Tuesday, August 11, 2015
My favourite is the four autographs of Van Morrison, Billy Harrison, Alan Henderson and Pete Bardens of 'Them'. It dates from 1965. I acquired it from a friend of mine called Phil from Trowbridge. I thought I was the biggest Van fan in my local area but I only got into Van in 1973. Phil has been a fan since 1964. He saw Them three times. Firstly in 1964 at the Top Twenty Club in Trowbridge just after their first single 'Don't Start Crying Now' was released. Phil says that even then Van was something special, he stood out from the rest of the band. Phil also saw Them in 65 at a club in Bournemouth and later at The Pavilion in Bath. I haven't been able to find any record of these gigs but I know they happened. In those days at small clubs you didn't even get tickets, you just paid on the door and often they were arranged at very short notice.
It was at the Bournemouth gig that Phil got the autographs. A friend of his from Melksham was in a band called 'Dave Bishop And The Preachers' and they were the support act for Them which gave Phil the chance to get the autographs of four of the band on the inside of a cigarette packet. There is one member of the band missing and Phil thinks it was either Pat McCauley or his brother Jackie McCauley. The trouble is that Them changed their line-up so often it is hard to know who was in the band from one gig to another. Phil told me one funny story about that night. Van asked the support band if they had a harmonica that he could borrow and they lent him one. After the gig they went to Them's dressing room but the security wouldn't let them in and they never got the harmonica back. Phil had kept that precious cigarette packet for fifty years till I persuaded him to part with it.
Another of my favourites is a poster that I got last year from the front doors of the Lyric Theatre in London when Van presented 'Lit Up Inside', an evening of words and music. What an unforgettable night that was. A few months earlier I had managed to get Van's autograph after a concert at the Brighton Dome and I had the poster and the autograph framed along with my ticket to give it extra provenance. I must say it looks rather splendid.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine called Dail who is a very talented artist gave me prints of three pictures of Van which she had done which I also think are great.
Anyway, that's my Van pictures so far. I bet after Belfast in three weeks time I will have some more souvenirs to frame. See you in Belfast !
Showed me pictures in the gallery
Showed me novels on the shelf
Put my hands across the table
Gave me knowledge of myself.
Nice story and a nice collection Pat. To answer your question about the members of Them in the photo, you are right. Billy Harrison is not in it. They are Joe Baldi, Terry Noone, Peter Bardens, Van and Alan Henderson. The missing signature was probably Pat McAuley, as Bardens replaced Jackie McAuley in April '65. Baldie replaced Harrison, and Noone replaced Pat McAuley in Jun '65.
Sunday, August 09, 2015
This year I went with my friends Chris, Chrissie and Sasha. It was a beautiful summers evening when we arrived. Already there were about 15,000 people there enjoying picnics in the sunshine.It seemed even busier than the crowd for Robert Plant last year. We had to walk all the way across to the far side until we found a nice spot with a good view of the stage. When we arrived there was already a band on-stage called 'The Drystones' who had been drafted in at the last minute because Joan Armatrading had pulled out due to acute Laryngitis. It will be interesting to see if she makes her next gig in Scotland on Tuesday. The Drystones are a local folk group and the crowd seemed to quite enjoy them. The most memorable song for me was their version of Plastic Bertrand's 'Ca Plane Pour Moi'.
We tucked into our picnic after that. As usual we had brought far too much food so I will be living off picnic food for the next few days. We had also brought copious amounts of wine, cider and beer. The next band on were 'The Shires'. They are an English country duo of Ben Earle & Crissie Rhodes. After only one album they have attracted a lot of attention and are the first English Country band to be signed by a major Nashville label. I though they were quite pleasant but compared to other Americana influenced bands such as 'First Aid Kit' I don't think they are that great. The most memorable songs for me were their versions of 'Dreams' by Fleetwood Mac and 'Islands In The Stream' by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton.
It was up to Ray Davies and his band to make the night really memorable and I must say he was on great form and delivered a brilliant set of songs which included 'I'm Not Like Everybody Else', 'Tired Of Waiting For You', 'Sunny Afternoon', 'Dedicated Follower Of Fashion','Dead End Street', 'Victoria/20th Century Man', 'Till The End Of The Day', 'Misfits', 'Come Dancing', 'Long Way From Home',' Rock N Roll Cowboys', 'Oklahoma USA', 'All Day And All Of The Night', 'Days', 'Waterloo Sunset' , 'Lola' and 'You Really Got Me'. I think there were a few other songs as well but I didn't know what they were called. I was a bit disappointed that he didn't do Village Green Preservation Society but there can be no doubt that Ray Davies is one of the greatest songwriters in the history of British popular music. Easily up there with Lennon, McCartney, Jagger, Richards etc. He is 71 now so it was a privilege to see such a great artist performing so well.
The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display and then we packed our stuff up and headed homeward after a brilliant evening. Thank you very much Michael Eavis for organising the event
I don't know about any of those other musicians on that list but the only one that I can think of to celebrate in song the fact he was born in 1945 is Van Morrison in his song Wild Children on his seventh album, the very underrated Hard Nose The Highway released in 1973. It also features on the greatest live album ever made called It's Too Late To Stop Now.I don't know if Van's dad was in the army during the war because he worked in the Harland And Wolff shipyard and was probably kept busy building ships but that is beside the point. Wild Children is probably my second favourite song on the Hard Nose album after Warm Love , (You can listen to the song below if you want) and is about the influences on the kids of 45 growing up in the 50's and the people who inspired them such as Marlon Brando and James Dean, films like On The Waterfront and the plays of Tennessee Williams. Anyway at the concert in Cyprus Avenue on Van's birthday I think as well as the song Cyprus Avenue he should include Wild Children in his set-list. I have never seen him perform it live so that would be great. Roll on August 31st!.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
My friends Jacky & Bill arrived at my house in Westbury on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon we loaded up the car and headed for the festival site which is only five minutes away. We collected our wrist-bands at the entrance and soon found Margaret, Wayne, Hannah, Sam, Ellen, Daisy and the one and only George. Hannah's brother Paul joined us on Saturday to complete our gang. As well as their tents they had also brought an event shelter which was great when it rained and was the envy of the camp-site. Lots of people asked where it came from and with a long table,lots of chairs and Sam's music machine we partied in there every night. The festival didn't officially start till Friday evening so after a couple of hours at the club house we chilled out most of the night back at camp. Outside the club-house though I got talking to a lady from Kent who was playing the violin in some band and it turned out that she is a good friend of Rob & Alison who were my mates on the litter-picking at Glastonbury. What a small world it is.
Friday morning I was rudely awaken by the sound of rain on my tent. Jacky, Bill & I went back to my house for breakfast and the rain got heavier. Apparently a months rain fell in one day on the Friday. We were in no mood to hurry back so we didn't return on-site till about 5.00. At about 7.00 I decided it was time to hear some live music so I wandered down to the White Horse Stage and caught some of Jez Lowe who I thought was really good. I discovered him years ago listening to Mike Harding's radio show.
Saturday was the best day. It was sunny all day long. We went back to mine and after breakfast Jacky & Bill went up to the White Horse for a while and I went to bed for a couple of hours and walked back to the site in the afternoon. I found all the gang up by the main stage. It was incredible after all the rain how quickly the ground dried out and you could actually sit on the grass and listen to the music. I can't remember who we were listening to on Saturday afternoon because we spent a lot of time outside chatting and telling jokes. I know Saturday evening I saw Polly Barrett on the White Horse stage who I had never heard of before. She comes from Cork and I thought she was great.
The rain returned on Sunday but I really enjoyed the day. Jacky & Bill love walking so on Sunday afternoon I took them to Lake Shearwater and we had a nice walk round it. It was raining but we had all the wet-weather gear so it didn't matter and stopped off on the way back to site at a nice pub called the Angel Inn. That's the great thing about the Village Pump Festival if you don't want to be on site all the time there are lots of nice places to visit nearby.
I got back in time to catch the end of a performance by Keith Christmas. He is a great singer-songwriter and guitarist who I have seen a few times now. I think Keith was the first act ever booked for the Village Pump Folk Club at the Lamb Pub in Trowbridge in 1970 so it is great to see him still going strong. I particularly liked the final song called 'If The Kids Won't March' which is a new song and shows Keith is still writing topical relevant songs. I'm looking forward to a new album soon from Keith.
At the main stage I just had time to hear some of a great set by a Welsh band called Calan. Then I dashed back to the White Horse Stage because I wanted to see two legends of folk music Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick. I have been a fan of Swarb' for about 45 years,ever since he joined Fairport Convention and he has survived some terrible health issues in recent years so it was great to see him still playing his violin and he still has his great sense of humour. I last saw Martin playing in a band called Imagined Village with his daughter Eliza at the Cheese and Grain in Frome a couple of years ago. I think their set was the musical highlight of the weekend for me.
I crawled into my sleeping bag about 2.00 in the morning and next day we had the tents down and packed and left by about 9.00. It had been a brilliant weekend despite the rain. Thank you very much John Alderslade and all the team for all the hard work in creating such a great festival for us all to enjoy. Long may it continue. See you next year !
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
'Just Wanna See You So Bad'. ( Written by Lucinda Williams)
'Return Of The Grievous Angel' ( I first heard this on a Gram Parson's album about 42 years ago which my friend Fred had. Gram co-wrote this song with Emmylou I think. Really nice pedal steel guitar on this one.)
'Pancho And Lefty' ( Written by Townes Van Zandt)
'Till I Gain Control Again' ( Sung by Rodney)
'If You Needed Me' ( Also written by Townes Van Zandt I think. Really nice accordion playing on this song)
'Invitation To The Blues' ( A Roger Miller song)
'Red Dirt Girl' ( Emmylou at her best)
'The Houston Kid' ( Rodney sings one of his own songs)
'Love Hurts' ( Brilliant classic song)
'Back When We Were Beautiful' ( Wonderful song from one of their duets albums)
'Bring It On Home To Memphis' ( Another great duet)
'Travelling Kind' ( I think they said this was written by Cory Chisel)
'You Can't Say We Didn't Try'
'The Weight Of The World' ( Really nice keyboard playing on this song)
'Chase The Feeling' ( I think this is a Kris Kristofferson song)
'Dreaming My Dreams'
'Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight' ( Accordion gives this song a nice Cajun feel)
'We Are Counting The Stars'
'Old Yellow Moon' ( One of the highlights for me, a really nice duet)
'Stars On The Water'
'Even Cowgirls Get The Blues'
'Boulder To Birmingham' ( Fabulous song, my all time favourite Emmylou song which she wrote in the aftermath of the death of Gram Parsons)
I think I might have missed a couple of songs where I didn't know the title of the song so didn't write anything down. A big hand for Emmylou, Rodney, their excellent band and especially the road crew for getting the show from Spain to Bristol. What a great night it was.
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
I have seen him twice before, In Bristol and at a friends party and have two of his albums but I wouldn't say I was an expert on his music. I promised a couple of friends who are big fans of Duke that I would write a review of his performance but it was nearly two weeks ago now so you will have to forgive any mistakes or things I have forgotten.The previous occasions I have seen Duke it was just himself and a piano but at Glastonbury he also had a drummer and a guitarist with him.The drummer looked a really interesting character with the drums adorned with all sorts of strange gadgets on them.
The first song that Duke performed was Going In A Field by the late great Ivor Cutler. It was originally on Ivor's 1967 album called Ludo.I think Duke must be a huge fan of Ivor because I have heard him sing other songs of his. I remember seeing Ivor myself at a festival in Cornwall called The Elephant Fayre back in the early 80's. That was followed by Nail On The Head from Dukes new album Look Out Machines which I haven't heard yet. The next song was called Hand Of Man and Duke said it was about a train. It is from the album Under The Dark Cloth. An album inspired by the work of pioneering American photographers. One of my own personal favourite songs of Duke followed, Last Night I Nearly Died, But I Woke Up Just In Time. I think Duke was driving home from a gig one night and fell asleep at the wheel which inspired the song. Another song from the new album was next and Duke said it was about Belfast and was called In A Dive.I must get that album because the songs sound great. Next up was Duke's version of Alabama Song also known as Whiskey Bar which was originally a poem by Bertold Brecht and set to music by Kurt Weill. It was originally sung by Lotte Lenya I think and has also been recorded by The Doors and David Bowie. Anyway I really liked Duke's version. Duke then made a little speech about the importance of everyone being creative in what ever way they can. I have certainly took it to heart because I haven't stopped writing since I got home from Glastonbury. Then he sang a song which I think is called Salvation Tambourine. I put in my notebook, " Fecking great", so it must have been good !.The great song Freewheel was next. Then there was a short silly fun song where the drummer came to the front of the stage and played a weird instrument that I suspect he made himself and Duke sang lyrics like 'Glastonbury, Glastonbury, we're so happy to be here' or something like that.
Duke finished his set with the great Digging An Early Grave. At the end of the song he leaned the piano over further and further till it finally crashed to the floor sending his plastic bottle of wine flying. Then he jumped off the stage, climbed the barrier and threw himself into the audience who held him aloft and carried him around until finally returning him to the stage. What a great ending. The set wasn't really long enough but I thought it was brilliant and I'm sure Duke made quite a few new fans after that performance. Hopefully I might get the chance to see Duke again when I go to Belfast in August. I'll look forward to that.
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
"They would have to to get The Pope here to top this", I said to Rob, "That wouldn't top this in my book", replied Rob and I had to agree with him. Having the Dalai Lama at Glastonbury is the ultimate. After he finished speaking I was so moved that I bought a TIBET hoody sweat shirt from a stall. It looks great and also kept me warm that night. I was to cross paths with his holiness again three hours later.
There was some divine intervention as well because when the Dalai Lama appeared the rain stopped, the sun came out and it was a glorious afternoon. In more ways than one, I might add. After lunch I headed to the Pyramid Stage and caught some of 'Hozier's' set. I have his album at home and have only played it twice. I must give it another spin because he was really good. The previous year he had been on the Acoustic Stage and I hadn't bothered watching because I had never heard of him. Now here he is gracing the Pyramid Stage. What a difference a year makes at Glastonbury. I left after 'Take Me To Church' because we had arranged to meet up at Bread & Roses again. Wayne had his doubts about seeing Patti Smith but I insisted to him that she would be great but even I didn't realise how great her performance would be.
Unlike Kanye West Patti was blown away by appearing on the Pyramid Stage. I think this performance was to be the highlight of her whole illustrious career. Patti had been on tour for six weeks and her voice was shot away but she promised to give the audience every bit of voice she had left, which she did. She only did nine songs because she had given up part of her set for a very special reason. Those nine songs were amongst the best I have every heard on the Pyramid stage. They were, 'Privilege, (Set Me Free)','Redondo Beach','Ain't It Strange','Beneath The Southern Cross','Pissing In A River','People Have The Power','Land', 'Gloria', and 'My Generation'.Not only is Patti a great singer she is also a writer and Poet as well and in the middle of her set she read a poem she had written to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama. "That's nice of her", I thought to myself, not realising what was to happen next. Michael Eavis's daughter Emily led on the Dalai Lama to the cheers of about 80,000 people. He greeted Patti and all the members of her band. Then they wheeled on a birthday cake and the whole crowd sang 'Happy Birthday To You'. Then he spoke for a few minutes and joked that Patti had white hair but she moved with the energy of a teenager and he wished he had her energy. Then he talked about how friendship is the most important thing in the world because we are a social animal and friendship is based on truth and honesty which is very true.
I have known Donovan's music since 1965 but never seen him so I decided to check him out. That was a mistake. He began his set with about ten minutes tuning up and sound-checking. When he did sing some songs it was alright but in between the songs he kept talking all this quasi-celtic mystical bollix which got on my nerves. After I heard 'Catch The Wind' and 'Colours' I moved on because The Who were on the main stage. I hadn't seen The Who since 1974 when they were at the height of their powers and in those days I thought they were the best live band in the world. I watched at Glastonbury from the top of the hill where the whole view behind the Pyramid Stage looked spectacular. I did get a bit bored at certain points in their show but when they did songs like 'Behind Blue Eyes','Pinball Wizard' and 'Won't Get Fooled Again' I thought they were great. Roger Daltry's voice is more restrained these days and Pete Townshend is the same as ever but overall I thought they were good. I think though over the 40 years since I last saw them my music tastes have changed. While watching The Who I got chatting to this nice police lady who was enjoying the festival as much as anyone else. The police had behaved themselves really well this year and there was no trouble whatsoever. If only every town in Britain was like Glastonbury.
Back at the camp-fire I felt quite sad that the festival was nearly over. As I gazed into the flames I reflected on all the great Glasto's I had been to before. With Kim in 2005 we had stayed in the very same faithful little tent in Tom's Field that I was still using. "I'm not here all week any more mate", I said wistfully to the lad who had kept the fire going all week. What nice people they were around that campfire.
Next morning we had one more shift to do before we could head home. We were brilliant as usual and at the end we were drafted in to help Park and Greenfields team. We had one lucky break. The riggers were already dismantling Arcadia so we weren't allowed near that on health & safety grounds. Jeremy sent us in to clean up 'The Rabbit Hole'. This is a venue where normally people have to crawl in on their hands and knees to experience it but today we got in through a gap in the fence at the back. Inside there were lots of revellers who were still partying although it was 11.00 in the morning and the sun was blazing down. " Just ignore them, do the work and get out", advised Jeremy. It was mad in there. One person had appointed himself King of the Rabbit Hole and was wearing a crown. They obviously had no intentions of going home yet. I was glad to get out of there. It was weird. Finally all the work was done for 2015 and we were all signed out. I walked back to camp with Rob and Alison. It was quite sad to say cheerio. I hope they come back again.
Margaret and Wayne were waiting and itching to get home but I had one last thing to do before I took my tent down. I really wanted to say cheerio to Odele. I hadn't seen her since the party on Thursday night. I had just assumed that I would see her again but it hadn't happened. I ran across to where I knew her tent was, tripping over guy-ropes as I went but all I found was a sad little patch of faded grass where her tent used to be. She had already left town. Never mind, she only lives 20 miles from me so hopefully I won't have to wait another year before I see Odele again.
We left Tom's Field at about 1.00 and amazingly I was turning the key in my front door in Westbury by 3.00. I had never known it so easy to get out of Glastonbury. Other years I have known it take 5 hours to get home. Meanwhile, back on Worthy Farm the real clean up was about to begin. An army of workers would move in and go over all 700 acres with a fine tooth comb. They even use huge metal detector machines to remove every piece of rubbish.It will take about 6 weeks before Daisy & Buttercup and all the other 398 dairy cows are released from the Mootel once more to munch their way across the lush pastures of Worthy Farm. I hope I am spared to return next year and as Van the Man might say, 'We'll walk down the avenue again and sing all the songs from way back when, and roam across the fields and stay out all night long and listen to the rock n roll because baby you know how it feels when the healing has begun'.
There is no need to say another word.