Tomorrow evening I was planning on seeing John Renbourn play at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, one stop on a tour he was doing with guitarist Wizz Jones. This morning I opened the paper to learn that he was dead. With Bert Jansch, John Renbourn co-founded Pentangle in 1967, the brilliant band of musicians which burst … Continue reading John Renbourn: buckets of tears
Thea Gilmore seemed surprised that so many people had turned up to see her – enough to fill the Epstein Theatre – on the same night that Dolly Parton was doing her thing down at the Arena. But Thea’s fans are nothing if not loyal: when she asked how many members of the audience had … Continue reading Thea Gilmore at the Epstein: covers and old favourites
Pete Seeger, photo by Anthony Pepitone (Wikipedia) Following the death of Pete Seeger I came across reviews of an album put out in 1998 by Appleseed Recordings, an idealistic independent music label set up by Jim Musselman, a lawyer and activist who once worked with Ralph Nader. Musselman has devoted the label to releasing socially … Continue reading Blessed be the Nation: the story sung by Pete Seeger
‘He’s gonna look like your granddad if your granddad can kick your ass.’ Four years ago, Pete Seeger celebrated his 90th birthday party with a sell-out concert at Madison Square Garden. Characteristically, it was a fundraiser for a campaign to which he’d dedicated years of his life: cleaning up New York’s Hudson River. That night, … Continue reading Pete Seeger: he surrounded hate and forced it to surrender
Well, knock me down with a feather! Dylan produces new album that’s not only melodious and beautifully sung, but revelatory, too, casting new light on a period in his career generally held in low esteem by fans, including myself, and deeply suggestive of something else that might have been. Plenty has been written in the … Continue reading Dylan’s Another Self Portrait: why did he throw it all away?
I don’t think of myself as Bob Dylan. It’s like Rimbaud said, ‘I is another’. – Bob Dylan, 1985 A million books have crawled over the minutiae of Bob Dylan’s life, his words, live performances and recordings, and I have read a fair few of them. But I do believe that Ian Bell’s Once Upon … Continue reading Once Upon a Time: The Lives of Bob Dylan
I’ve got a bad feeling about the American Presidential election, and so has Ry Cooder. He’s so worried that he’s rushed out a new album, Election Special, on which every track is dedicated to alerting his fellow-countrymen and the rest of the world to evil intentions of the Tea Party Republicans and their wealthy backers … Continue reading Ry Cooder’s Election Special