Song of the Day

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 .. .

Continue reading "Dipping into the Past: The Unthanks ... The Testament of Patience Kershaw " »

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) ...

Continue reading "Song of the Day Revisited: Dave Swarbrick with Fairport Convention ... Now Be Thankful " »

Dipping into the Past: John Mayall, Eric Clapton and Rambling on My Mind

Aug 2017 update: the reason I am promoting archived material is that when it first appeared, Salut! Live had a pitifully small readership. It's not huge now but is a good deal larger and I believe there is content that is worth another airing. When I used an office gym, I noticed that music was not a great way to get me through the monotony of exercise. Listening at the same time could even put me off a much-loved album. One exception was my CD of the old John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers LP. There are one or two tracks that leave me cold but it is generally an album of the highest quality and holds enduring appeal. Here is how I described it for my original Song of the Day series back in 2011 ...

Continue reading "Dipping into the Past: John Mayall, Eric Clapton and Rambling on My Mind" »

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 ...

Continue reading "Dipping into the past: Cara Dillon, Spencer the Rover and the Rotherham factor" »

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 ...

Continue reading "Song of the Day Revisited: Linda and Richard Thompson .. Dimming of the Day " »

Song of the Day Revisited: Tom Paxton ... Leaving London

UPDATED: well not really, just reposted on a day - a variation of 9/11 as someone else put it - when I'd rather put negative thoughts on the USA to one side and dwell on how much good comes from that country, too. While trying to give this post a little boost on Twitter, I came across this (from another Tom Paxton, I'm relieved to say, though fair play to him for 'liking' my tweet saying as much) ...

Happy New Year to all readers. You are part of a small but select band. I recently befriended Tom Paxton at Facebook when I came across him by chance and he quickly added me as a "friend", too, after we'd exchanged brief messages. I love this man's work - read on and you'll learn of someone else's failure to find a solitary bad song he's written - and his heart has always seemed in the right place. So the Song of the Day Revisited series makes its 2015 debut with Tom singing one of the songs that I especially liked. Here is how I introduced it for the original 2011 series ...

Continue reading "Song of the Day Revisited: Tom Paxton ... Leaving London" »