Song of the Day (Revisited)

Dipping into the Past: The Unthanks ... The Testament of Patience Kershaw

In my constant campaign to draw attention to gems from the Salut! Live archive, now that the site attracts a more respectable number of readers, here is piece of music that combines compelling artistry and painful social history. It recalls an age when young children, girls as well as boys, were sent into the mines of Britain to endure the laborious, disfiguring process of helping in the production of coal. As a reporter, I met men in the 1960s who, on the closure of their own pits, could hardly be happier that their fully grown sons would not have to work in the conditions they had known for decades. My friend and Salut! Live contributor Bill Taylor was mesmerised when he first heard the song while visiting my home in France.

I have added a couple of other Unthanks clips to show just how good they are (or how good I think they; there are dissenting views). One is another of the press gang songs I mentioned yesterday, the very moving Here's The Tender Coming, and the other is a grittier rendition of Annachie Gordon than you will encounter from most of the artists who have recorded the song. This is how I wrote about the Unthanks back in 2014 but you will also find a footnote with links to an interview conducted longer ago .. .

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Song of the Day Revisited: Dave Swarbrick with Fairport Convention ... Now Be Thankful

August 2017 update: I published this in November 2014 as one of a number of features based on a previous Song of the Day series. Dave Swarbrick was then still alive but died in June 2016. He was 75 and had won many additional years of life after serious illness (and that premature obituary).

So please bear in mind that the following article was written before that unhappy event. Also, not all links will necessarily work as they did back then - the Telegraph, for example, has retreated behind a paywall and is now either charging for peep at my old blog or has swept it from the site ...

One more thing need to be said about the return of Salut! Live's 2011 Song of the Day series, which I am currently reproducing and in some cases updating.

Not only will the sequence change, but there won't be something every day. Three years ago, I found that committing myself to daily regime was a sure route to insanity.

But in the flurry of renewed interest in what I hope is a worthwhile exercise, I will post as often as I feel able - sometimes updating, sometimes not.

And this item was unique: the only instalment where I invited the performer to select his/her/their entry.

Look above to to see what the incomparable fiddler and folk rocker Dave Swarbrick chose, and read on for further explanation.

Otherwise, I am just chuffed to bits that a man who 10 years ago seemed at death's door, unsure whether he would be deemed fit enough for the major life-saving surgery he needed, made a good recovery and remains a force to be reckoned with, combative in his pronouncements at Facebook and active on stage (see for details of a gig at Eastbourne on Saturday (Nov 20) ...

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Dipping into the past: Cara Dillon, Spencer the Rover and the Rotherham factor

In my quest to bring past delights to the attention of Salut! Live's expanding audience, I invite you to listen to Cara Dillon's version of a song I have known from my earliest days of attending folk clubs. It last appeared here in 2014 as an entry in a Song of the Day Revisited series. That was three years after I first highlighted the song and what follows is the unaltered text of the 2011 posting. What, you may wonder, has this to do with Rotherham? Read on ...

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Song of the Day Revisited: Linda and Richard Thompson .. Dimming of the Day

July 2017 Update: Linda's contributions to music, and also her wonderfully pedantic quarrels with modern abuse of English, continue to inspire [note to self: check every verb ending, use of punctuation and spelling in this introduction] ...

Linda Thompson's inclusion is surely a must
in any discerning folk and folk-rock Song of the Day series. The same applies to her ex-husband Richard. One great singer, one great writer, two great performers. And Linda offers wit and wisdom in her prolific Facebook activity, too; one little whinge about sloppy use of English on television provided inspiration for my columns on words for a far-away newspaper.

For this re-run of the original exercise - a series I now call Song of the Day Revisited - I have selected Richard and Linda together, as they then were, singing Dimming of the Day, in place of my original choice in 2011, I Live Not Where I Love, updating the text that follows accordingly ...

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Song of the Day Revisited: Adam Holmes - Monday Morning

Salut! Live is off on holiday to Cuba. This will be the last Song of the Day for a while and it comes, again, from my great friend, fellow Sunderland supporter and folk enthusiast Pete Sixsmith. His latest choice, from the work of Adam Holmes and the Embers, may be something new for you; it was certainly new to me. Pete says the album it comes from is simply wonderful. Tell us whether you agree ...

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Song of the Day Revisited: Tim Hart and Maddy Prior - Dancing at Whitsun

Colin Randall writes:
Back in 2008, I shared this recollection of my first encounter with Maddy Prior and Tim Hart.

The folk club was not due to open for an hour or more. It was so early that I could not imagine anyone else being there before me. As I wandered, pint in hand, into the small downstairs room of the Golden Cock in Darlington, a young woman was sitting there reading a book. She had a right to be feeling quite cross, but showed no trace of anger. Maddy Prior had been exiled to the snug because the main bar was still, in those far-off days, the preserve of men.
Tim Hart, with whom Maddy then performed as a pre-Steeleye Span duo (complete with bursts of Lancashire clog dancing), was in that bar, possibly playing darts.

Maddy's new solo album Seven For Old England somehow reminded me of that evening at the Darlington Folk Workshop. She has made a huge amount of music in the intervening years, but this seems to convey her back to a less cluttered musical age.

And this is how Pete Sixsmith remembers them, in a splendid and original entry in the Song of the Day Revisited series ...

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