Saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith was a central player in the English rhythm and blues scene of the 60's, having stints with the likes of Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, The Graham Bond Organisation and Colosseum. 'The Pirate's Dream' is taken from his debut solo album, A Story Ended (1972), which also features contributions from Chris Farlowe, Jon Hiseman, Dave Greenslade and Chris Spedding. Lyrics were provided by Pete Brown, famed for his work with Cream and Jack Bruce. So, a thoroughly British take on jazz rock and although definitely 'of its time', there are some very tasty musical workouts to be found within.
With mention of Billy Cobham in the post below I, naturally enough, went straight to his Spectrum album only to find that I have already posted two tracks from it here in the past; so, if you want to hear them, just click on Billy Cobham in the 'labels' section. This led me inevitably to the late, great Tommy Bolin, former guitar prodigy and short-term member of Deep Purple. It's fair to say that in the whole jazz-fusion area his stuff is far closer to the 'rock' end but some of his playing is pretty wild and, frankly, wonderful. The above is a track from his second (and final) solo album, Private Eyes (1976). Also highly recommended is his work with Zephyr, James Gang and Alphonse Mouzon.
I was driving along the other day listening to Mahavishnu Orchestra's second album, Birds of Fire (1973) when it dawned on me how splendid the music was and how I'd not been listening to enough of this kind of thing of late. So, to put a warning out there for you, I may be posting more tunes from the whole progadelicjazzfusion madness area in the next little while. To kick things off in a soothing way, here's Mahavishnu Orchestra with a tune from their fourth album, Apocalypse (1974), which was recorded with the help of George Martin and the London Symphony Orchestra. This album is by the second line-up of the band sans Billy Cobham and a few others who had got fed up with John McLaughlin's megalomania and said their goodbyes. Remember that William Blake said , 'The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom'. Well, maybe.
To quote the 13th Floor Elevators, it's, 'Easter everywhere'. Happy Easter to one and all. One for Sunday has become Three For Sunday for one week to celebrate the great day.
First up, here's Kris Kristofferson with a song about three of his heroes. Bob Dylan recorded this one for his 1986 album, Knocked Out Loaded but I prefer the original.
They Killed Him (1985)
Talking of Old Zimmy, here he is with his fine late 90's band doing a live version of the Stanley Brothers favourite, 'I Am The Man, Thomas', for all of us doubters. Bob went through a period of regularly opening his shows with a country gospel tune, just so you know where he's coming from.
I Am The Man, Thomas (live, 1999)
Finally, here's Emmylou with a tune from her 1987 album, Angel Band, which tells of the promise that Jesus's resurrection makes for us all. Don't want to get too preachy here, mind you, because that ain't my style, so enjoy and have a splendid Easter Day.
I was going to write something extensive in order to celebrate BSP's excellent gig at the Trinity Centre in Bristol (see old Victorian church above) but (a) I've said it all before and (b) this particular trip to Bristol somehow became about far more than seeing the best band on the planet. So, my plan is to tell you more about my 'Trip Out' very soon but here's a brief outline of the event itself.
Set-list (actual list torn from my hands by a young woman half my size and at least half my age - I'm sure she's more deserving). Intro of odd radio broadcast and Men TogetherToday/Heavenly Waters/Fear of Drowing/Monsters of Sunderland/It Ended On An Oily Stage/Atom/We Are Sound/Once More Now/No Need To Cry/Loving Animals/Lovely Day Tomorrow/Machineries of Joy/Zeus/Remember Me/Waving Flags/The Great Skua/Carrion/All In It
Encore: Spirit of St. Louis/No Lucifer
Crowd surfing by Yan and Phil. Both bears appeared in audience during encore (I did twist Ursine's nose). Lots of moshing. Band really 'up for it'. Energetic two hour set with a good variety of tunes from a now sprawling back catalogue. Abi in fetching pinnie tied to her back. Old hippy with a long stick including added foliage in audience. Good merchandise - I bought a remix CD and two new t-shirts plus some British Tea Power tea bags. Hot, crowded and sweaty. At £14 a ticket you couldn't go wrong.
Welsh harpist and singer-songwriter Georgia Ruth brought her harp and merry backing band to Bristol last night to support British Sea Power as they hit the highroads of the West Country. I hope I'll have more to bring you as far as BSP's performance went (hint - very well) but, for now, I just want to say a few words about Ms Williams.
Georgia Ruth was given a warm welcome by the Bristol crowd, even though she did express some doubts as to how into folk music a BSP audience may be. She needn't have worried as these fans are an eclectic bunch. Georgia and the chaps played us some songs from her debut album, Week of Pines (2013). They started off with this one:
We were also treated to the title track, which I posted a week or so ago and which had a few heads bobbing and feet tapping (note coincidental rhythmic similarity to BSP's own 'Machineries of Joy') and an Appalachian tune about a dead dog called 'Blue' amongst a clutch of other gems in a short set which augers well for her gig in Cardiff next month, which your correspondent is looking forward to greatly.
Here's her set-list for Bristol, which I half-inched off the stage as Georgia and the lads exited. Shame the album was not actually on sale at the merch stand like we'd been led to believe it would be. Save it for Cardiff.
Oh, and thanks to Georgia for enabling me to get in my 'joke' about the audience being 'half-pissed' when she asked if there were any 'harpists' out there. Quite unnecessary, I know.
As far I'm aware, Dylan has only performed this great song once, at Youngstown, Ohio on 2nd November, 1992. What makes Dylan's performance extra notable is the fact that we can be certain that his source was English folk singer and guitarist Nic Jones's version from his superb Penguin Eggs album, released on Topic in 1980. How can we so sure of this? Aside from certain formal similarities in their respective takes, we also know that Bob 'borrowed' his version of the traditional 'Canadee-i-o' from the same record and put it on Good As I Been To You (1992). There was quite a bit of controversy about how close Bob's take of 'Canadee-i-o' was to Nic's at the time of release, especially as old Bobby failed to give Nic a credit. Whatever, it would seem that Mr. Dylan is a big fan of Mr. Jones.
So, where did Nic Jones find 'Farewell to the Gold'? Although it sounds traditional, this tale of tragedy amongst 19th century New Zealand gold prospectors was actually penned by Paul Metsers, who released it on his own album Caution to the Wind in 1982. Here's a lovely take by the author.
'Farewell to the Gold'
Now we have a live version by Nic Jones. If you don't have it, go and find yourselves a copy of Penguin Eggs. Shortly after its release Nic was extremely badly injured in a car crash which essentially ended his career until he, to many people's amazement, began working again just a few years ago. A singular voice of the English folk scene.
'Farewell to the Gold' (live at Knaresborough Folk Club, 1981)