The Waterboys – Sweet Dancer

The Waterboys are due to release a new album ‘An Appointment with Mr Yeats‘ in September, and for anyone keen to hear something from it a bit early, here is a special preview track – Sweet Dancer.

It’s a really beautiful track, classic Mike Scott – he really has one of the best voices in pop – unaffected and individual, yet at the same time somehow reminiscent of many of the great voices of the past fifty odd years. The music for Sweet Dancer was written by Freddie Stevenson, a blues/folk singer songwriter with a soft melodic style, who also adds vocals to the track – the only non waterboys contributor to the record.

I really love the Waterboys, I love their music and to be honest I love their style/mythology. I can remember hearing the Glastonbury Song way back when and hearing echoes of my own Christian spirituality in their neo-pagan lyrics.”I just found God where he always was.”

I still think its a great song actually, and have kept my well loved vinyl copy of it.

I suppose anyone reading my posts about music over the last few weeks would get the false impression that I’m mainly interested in the intersection of folk and pop – that wouldn’t be true, my tastes are much broader than that, but I do appreciate decent folk music, such as the recent release Weave and Spin by Lady Maisery, and I really appreciate a great artist like Mike Scott.

I’m really looking forward to hearing the rest of the album, which as you may have guessed from the title is based upon poetry by WB Yeats. It’s apparently been 20 years in the making – which bodes well in my view, best not to rush these things. The songs will already be familiar to anyone who got to the concert tour last year/earlier this year – but I didn’t. 😦



Lady Maisery: Weave and Spin

I’ve just received a really beautiful album from a brand new folk trio Lady Maisery. It takes something quite unusual for me to feel the need to write a review as soon as I receive the CD, and this is certainly unusual; unusually good. Quite brilliant in fact.

Weave and Spin is the first album from Lady Maisery, who are Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans. It’s made up of haunting and captivating tunes, given new life by the harmonies of these three singers.

Lady Maisery are a new group, although the three members each have impeccable and international folk credentials. If I’m any judge they are likely to find themselves getting a lot of attention over the next few months – the quality of singing and musicianship really is that good.

Of particular note is the way they have recaptured the art of ‘diddling’ – singing tunes, rather than words. Its more akin to birdsong than conventional singing. It’s not something you hear these days, mainly because people don’t do it well enough to be able to get away with it, Lady Maisery however,  have really mastered the art.

Actually this is a peculiarly rich album, full of unexpected sounds and with suprising elements of wry humour. Really I suppose this represents what English folk music does best, and that does involve nicking things from other places, so expect some european tunes, and even a Sitar type instrument along with the more traditional English sounds.

My favourites from this outstanding album , besides the diddling – I loved the anti-war ‘Portland town’, and was enthralled by The Changelings’ Lullaby and The Capable Wife, but my favourite of them all was the final track ‘Sleep On Beloved’ which I found myself listening to over and over again – astoundingly beautiful.

Lady Maisery should, if there is any musical justice, have a great year ahead of them.  Weave and Spin is available now.

Special Providence – funny who you meet on the beach

Sometimes there’s a special providence  about who you meet when you’re on the beach – last week while I was photographing the eldest daughter surfing the little waves on the Plage de la Saluce, along came these guys.

Apparently they were playing in Marseille – wish I’d managed to get along, never mind. Pleasure to meet you guys!

Now here’s a game we can all play – which Hungarian Jazz Rock band did you meet on holiday? Answers in the comments please.

Watcha Clan

I was really impressed by what I heard of Watcha Clan on World On Three this week – a very talented group out of Marseille who are making the kind of fusion music that I love.

Suprem Clem of Watcha ClanYou can hear a load of their music for free on their website, which is also home to some very nice artwork and more. There’s even a free comic to download.

I will do a fuller review sometime soon, but for now, check out Watcha Clan, they are making some seriously good music.

music reviewing

I’ve a bunch of CD’s sitting waiting to be reviewed. Which is a nice position to be in, as they are all pretty good.

But I’ve been wondering if it might not make more sense to start a whole new blog just about music. That way people who read this to hear my fevered ramblings and inanities will have one less category to skip through.

Only question is whether I will be able to manage the two blogs alongside each other – maybe its worth a try.

I’ll let you know if it starts…

blogging elsewhere

I have been asked to be a guest blogger for the North East Lincolnshire World Music Festival, which is a great pleasure as I get to waffle on about music yet again.

If you’re interested in reading more, want to come along (highly reccomended) or just feel a bit nosey about the bands set to play, which include the gypsy punk stylings of Alejandro Toledo and the Magic Tombolinos, and the Space Jazz Afrobeat sounds of the Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra, then feel free to click through.

In the meantime I shall continue to post here too, the usual gubbins I should think.

New Year cycling, spam and music

Well the last few days have seen me back at the pedals, commuting to and from meetings etc in the customary black cycling gear, I reckon that over the winter I probably didnt even touch the bike for about six weeks – no wonder my legs are a tad sore.Three days of cycling, and I’ve almost been bashed twice – the second time by another bike! The Kona travels at such a lick that people seem to misjudge how fast I am going and think they can cut across me. Tsk tsk.

Also back in my life is spam, for some reason it seemed to stop around Christmas time, I’m sure it wasn’t my imagination, the spam genuinely seemed to be much less – but now its well and truly back. Hey ho.

Meanwhile I have been changing my general listening habits, current favourites are the Avalanches ‘Since I left you’ – classic album, can’t believe its nearly a decade old already! Frontier Psychiatrist is still one of my favourite tracks, and the whole album is a work of art.  Manu Chao’s ‘Clandestino’, superb, I can’t imagine Bongo Bong will ever sound old. I found eldest offspring with the track on repeat in the living room the other night, beating seven shades of blue out of a small drum. That’s my girl.

Also on the go is the most recent edition of the Johnny Cash ‘American Recordings’ series – ‘Aint no grave’ – beautiful stuff, that really is a wonderful set of albums. Ska Cubano’s ‘Ay Caramba!’ really seems to capture their live sound, I love it. And finally Tony Allen’s ‘Secret Agent’ – what a great piece of work, contemporary Afrobeat at its brilliant best.

Having said all that, I must now admit that at the moment Kel is away from home, and last night when I went to bed, I put on some Mozart. What on earth has happened to me?