Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Penguin Eggs



I watched the BBC Folk Awards programme on the telly last week.I didn't like it that much compared to last year.I was looking forward to seeing Roy Harper but his performance was a bit shambolic.It wasn't the same without Mike Harding presenting it either.It did have some high spots though.Mary Chapin-Carpenter was very good.My favourite bit though was Nic Jones winning an award because he is a great person and his album 'Penguin Eggs' is one of my favourite albums.
Just in case you haven't heard of Nic Jones i'll just tell you quickly about him.Nic was born in 1947 in Kent.He played in a folk group called The Halliard from 1964 to 1968 and when they split up Nic decided to pursue a solo career.He released 5 solo albums the last of which was Penguin Eggs.This is the only Nic Jones album i own.I'm not a Nic Jones expert by any means but i hope to get more of his recordings soon.
In February 1982 fate played a cruel trick on Nic.He was involved in a serious car crash whilst driving home from a gig.This happened just outside my home town of Peterborough.He suffered permanent injuries and brain damage and was hospitalised for eight months.His career seemed to be over Nic now lives in Devon where he was nursed back to health by his ultimate nurse his wife Julia.She also set up a label called Mollie Music which has issued four live albums of Nic's early music.
Nic didn't fade away into obscurity because his fame gradually began to spread and new fans began to follow his music.This is largely i suspect based on the brilliance of the Penguin Eggs album.Radio 2 listeners voted it the second best Folk album of all time.Second only to Liege And Lief by Fairport Convention.Kate Rusby said it is her favourite album of all time and i can see why.I discovered it through listening to Mike Harding's show.The first song i got aquainted with was Canadee-i-o.The guitaring on the album is quite superb and apparently Bob Dylan recorded this song and although it is a traditional song Bob also stole Nic's guitar style as well.Every single track on this album is great.I particularly like The Little Pot Stove,The Humpback Whale and Barrack Street but it is silly picking out particular tracks because all nine of the songs grab the listeners attention.I urge you to listen to this album.

Anyway,against all the odds in recent years Nic has started performing again.In a trio now which his son also plays in and apparently Nic's son is a great guitarist as well.The brilliant news is that they are appearing right here in Westbury at the Village Pump Folk Festival in July and i am really looking forward to it and hopefully i might get the chance to buy a couple of signed cds off Nic.I can't wait till summer!

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