June 2017 Update: this item on Jez Lowe appeared six years ago, and referred to a review from four years before that, but my admiration for the singer and his wonderful observations on life and events remains undiminished. Check out his own site for more information. Otherwise, what you see below is essentially what was published in 2011 ...
Right, it's time to start filling the pages of Salut! Live and I can think of no better way, other than persuading Pete Sixsmith to submit some more live reviews, than to look into the archives.
Any visitor to this site can explore what has appeared here by navigating the sidebars, but I have also written on folk and related topics for various publications.
June 2017 update: this tribute piece to a great song by an even greater departed heroine of folk and folk-rock, Sandy Denny, first appeared nine years ago when I was living in Abu Dhabi. Some of the versions mentioned in my introduction have disappeared, because the links went dead, but others - Nanci Griffith, Rufus Wainwright, 10,000 Maniacs - have been added. See Comments, too: I never got round to acting on Tom Bliss's request but will try to do so in due course (another nine years?). Meanwhile, my thanks to Ross Anderson for alerting me to a tremendous BBC Soul Music mini-documentary on the song, quoting Sandy, Judy Collins, Rufus, Sandy's biographer Mick Houghton, Simon Nicol and several others. There's a link in the footnote ...
...well, I'd like to know what happened to the time that has elapsed since I agreed to an acquaintance's request to compile for him a cassette - that dates it already - of versions of Sandy Denny's spellbinding Who Knows Where The Time Goes?, his favourite song.
It began with good intentions on my part. As a reviewer of folk albums, I already had several renditions - quite a few different ones recorded by Sandy, come to that - and you can be sure that more have reached me since.
But I never quite got round to it. I am not sure exactly how many years have passed since my undertaking to prepare the tape. But with thanks to YouTube subscribers and apologies to Julian, the husband of one of my wife's then colleagues, here at least is a start.
A search for the song produces the good, the not so good and the downright ugly. I came across some assaults on the ear that were simply so gruesome that it would be unkind to everyone concerned to expose them to Salut! Live's small but probably quite discerning audience.
A frustrating feature of where I live (the UAE) is that when using the internet away from my place of work, I am handicapped by restricted access to certain sites. I have no reason to fear that Salut! Live is other than entirely innocent, likewise my other sites (Salut!, Salut! North and Salut! Sunderland). But I gather from Typepad that there is some problem here concerning - presumably - all the sites it hosts.
The upshot is that I cannot properly view the clips I have located from YouTube, except via a not very practical preview function. I know that Sandy is there two or three times, including a BBC interview in which the song is also heard.
You will also hear Kate Rusby, Mary Black, Judy Collins, Richard Thompson, Eva Cassidy, Nina Simone, the Sullen Kinks, Kate Wolf, John Kirkpatrick, Justin Bond, Lisa Lavery, Chris While
Feel free to commend other versions to me, or to comment on those I present here in an attempt to ease my guilty conscience. And sorry again, Julian, I still haven't got round to making a tape.
Two great names from Irish music, drawing on the lyrical and musical eloquence of Bob Dylan, combine in this latest edition of the Treasures rediscovered series ...
Bob Dylan gave me some of my earliest of musical pleasures. I liked him less as he veered further and further from folk, though not especially because he went electric, incurring the wrath of some fairly sad pseudo-purists. If I had not bartered away Blonde on Blonde to pay off a debt (ten bob in old money, worth a bit more than today's conversion of 50p), it would be one of my most prized pieces of vinyl.
June 2017 update: whether I am in London or here in France, the news has been uniformly rotten. I was home immediately after the Westminster Bridge attack and there again when the London Bridge/Borough Market atrocity happened. Now, worst of all, the catastrophe of Grenfell Tower. The grief is immense, the anger justified. Music cannot possibly hope to heal all that is cruel and wrong, but at least here is a wonderful song, beautifully performed, that evokes a different feeling about the city ...
Sometimes it's hard to let go. It was a good idea for a series - posting clips of great tracks or snippets re-encountered on disc, tape or CD - but, put into practice, it has its addictive aspect for the blogger.
Another episode in an occasional series recalling pieces of music that have given much pleasure and suddenly flow back into the mind or are encountered among my thousands of CDs, cassettes and vinyl ...
There is never a need to apologise for turning for Salut! Live material to Sandy Denny, as gifted a singer and songwriter as England has produced in living memory and sorely missed still, fully 36 years after her death at just 31.