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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Review – Singing From The Floor – J.P. Bean


singingfromthefloorOn and off I’ve been part of the U.K. ‘Folk Scene’. I have both performed as a dancer and played and sung in a number of local clubs and I was interested to get a deeper insight into the clubs and players and singers who frequented them in the past.

If you take a passing interest you are going to be informed by the book and it features everyone living you could possibly expect to be in it, talking about their experiences; Ewan McColl, Peggy Seeger, Martin Carthy, Ian Campbell, The Watersons, the list goes on.

It is a collection of their views, little more than a vox pops, or transcriptions of their memories and opinions, spoken directly. Unfortunately I think it suffers from this and becomes repetitive and rather pointless. The book in and of itself doesn’t interpret, it makes no assumptions, there is no larger discussion. No digest of the interviewees views. Page after page of text doesn’t really tell you anything new. You knew McColl was controlling, you knew that folk music was linked wholeheartedly with the C.N.D. and with left-wing politics, there is very little of revelation in it.

Possibly the closest I got to a joyful discovery was that Ian Campbell’s sons are the leading lights of UB40, a predominantly white U.K. Reggae ‘supergroup’.

It only confirms the frustration I have always felt with the Folk scene; where traditionalists were only ever sold a different version of the same old story, the same sell, the same hype. Yet pompously they then defended it as immoveable God blessed historically accurate tradition and refused to be swayed by those who wished to create a living breathing self-sustaining musical world. The book confirms one thing, it was folk music that killed off folk music and there is more music of the people and by the people in one Beatles melody than 50 verses of some snoring dirge from the Outer Hebrides.

And yet I feel I’m being overly harsh, for those that were there or those that have surfed dangerously on the edges of folkdom it can be a rather cozy and self satisfying read. As a participant you may have met and talked to those in the book. When they speak you are standing listening; to Martin Carthy, Liza, Martin Simpson, and Ralph Rinzler in my case.

I don’t think the book would attract a newcomer, but it would comfort a past participant and perhaps it did. Maybe I’m just a little too close to the reality of enduring Tina’s performance of her ode to marine mammals ‘seal seal, how does it feel to be a seal‘ to ever fully recover an open mind when it comes to ‘folk music’. I have great difficulty even using the term. To me it’s redolent of homespun sheep’s wool pullovers, real ale, nice people being nice to one another, dishonest suppressions of performers egos, quiet one upmanship, corn dollys and cold nights of tented sleeping next to human repositories of beery methane.

I was kind of hoping that the book might persuade me that I’ve always been a bit wrong, a bit ugly and a bit cynical about the world of Folk, but in the end..

It’s just one of those books you read to the end because you think you should rather than because you really wanted to.

Discover Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio


March 22, 2014 03:39 AM PDT
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138 Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio – Roots and Ting

Show two for 2014, and there’s lots of Roots on this one, plus a little ting, a flavourin’ a likkel Reggae sauce, and some Rocksteady spice mix pon the chicken meal that is… Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio…

Tunes are certain to include..

Barrington Levy – Come On
Don Carlos – Declaration of Rights / Dub
Jimmy Dean – Black People Must Be Free
Chantells – Natty Supper
Well Pleased and Satisfied / Unknown Deejay – Barberman Bawling / Version
Bim Sherman – Tribulation / Dub
Martin Campbell – Richman
Buring Spear – Swell Head
Gaylands – A.B.C. Rocksteady
Desmond Dekker – Pickney Gal
Freddie McKay – A Little Bit Will Do
Lord Creator – Kingston Town
Herbie Carter and the Cables – Happy Time
Pat Kelly – I Don’t Want To Go
Bob Marley and the Wailers – Thank You Lord
I-sees – With A Broken Heart
Jonnie Clarke – It’s True
Lone Ranger – Annie Palmer
Eek A Mouse – Sensee Party

You can donate to Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio here – http://bigmikeydread.podomatic.com/ look down the right hand side and hit the Paypal button.
Your donations are the ONLY funding the show receives and are what keeps it going! – THANK YOU.

You can hook up with the show and Mikey at the Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio Facebook Group – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_5364049933

Thanks for listening, and come back soon for the bestest in Jamaican music, chat, sillyness, then and now. – all the best – Mikey

And you can read about interesting stuf on Mikey’s Blog at – https://bigmikeydread.wordpress.com/

[PLAY]

Mike Murphy on Reverbnation


Go to Daddy O's in the US of A for the shirts.. me a love dem shirts..
Go to Daddy O’s in the US of A for the shirts.. me a love dem shirts..

A while back I wanted to share some old songs I’d written and a friend told me about Reverbnation, I just wanted to host some files that would widget into Facebook, so put them up there, since then the reaction has encouraged me to get some old equipment working and start writing and recording again, you can catch the old tunes, and some new ones here if you so wish > http://www.reverbnation.com/mikemurphy4

130 Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio – These are a few MORE of my favourite things Pt4


130 Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio – These are a few MORE of my favourite things Pt4
itunes pic
130 Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio – These are a few MORE of my favourite things Pt4The continuation of favourite tunes.. my part 4 for you,.. simple as.Tracks may include..

1.Prince Far I – Bedward the Preacher
2.Jim Brown – Freedom Fighter
3. Albert Malawi – Children of the Emperor
4.Johnny Osbourne – Truths and Rights
5.Michigan and Smiley – Jah Lick We
6.Wailers – Bus Dem Shut
7.Jackie Opel – Push Wood
8.maddoo – Jammin’ So
9. Baba Brooks – Baby Elephant Walk
10. Luciano and Selvie Wonder – Neighbourhood Watch
11.Cutty Ranks – Blood On The Corner
12.U-Roy – Every Knee Shall Bow
13.Unknown 7″
14.Toots and the Maytals – Reggae Got Soul
15.Errol Dunkley – Train To ZionRonnie Davis – Kaya
16.Johnny Clarke – Too Much War
17.Frankie Paul – Pass The Tushempeng
18.Cornell Campbell – Stars
19.Charmers – Skinhead Train
20.Cornell Campbell – Let’s Start Over Again

You can donate to Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio here – http://bigmikeydread.podomatic.com/ look down the right hand side and hit the Paypal button.
Your donations are the ONLY funding the show receives and are what keeps it going! – THANK YOU.

You can hook up with the show and Mikey at the Bigmikeydread Reggae Radio Facebook Group – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_5364049933

Thanks for listening, and come back soon for the bestest in Jamaican music, chat, sillyness, then and now. – all the best – Mikey

And you can read about interesting stuf on Mikey’s Blog at – https://bigmikeydread.wordpress.com/

Liam O’Flynn, Dark and Slender Boy


My true opinion, culturally snobbish, judgemental, exclusive as it is, is that if you don’t respond to this music emotionally, then you must be dead; and actually, this is so heartfelt and true and expressive of the human condition, that even the DEAD would awake to listen to it.

I actually went looking for a copy of Rakish Paddy, by Finbar Furey, which I know from a Nonsuch Lp from the 70s or late 60s, but found this instead. Well it’ll do… it’ll do.