Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Big Picture By Bap Kennedy.

Before buying this album all i knew about Bap Kennedy was that he was in a band called Energy Orchard several years ago who had recorded an excellent version of Van Morrisons Madame George.I also knew he was the brother of Brian Kennedy.The reason i bought the album was that i had the great pleasure 18 years ago of meeting Carolyn Cassady and i often wondered what she was doing these days and lo and behold,up she pops on Baps album.The opening track ROCK AND ROLL HEAVEN begins with a few seconds of Brian Wilsonesque harmonising and then goes into a driving country rock beat with Bap name dropping nearly every dead singer that ever existed.Its a great song.THE TRUTH IS PAINFUL is a slower introspective song with some nice whistle playing by Kieron Kelly and guitar by Paul Toner.MORIARTY'S BLUES is what i came here for.Its a nice slow jazzy song.Moriarty as you know is Dean Moriarty the hero of Kerouac's On The Road and in real life Neal Cassady.His wife Carolyn reads a short extract from her book Off The Road and very nice it is too hearing her voice again.What a great lady she is.
STREETWISE displays Baps dark dry humour with such lines as,'Blessed are the poor,well thats alright then'.TOO OLD FOR FAIRY TALES opens with a real country guitar sound.Its a very sad song musing on the struggle for fortune and fame and is it worth it?MILKY WAY is co-written with veteran fellow Belfast troubadour Van Morrison and an excellent song it is too.A Milky Way is a popular chocolate bar in England and this is a song you can hear between meals without ruining your appetite! There is a lovely Irish folky instrumental break in the middle of this song.LOVERMAN is a nice laid back song with some dreamy backing vocals by Alison Limerick amongst others. FIREWORKS is much more upbeat with a kind of a West Indian feel to it and some nice accordian and guitar,very nice for a summers evening.ON THE MIGHTY OCEAN ALCOHOL features the legend that is Shane Macgowan,Shanes contribution is small but he sounds great,his voice almost Tom Waits in its growliness! THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS has more witty lines from Bap such as,'If money could talk it would say goodbye'.The album ends with a haunting wistful sad song that only the Irish can write.THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY.
'And now i'm so far away,
and i'm full of wine,
i tell them theres no country
as beautiful as mine'.
On the liner notes i see that a lot of the album was recorded at Wool Hall Studio's which is only 4 miles away from where i am writing this review right now.Bap also thanks Van without whom the album wouldn't exist.That shows what a nice person Van is under his gruff exterior.This album is highly recommended.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Barnsley Nightingale

Kate Rusby at Cambridge Folk Festival 2005 Posted by Picasa



I first heard of Kate Rusby on the Mike Harding Show on BBC Radio 2, Wednesday nights at 8.00.Mike used to refer to her as 'The Barnsley Nightingale' or 'The Dame Nelly Melba of Barnsley'.I was immediately impressed with her fabulous voice.I think Kate has the best voice in English folk music since the great Sandy Denny.I bought her album 'Sleepless' which i loved.Listen to it if you get the chance.It contains a great version of Iris Dement's 'Our Town' and great interpretations of traditional songs such as 'The Wild Goose'and 'The Unquiet Grave'.
I first saw Kate at Glastonbury 2000.We had watched the great Willie Nelson on the Pyramid Stage then rushed to the acoustic stage to catch Kate.She was great and had a brilliant band which included John McCusker,her boyfriend and a great musician in his own right.That was an amazing day of music which ended with seeing David Bowie.
A year went by until one day i saw that Kate was appearing at a venue near us, The Cheese And Grain in Frome.One fine summers evening we got a taxi over to Frome.Little did i realise how that evening would end.It was a really nice concert with a friendly intimate atmosphere, Kate telling lots of amusing stories in between the songs.as well as a great singer she is a bit of a comedienne.After the concert we were browsing at the merchandise stall and they were giving away free posters so i picked one up.Just as our taxi arrived who should come walking across the hall but Kate.
"Ask the taxi man to wait and i'll just get Kate to sign my poster", i said to Kim.
I walked quickly across the floor towards Kate but what i didn't notice was that some asshole had left a plastic pint glass on the floor and i kicked about half a pint of beer over my favourite young female traditional English folksinger! I was mortified, i wished the ground would open up and swallow me.Kate didn't seem to care though and happily signed my poster and even drew a little doodle on it for me.We had a little chat and i asked her how she enjoyed Glastonbury and she said that she didn't enjoy the huge crowds and the traffic jams.
Anyway thats my story of the night i met the Barnsley Nightingale.Kate has a new album out now 'The Girl Who Couldn't Fly' which i am going to buy this afternoon .