Hard to believe, but this year it will be half a century since Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Ron McKernan, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann agreed that the Grateful Dead would be a cool name for the band in which they had been playing together for several months. For a man in his sixties, I’ve spent … Continue reading Sunshine Daydream: The Grateful Dead 50 years on
Grizzled and jowled beneath the trademark black fedora and wearing a baggy t-shirt emblazoned with ‘EARTH’, last night at Liverpool Arena Neil Young was on a mission. To save the world, no less. Young came on stage at around 8:45 with Crazy Horse – here comprising long-time collaborator in epic noise Frank ‘Poncho’ Sampedro (white-haired, tubby, wearing even … Continue reading Neil Young and Crazy Horse at Liverpool Arena: age cannot wither them
I wish I was a fisherman Tumbling on the seas Far away from dry land And its bitter memories Casting out my sweet line With abandonment and love No ceiling bearing down on me Save the starry sky above With light in my head You in my arms … Even now, a quarter of a … Continue reading Mike Scott’s raggle taggle gypsies reunited at the Liverpool Phil
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?
Several years ago I remember reading an article by Laura Barton in which the Guardian feature writer made a rock’n’roll pilgrimage, travelling Route 128 round the suburbs of Boston in Massachusetts to see for herself the urban landscape described by Jonathan Richman in his song ‘Roadrunner’, first released in 1976. For Barton, ‘Roadrunner’ is ‘one … Continue reading Roadrunner: a love song for a road, for music and the modern world
Steve Earle on stage at the Phil. (Photo: Simon Nicholl) At Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall last week, Steve Earle opened with the Woody Guthrie-styled title song from his excellent new album The Low Highway. Later in the concert, Steve talked about the song’s genesis: travelling across his country and seeing everywhere the signs of economic failure, … Continue reading Steve Earle: redemption songs
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