winners. The tenth has been drawn from a number of other entrants who made interesting but incorrect stabs - in terms of what I wanted (ie something that set the two albums apart) - and any further correct or similarly deserving replies received by a strict deadline of 5pm UK time today Thursday Sept 11). That deadline having now passed, you can always head off to the Bright Young Folk site for a Bellowhead signed CDs competition......for news f my winners, go to this link at Salut! Live

Read on for simple instructions on how to win one of 10 signed copies of Eliza Carthy's album*, Dreams of Breathing Underwater (Topic).

For a short part of my long stint as The Daily Telegraph's folk critic, I would set competitions about people whose gigs I was previewing.

The idea got off to a bad start when I asked readers to name each of the women who had been part of the Irish band De Dannan. There were, I recall, four replies. One came from within the office and two more arrived in identical handwriting on similar postcards. The fourth entry won the prize.

It was an object lesson in running competitions when the object is actually to encourage people to enter. My question, simple enough for the kind of folk drawn to Salut! Live, was too hard for a mainstream readership.

So when Fairport offered me four pairs of tickets for Cropredy, I made sure it was easier. Who was the only founder member of the band who still belonged to it?

Imagine the hoops. You had to buy the Telegraph , like folk or folk-rock, open the arts section, see the listings, read my small contribution, know the answer, want to attend the festival, bother to write in. Yet replies - almost all correctly identifying Simon Nicol - poured in. Well over 100, small when considering the size of the Telegraph circulation - then a million plus on Saturdays - but highly impressive when considering the hoops. I disqualified, while secretly loving, the reply from a chap who expressed amazement that the Telegraph would have as many as four Fairport fans, let alone four pairs of them, among its readers.

I do not expect as many people to write to me at my e-mail address and state correctly what the albums Red Rice and Anglicana have in common apart from having been made by Eliza Carthy and - though the answer I am looking for is topical - appeared on Topic.***

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