Category Archives: Music

Cinderford Music Festival fundraising gig

This afternoon, I did my first solo gig. Up till now, I’ve done a few gigs as a part of combos (including as a jazz singer, bizarrely) and plenty of short solo spots at folk clubs, but this was the first time I’d done a complete set, with just my guitar and voice.

It takes a certain amount of courage.

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Desert island albums #1: Joni Mitchell — Hejira (1976)

In BBC Radio 4′s venerable programme Desert Island Discs, a guest is invited to imagine themselves cast away on a desert island, and allowed to choose eight pieces of music to take with them. (The quaint “discs” in the title of course refers to gramophone records; I for one welcome the BBC’s refusal to retitle the programme Desert Island Digital Audio Files.)

desert_island

I think this is a fascinating exercise, and one that I’ve often toyed with doing myself. Continue reading

Jerry Springer: The Opera: the review

Because of a cancelled flight, I have a very rare evening of solitude (sitting around in an airport hotel) with no immediate demands on my time. Being an enormous fan of Stewart Lee, I took the opportunity to watch Jerry Springer: The Opera, which he co-wrote the words for (along with composer Richard Thomas).

jsto

Well, that was two hours wasted.

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Paul Simon: There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (1973)

From the very first bars of the first song on Paul Simon’s second post-Garfunkel solo album, there’s a completely different feel from the previous year’s self-titled album. If I had to pick a single word to summarise how that album feels it would be “weary”; for this album, that word would be “sunny”.  [Listen on Grooveshark.]

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Spotify’s recommendation engine could use some work

Hi Sauropoda, we've found 7 music suggestions for you on Spotify. Enjoy!  Since you follow Yes, you might like Yes. Yes - 53k followers  Since you follow Dar Williams, you might like Dar Williams. Dar Williams - 5,700 followers  Have you heard this song by One Direction? Give it a try. Little Things

Right. Because someone who likes 1970s prog rock and 1990s-to-contemporary singer-songwriter neo-folk is probably the sort of person who will also like One Direction.

Guinnevere, at Goodrich Village Hall

For anyone who retains some scepticism that I sing at folk clubs, here is a rather poor-quality video of our indifferent performance last night of the superb Crosby, Stills and Nash song Guinnevere, which you can hear on their first album. Or on YouTube. You should listen to that, not this:

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What I’ve been listening to in 2012

But Mike, 2013 is nearly over!

True; but I won’t be able to tell you until 2014 what I’ve been listening to in 2013, so this is the moment to publish my much-delayed 2012 list.

vintage-av4-advanced-bass-guitar-sunburstl

Last year, I did this across a sequence of twelve separate posts (introduction, ten individual albums starting here, and a summary). That felt like a bit of a slog, and half of the album posts garnered no comments at all; so this year we’re back to the more compact format that I used for the 2010 list.

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Get your absurdly cheap Joni Mitchell box-sets

Wondering what to get yourself for Christmas this year? If you love music, then you should help yourself to this box-set of Joni Mitchell’s first ten studio albums at the frankly ridiculous price of £20.99 [at amazon.co.uk] or the slightly higher but still crazy $44.39 [at amazon.com].

joni-studio-albums

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On singing songs live for the first time

I didn’t realise until six last night that there would be a folk club that evening at eight. That gave me an hour and a half to lick a couple of new songs into shape (since it takes half an hour to drive there, nab a slot in the programme, and get a beer).

lou_reedAs a tribute to Lou Reed, who died last week, I wanted to do his song Perfect Day. And I also had a hankering to try out Leonhard Cohen’s much-covered impressionistic masterpiece Hallelujah.

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If The White Album hadn’t been a double

Over on Gavin Burrows’ blog, Lucid Frenzy Jr., we’ve been discussing how cohesive the Beatles’ Revolver album feels, and how relatively incoherent The White Album seems.

revolver-vs-white-album

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