Tag Archives: songs

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.

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

Father’s Day Top Ten Jamaican Songs


Cedric ‘Im Brooks and the Light of Saba – Song For My Father

Dennis Brown – Created By The Father

The Lyrics –  Hear What The Old Man Say

Pat Kelly – Daddy’s Home

Freddie McKay – Praising The Father

Lloyd and Patsy – Papa Do It Sweet

Luciano – Come Down Father

Derrick Morgan – Father Killam

The Maytals – Daddy

Sugar Minott – This Old Man

Calypsos from Jamaica on Ritmo


Calypsos from Jamaica – Ritmo / Sounds of the Caribbean

Calypsos from Jamaica is an album worth having for the cover alone. It has been released at least twice, on two different labels and with differing cover art. I believe the Sounds of the Caribbean release is the second of the two. From memory it does not mention that it is recorded in Jamaica B.W.I. (British West Indies), only that it is from ‘Jamaica’, which may infer that it was released after independence. The second release has a rather plain cover and is nowhere near as colourful and attractive as this classic of album art. Perhaps times had changed since it’s first release and a cover that featured artwork that has more than a dash of racism about it’s artwork was considered inappropriate?

The lack of any track listing on both Lps makes it difficult to work out exactly which singers should be attributed to the songs that are shown. I have attempted to create one here, utilising Roots Knotty Roots the guide to Jamaican single releases compiled by Bob Shoenfeld and Mike Turner and my own knowledge such as it is. I hope that those of you who either own the Lp or wish to will find it easier now to match the singers, with the songs.

Bob unfortunately is no longer with us, but Mike’s work continues with Algoriddim and the creation of an online Jamaican Single Release Discography. Those of us who regularly leaf through the paper copy will certainly enjoy the prospect of an online resource.

The rear of the Lp lists a few artists that are on the Lp, but un-helpfully, not all of them. Those artists are – Lord Flea, Hubert Porter, Wigglers and Lord Lebby, all well-known Mento’ists and Calypsonians.

Details of the two different issues are thus:

1st Issue (Above)

VINYL    LP    VARIOUS ARTISTES, LORD FLEA, HUBERT PORTER, LORD LEBBY    – CALYPSOS FROM JAMAICA  –  Label =   RITMO    Catalogue number – 12-503    LP  A Side Matrix 12 503 A1 Producer? (Ken Khouri) / Released in the U.S.A.

2nd Issue

VINYL    LP    VARIOUS ARTISTES – CALYPSOS FROM JAMAICA – Label = SOUNDS OF THE CARIBBEAN  –  A Side Matrix slp 734 a 1-14-71    Producer? (Ken Khouri) – Released in the U.S.A.

Tracklisting:

A1    HUBERT PORTER    – RUM AND COCONUT WATER
A2    LORD TICKLER    – LIMBO DANCE
A3    HUBERT PORTER & HIS JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS    – NOT ME
A4    LORD LEBBY    – DR. KINSEY
A5    LORD FLEA & HIS JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS    – SOLAS MARKET / WATER COME FROM ME EYE
A6    HUBERT PORTER & HIS JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS    – MARY’S LAMB
B1    WIGGLERS    – LINSTEAD MARKET / DAYO
B2    HUBERT PORTER & HIS JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS    – OLD LADY YOU MASH ME TOE
B3    WIGGLERS    – JAMAICA MERMAID
B4    LORD LEBBY & HIS JAMAICAN CALYPSONIANS    – MAMA DON’T WANT NO PEAS NO RICE
B5    HUBERT PORTER    – TEN PENNY NAIL
B6    HUBERT PORTER    – MISS GOOSIE

All the songs appear to have been originally recorded by one producer Ken Khouri, and most of them originally released on 78rpm on the Jamaican ‘Kalypso’ label and also on the U.K. based ‘Times’ label, and one or two also in the USA on ‘Ritmo’, which would tie in nicely with the 33rpm Lp release and possibly help to confirm it as the 1st of the two known pressings.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Jamaican Mento / Calypso then Mike Garnice’s web site Mento Music is an excellent place to find out more. http://www.mentomusic.com/