Bright Phoebus – Songs by Lal and Mike Waterson – A review


R-2047800-1260722169.jpegIt seems odd to review an L.p. first released in 1972, but hey, this is new to me, so it may be new to you too. Or you may have been trying to decide to get it or not since 1972 and this just might make up your mind.

I first ran into Lal and Mike Waterson’s own song writing and output as a result of listening to the Anne Briggs’s ‘classic’ L.p. ‘The Time Has Come’, which features a recorded version of ‘Fine Horseman’ by Lal Waterson. ‘Fine Horseman’ is a sublimely poetic song populated by Hardy’esque imagery and it had me intrigued in seconds. Then, when quite by chance I happened upon a re-release of ‘Bright Phoebus’ the 1972 L.p. by Lal and Mike Waterson (and others) which contained Lal singing her own version of this, the song she had penned, I just had to pick it up.

As a brief background, Anne Briggs was sometimes known as the honorary fifth Waterson of the Watersons, a British group of folks singers mostly (during its original tenure) from the same family, one that virtually defined traditional unaccompanied folk song tradition in the folk clubs of Great Britain during the British Folk Revival of the earlier 1960s. What many now lovingly refer to the ‘Wax on me finger’, or ‘Finger in the ear’ genre of folk. (Actually that’s a lie, but they might do for all its urgent self righteousness)

thetimehascome_64612The L.p. has already seen two or three re-issues on c.d. and vinyl and was for a time an underground classic, passed between devotees on ropey self duplicated tape cassettes. This issue from 2017 sees Domino Recording Co Ltd re-issue it on REWIGLP102 in a gatefold format with a good quality booklet and sleeve notes, telling the story of Lal and Mike’s development from members of the traditional singing group into songwriters, and the story of this L.p.’s recording.

The album initially gained rave reviews in much of the music press, but simultaneously alienated stick in the mud brigades of ‘don’t you mess with our traditional music’ fans (who had lots of wax stuck on their fingers, and fingers in ears), which slowed acceptance and sales. The L.p. crept into collective memory and slept on the back shelves of old dusty record stores. However it has since become a wonderful example of musical creation and invention and of the power of musical Art to conquer ears and stupidity over time.

In my mind the album links the Watersons traditionally bound unaccompanied singing style, and that school, with the development of Folk Rock by those such as Fairport Convention. I think it little surprise that Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks, Tim Hart and Maddy Prior are all helping out in various ways on ‘Bright Phoebus’, it makes perfect sense. Sticking the two together with guitar glue is Martin Carthy. Having redefined English Folk music by translating it to an instrument not traditionally used for it, he’s the all too important chain link in the album’s musical integrity I believe. Richard Thompson will I believe always be a Rock guitarist who got interested in Folk, not a Folk guitarist who has dabbled with Rock; and so it is Carthy that translates what Lal and Mike Waterson are trying to do here into something we can all ‘get’.

So I’ve alluded to some of the collective that combined to produce the music on this L.p., but what about the songs? As usual it’s such a personal thing, what a song means to any person that I am loathe to impose my opinion on you the potential listener and would much rather you shelled out your hard-earned moolah for a copy, and made your own mind up. However one thing is certain, they are dark in the main, mystery laden, intangible, phantom like songs. You expect the Hound of the Baskervilles to howl on backing vocals, you can hear the creak of the Reddle man’s wagon through the marsh mist rising from the ground as you drop the needle. The rain drizzles onto the stone Church’s boundary walls it dusts onto the heart’s tongue ferns and into the grooves of the record, hope dies, and in the morning sun, is reborn.

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Bridget St John – Two Lps and A short introduction


Dandelion Days

It’s been over two years since I posted anything on this blog, shame on me!
More importantly it should be of some indication as to the esteem in which I hold this lady to get back to posting and to write something about her and her music.

So for a good long time I’ve been trying to find my female voice, my female singer. As a collector of records I have over the years realised that my collection is highly male centric, and it’s been a difficulty finding a female voice I really like. I’ve dabbled with Grace Jones, Marianne Faithful, Nico and those that just happened to come along; but just recently I stopped for a second to realise that it’s the English female folk voice I hold highest and went off to search further. Subsequently checking out Anne Briggs, Maddy Prior, June Tabor, Sandy Denny and more before alighting on Bridget St John.

Bridget initially appeared playing at Sheffield University, disappeared off to France for a bit, reappeared and hooked up with John Martyn; Martyn introduced her to John Peel and Dandelion Records the now famous (and highly collectable) Peel funded and often Peel produced label was formed initially to release her material. It released three Lps. She later did one more for Crysalis records, critical acclaim.. shorthand for didn’t make enough money for the label.

Later she gave it up or at least that’s how it reads to those that didn’t live a life, her life, she moved to Greenwich Village, and now happily gigs infrequently in the US and UK. Potted history. She does wonderful things like speak beautiful French to the French crowd that come to see and hear her play at the filmed gig I watched months ago on Youtube.

Sounds?

Like a deeper Nico, a velveteen female Nick Drake. A serious contender, passionate, mature, connected to nature, bound by cosmic debris, wistful, romantic, poetic, mystical, wonder-full, original, a one off, a superstar that didn’t superstar like Joni and thank goodness.

Lps?

Her Lps are not cheap to get in their original form, frankly you’ll probably have to spend over £100 for the first two and a little less on the third for the Dandelion Lps. For you will want to get them in decent and listenable condition. Worth doing as with quieter acoustic passages, you really don’t want too much snap crackle and pop. It detracts.

The first Lp – Ask Me No Questions

bridget-st-john-s-63750-ab

So.. fairly standard fare as far as arrangements and instrumentation, but beautifully written songs with more than one featuring John Martyn too. The title track, I will admit made me uncontrollably boo my little manly eyes out, such was it’s love connectedness.

I love it and as with other Bridget St John Lps don’t expect to gain entry to it straight away, you get value for money with her output, it takes at least two listens, two concentrated listens where you aren’t distracted by the ironing or cooking something to feed your growling belly to get into it.. This is one of the things I do like about her, yes the original Vinyl may set you back (there are lots of reissues) but you get your money’s worth! Her guitar playing is subtle and understated, nothing is too ornamented, everything is there for good reason. It’s very much a debut Lp, feet finding, slightly bigger than baby steps for sure, but you get the feeling throughout that there’s something very grown up going to arrive in later career, and there is… the next Lp, which is one giant leap for mankind and a pretty giant leap for Bridget St John and popular music in general.

The second Lp – Songs For The Gentle Man

MI0002020521

This is the one I think, Ron Geesin takes the production credit and arranged much of the strings, Ron is the Dad of a friend of mine, I know Ron, he’s a bit of a genius, mad genius, but genius all the same and now I want to talk to him about making this Lp.

It’s actually a bit beyond description, there aren’t easy to pluck reference points to throw at you, happy little musical links with other people’s output, it’s too original for that, too special.
It’s going to perplex you a little, widen your ears a little, ask you to engage a little more than most, you may have to work a bit to absorb fully this Lp, but it’s worth it. It also has one of the most beautiful labels ever created, anywhere, ever, or at least one side of the record does. I’ll put it somewhere below for you to enjoy.

 

Dandelion Three

Bridget St John actually recorded three Lps for Dandelion, but look I’ll be honest here, I haven’t got the third Lp yet, sure I’ve heard bits and it sounds damn good, but I was so excited about the first two, I had to write this blog, while I’m saving up.. again.

Get all three!

R-4299208-1450205249-7737.png

 

 

Newest Bogumil Bad Bwoy Lp Art


00007
Yes your kind of country, no black people, no immigration, no unusual vegetables at market, like Poland potato.

 

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Disco Drum, and volume two Disco Guitar, until whole set, including golden Cocaine spoon and hairy chest wigs. Available in 92 easy instalment.

 

00002
Exekcusel me, you have pencce pieces? My career on skids, one old fold singer going cheap..

 

00003
Love in all agges, Golden Days original Lp came with Lubricant, very rare to find with original sex Lubes.

 

00004
Look at my lovely rich things, Hank Snow show us joy of being middle of road totally forgotten now, but rich with USA capitalist goods from Winn Dixie origins.

 

00005
As Englisies say, ‘Our ‘Enry’ , Barry Sheen and Henry Brut Apres Rasage adverts are institution, like wot ‘Enry was commited to after this Lp outpouring.

 

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I don’t care where you were from, you looking like you were fruit of ugly tree, and music bland.

Bogumil – Album Cover Art Super Bad More and Agains


Bogumil Says:

‘Hello again, so it’s time for another comment on your favorite off the awful cover art critic, Bogumil. How many of you already know that I’m a Polish gentleman who collects LP with works of art truly shite and puts them on here – ‘Traces Musical’ with permission for you all to enjoy.

Again, although this time I was recently on a new trip to England, where he focused on collecting in the south east of the country again and this time they have come up with some doozies! Namely, Will Conrad and West Lps (of which I hope at least one copy of the guideline in if I find a place), and the upper reservoir of the last Lp joyfullness see. Enjoy, as they say in the best Polish restaurant, as you begin to eat boiled carp fish.’

Will Conrad, wondering where it is in this sense, you know? Answers on a postcard please Bogumil, located near the Potato, Poland.
Read sign, tell me please?
Another cover of Lp by Will Conrad and the West, these boys have to be famous, so where are they now? Scraping the dung to a local farmer? Wonderful drawing skills.
Accordion band, or a mental escape people? You decide.
When a man has a florid face and too jovial way, it usually indicates that something is terribly wrong, do not you think? Leaning also, same angle guitar and tree and guy, work of genius!!
Wow, oh to be strong Polish moustacche man on the bus after the ceremony the girls after work drink.
We'll meet again, and I know where, at the Central facelift, contractors budget wrinkle in Warsaw.
Auntie Vera, wartime spirit. Much sexual activity in older ladies, no lie!
In Poland, every night is party night. I'll drink potato vodka all night ... all night!
Mrs. Mills was a good horse, and donkey, the most reliable and musically Showoff. Pissed, always.
Engelbert Humperdinck, really his name? He will soon be representing Great Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest ... Nil points for name and then lips that look like chicken's bum crack.
Have not I always thought Acker Bilk's name sounded like a man vommitting? In this case, you probably saw the cover of Lp!
Looks like they found the secret of fashion victims Garden Blue Peter!
Pobierz swoje dziecko tank top, masz pociągnął!

A final note from Bogumil

Rumors reached me that some of my words are getting confused when I use Google translate, it is unfortunate, but nothing I can do in this situation. I asked Google to improve the translation quality, but sadly to say that currently have no plans to even bother to think about Poland at all ever.

Please accept my apologies, and until next time, ma wspaniałe życie.

Bogumił.

Calypso Date! MRS LOML 503 12″ Mento Lp


Oh that smile!

Calypso Date – MRS Lp LOML 503

For those Mento mad amongst you here are some details that I hope you will find of interest. Click on the images for larger versions of the files, and in the case of the rear cover, readable text, though I will include that text here for all to see. The sleeve notes are unusually well written and include descriptions of the songs and their background history in some cases.

Details:

LP    MRS    VARIOUS ARTISTES    CALYPSO DATE    LOML 503    SMOL 105 1B    STANLEY MOTTA    JAMAICA    1950s

(anyone out there have a date of release, if so please contact me here at Musical Traces)

Sleeve Notes:

The most remarkable feature of this album is its variety. Here is represented the whole broad gamut of Jamaica’s music, the sly, ironic humour, the warm spontaneity, the carefree and gay attitude towards life that is so much part of Jamaica. This music is bred of the brilliant colour and contrasts that inspire the Jamaican troubadour; and out of it flows the endless, subdued excitement that life in one of the world’s most beautiful islands inspires.

In this album are Calypsos and Mentos. The Calypso is the generic ballad of the Caribbean, the song that is inspired by the life of the community – the young girl who lives gaily but not wisely; the house with the leaking roof. These are the creations of Calypsonians who vie with each other to create songs of humour, of double meaning, of perceptive wit. The Mento is the music of Jamaica, the solid, thumping rhythm of music that in its beat and texture is subtly Jamaican, as distinguishable to the tuned ear as is the difference between the Merengue of Haiti and the Samba of Brazil. And there are the other ageless songs, those that are chanted by workmen as they bend their muscles to rhythmic work saved from monotony by song, or the gay song of welcome when the pretty young girl comes to visit.

These are the songs and the sounds of Jamaica, ever exciting and interesting, that will become familiar and beloved as you listen to them. This is the music of a beautiful land, inspired by its ageless hills and white sand beaches, its gay, laughing people and the rhythm of its sun-bright days. This is the music for you on your Jamaican date.

The songs:

SIDE 1

Linstead Market – The ackee is an attractive fruit of red, yellow and black, and when combined with salted cod makes one of the most popular native dishes. This song tells the sad tale of a higgler in the famous market of Linstead, on the road to Ocho Rios, who fails to find customers to buy her ackees at Saturday market.

The Naughty Little Flea – The humble flea occurs in the songs of many countries. If you listen carefully to the lyrics you’ll chuckle at the rather unique situation in which the little insect found itself.

Hill and Gully Ride – A rousing shout song that is used by Jamaican workmen. It follows the pattern of many rhythmic work songs in its responsive form, and is a folk song of rather more antiquity than the calypso which has been popular recently.

Matilda (and) Gal-A-Gully – The first is a Jamaican adaptation of a Trinidad song, one in which a hardworking young man is deceived by a scheming young miss who lifts his money and takes off for Venezuela. The second is Jamaican, the plaintive comment of a granny who asks her grandaughter just why she is going to the gully…’A Whey you-a go a-gully fa’.

This Long Time Gal A Never See You – A happy song of welcome, the lyrics of which are self-explanatory.

The Little Fly – Anyone who has had to clean a mirror can appreciate some of the more irritating habits of the fly. This song is one man’s comment.

SIDE2

Take Her To Jamaica – This song has become a standard in Jamaica. It is sung by calypsonians on all occasions and gives very good advice indeed.

Kitch – Lord Kitchener is one of the finest of the Trinidad calypsonians, and this song recounts his experiences with a rather insistent young lady.

Dry Weather House – It seldom rains heavily in Jamaica, but when it does all the defects of a house that is suited to dry weather show up.

Healin’ In De Balm Yard – The balm yard in Jamaica is the gathering place of members of a primitive evangelical sect. To balm yard gatherings they bring their troubles and woes where these can be banished.

Limbo – One of the most exciting dances, the limbo is done to a repetitious song that is almost hypnotic in its appeal. Some of the excitement and verve of this African ritual is caught in this song.

Brown Skin Gal – A young lady is told to take life more seriously. Rather than spend so much time living the high life, she is told to ‘Stay home and mind baby’.

Click to see bigger...

Bogumil and his rekordowych zbiorów of shitty records


My Holidays

Hello everyones, I, Bogumil and I was lucky to have met so many great Lps shitty this time on a big spending spree for the purchase of Bexhill On Sea, East Sussex England. Every year, my wife has her mustache and plan your vacation around a visit to the European center of excellence for the record collection and turn this summer sexy city in England, where old people go to die and leave an ugly record. Fucking so unique.
Here they are, to reflect and reach orgasm.
nice

Love Bogumil

Here they is:

 

Russ, that is no place to tinkle your Ivories.
Bogumil recently re-design his living room to modern high standard. It look just like this now.
Balony, ja po prostu kocham Ballons i co możesz z nimi zrobić.
The barren lady looks on, while the old man gets jiggy with the family dog and girl reads porno magazine. English perverts! Perverted filth, makes me so mad.
What is so majical of Val Doonican. Is it that hides in the white rabbit in a hat?
Hello Sexy Man?!
Yaya Yay - 'Happy Hammond', always happy, better sales than 'Suicidal Steinway', or 'Wanker's Wurlizter'.
More Happy instrumentation, this time More Happy Piano.
Thank for him, he was a blind man, or he could have seen this puking album cover!
Cowboy and Country Western peoples, scultped from Dog Pooings?
Harry, man of Bogumil dreams, nightmares, that grin, that grin, that grin, go away.
Love is like Violin? In your case probably out of tune and catching in your extreme mutton chop businesses in 70s causing screechy nasty.
He is man all out of love and needing.
Who this rare Pussy cat band on Sonet records, new one to Bogumil. Helping me?
Dad, is that you. Suffering from Potato only diet. I recognise?
Just sad.
Please take your wing out my ass bird.
Oooh Betty, Polish Franking Spencer,,, what a gay day, sorry wrong sitting comedy.
What style is Jimmy Noon style is this gurning old man style Jimmy Noon?
It's not unusual
Rudolf the scary hand pervert had a very shiny sztywne jeden.
Afterwards I make sweet organ music for you.
This one ugly Lp cover exactly, but it classic so showing you this lp cover actually. You can see her Brasil nuts if you look close.
Welcome to my couch, yes and I will try to avoid your brain as it looks like it is considerably crazy in this time.

And that my friends as they say in showbiz, is all the fat lady sings today. Thank you for watching another Bogumil, more come soon.

Thanks,

Bogumil.

The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978 – 1983


The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978 – 1983

 

Interesting compilation coming out on Bristol Archive Records seeing an official release in the early part of next year, though it is available to purchase in advance here – http://bristolarchiverecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-bristol-reggae-explosion-1978-1983

I’ve got a promo copy for the car and have particularly enjoyed Ressurection’s – Four Point Plan, apparently Ressurection featured a young Rob Smith on guitar, he’s better known now as Smith of Smith N’ Mighty, reknowned remixers. Like a lot of good things, he hails from Bristol.

Bristol is and was one of the important musical and particularly Jamaican musical hotspots in the UK, and alongside Birmingham and London is was where it was all happening back in the day, check out your intro into the Bristolian affect on this release, heartily recommended.

Here is what the label says about it:

THE BRISTOL REGGAE EXPLOSION 1978-1983

Released on CD, VINYL and DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

Release date 21st February 2011

From Pop to Punk, the late seventies and early eighties saw a huge explosion in the number of local bands as more and more people thought they’d give it a go, new studios and independent labels weren’t far behind and Reggae wasn’t going to be left out of the musical mix.

If the majors were even aware of Bristol they showed minimal interest and it was left to the bands themselves and the handful of indie labels to document Bristol’s contribution to what was then a vibrant UK Reggae scene. Working on tight budgets and with no money for marketing campaigns local bands managed to release a small, but steady flow of vinyl, mostly pressed in tiny quantities and often sold direct to fans at gigs, these records, although cherished by those who own them, and sought by those in the know, have been largely ignored by the wider music industry.

Fortunately Bristol music has its own champion in the shape of Bristol Archive Records, a label with a mission to share our great musical heritage with the world, “The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983” is the first and only attempt to document the local Reggae scene from the late seventies until the early eighties. With the exception of the Black Roots tracks none of the recordings have ever been reissued and all were originally released before CD had been launched, so this is their debut in the digital format.

The music itself reflects the dominance of the Roots style in Bristol, even today Roots is by far the most popular type of Reggae in both the retail and live scenes locally, Black Roots live up to their name and show why they were the equal of any UK Reggae band in their day, Talisman, Restriction and 3D Production follow in their Roots footsteps, but a real highlight of this release is the inclusion of the ultra rare “Africa Is Our land” from Joshua Moses, a UK Roots classic. Bristol wasn’t all about Roots though and the other tracks follow a more mellow template, dealing with love and relationships, both Talisman and Joshua Moses show another side to their music and are joined by tracks from Buggs Durrant, The Radicals and Sharon Bengamin who’s “Mr. Guy” is a classic UK Lover’s track in the mould of Janet Kay, Carroll Thompson, Louisa Marks et al.

“The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983” will be released as a fourteen track CD, but you can’t have a proper Reggae release without it being on vinyl so there will be a very limited vinyl pressing featuring an eight track selection and just to keep things local the sleeve art is a mid-eighties carnival shot from Bristol’s own Beezer, (www.beezerphotos.com), featuring a classic image of Jah Revelation sound-system.
This release will shine the spotlight on a long neglected corner of the UK Reggae scene and Bristol’s musical heritage, the same music that would help underpin Bristol’s musical dominance in the following decade.
www.bristolarchiverecords.com

credits
released 21 February 2011
The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978 – 1983

Track listing:

01. Black Roots : Bristol Rock (Bunny Marrett) (Arranged by Black Roots) p Nubian Music 1981

02. Joshua Moses : Africa (Is Our Land) (Joshua Moses 1978) p Copyright Control 1978

03. Talisman : Run Come Girl – Live (Taylor / Talisman 1980) p Recreational Music 1981

04. Restriction : Four Point Plan (Restriction 1983) p Unitone Publishing 1983

05. Black Roots : Tribal War 12” Mix (Black Roots) p Nubian Music 1981

06. Restriction : Restriction (Restriction 1983) p Unitone Publishing 1983

07. Joshua Moses : Pretty Girl (Joshua Moses 1979) p Unitone Publishing 1979

08. Talisman : Wicked Dem – Live ( Taylor / Talisman 1980) p Recreational Music 1981

09. The Radicals : Nights Of Passion ( John Carley 1980) p Copyright Control 1980

10. Sharon Bengamin : Mr Guy (Unknown 1980) p Unitone Publishing 1980

11. Black Roots : Juvenile Delinqent (Black Roots) p Nubian Music

12. Buggs Durrant : Baby Come Back(Home) (Errol Williams 1983) p Unitone Publishing 1983

13. 3-D Production : Riot (John Carley 1980) p Third Kind Music 1980

14. Talisman : Dole Age 12” Mix ( Joseph / Talisman 1981) p Recreational Music 1981

Tracks 1, 5, 11 originally released on Nubian Records
Track 2 originally released on More Cut Records
Track 3 and 8 previously unreleased Live Recordings
Track 4 and 6 originally released on Restriction Records 1983
Track 7, 10 and 12 originally released on Shoc Wave Records 1979, 1980 and 1983
Track 9 originally released on The Bristol Recorder 2 1980
Track 13 originally released on Third Kind Records 1980
Track 14 originally released on Recreational Records 1981

Track 1, 5 and 11 Engineered by UK Scientist, Recorded at The Facility, Produced by UK Scientist and Black Roots
Track 2 Engineered by Dennis Bovell, Recorded at Gooseberry Studios London, Produced by Dennis Bovell
Track 3 Recorded Live at Glastonbury Festival
Track 4 and 6 Engineered and Mixed by The Mad Professor, Recorded at Ariwa Sound Studios London, Produced by Restriction
Track 7, 10 and 12 Produced by Gene Walsh, Recording location unknown
Track 8 Recorded Live at Bath University
Track 9 Engineered and Produced by David Lord at Crescent Studios Bath
Track 13 Recording location unknown, Arranged and Produced by Ron Green
Track 14 Engineered by David Lord at Crescent Studios Bath, Mixed by UK Scientist, Produced by Talisman and UK Scientist

All tracks re-mastered by Steve Street, July 2010
All Rights Reserved

P c Bristol Archive Records 2010

Thanks to

Martin Langford, Steve Street, Sam Giles, Gene Walsh/Joshua Moses / Shoc Wave, Brendan, Des, Denison / Talisman, Jabulani Ngozi / Black Roots, John Carley, Rob Smith / Restriction, Adrian at Great Bear, Lloyd Harris / Chris Parker/Recreational Records, Alfredo / Nubian Records, St.Pauls Carnival Office / Steve , Thomas Brooman CBE / The Bristol Recorder People, Gary Chapple and “all the musicians who played on these tracks”.

Photo credits: Thanks to the original photographers and artwork designers with whom copyright remains on their work

Front cover image Beezer

Artwork by samgilesdesign@gmail.com

This album is dedicated to Mark Simpson and Trinity Hall

Bristol Archive Records, July 2010
www.bristolarchiverecords.com
email: info@bristolarchiverecords.com