The Watersons are another act that piqued my interest while reading Electric Eden. They might be a little too Real Ale for my tastes but there’s something very elemental about this sound, listening to them you can almost feel the Northern soil under your fingernails and the coal dust in your lungs.
I think I’d buy a loaf made out of mouldy cardboard if Dusty sang the jingle for it.
I’m currently reading the book Electric Eden which is a history of British folk music that digs deep and wide into the subject to also weave a fascinating tale about the nation’s traditions, myths, and landscape. Beautifully written by Rob Young (“Britons treasure their shrinking countryside like a family heirloom wrapped in silk, locked away in the secret compartment of a writing table”) it says something about the quality of his prose and storytelling that I’m engrossed in a 600-page book about a style of music I’m not even that big a fan of.
I have discovered some things I do like though, like the gorgeous, pastoral voice of Anne Briggs. A big influence on Sandy Denny, Briggs was a colourful and unconventional character who only released one EP and two (great) albums before giving up music while making the third in 1973 because apparently she didn’t like the sound of her own voice on record and preferred busking to performing on stage. So she did a Vashti Bunyan and vanished to a remote corner of Scotland, not to be heard from for 30 years. It’s a shame she didn’t record more at her peak but without the free-spirited, don’t-give-a-toss attitude of artists like Briggs the story (and the music) wouldn’t be half as interesting.
Hulk write nothing, want to listen to reggae instead.
Download: Sock It To Me – Derrek Harriott (mp3)
Wonderful BBC documentary on British synthpop from its indie beginnings to its 1980s glory. It’s an hour and a half long so you might want to make a cup of tea first because you will end up watching the whole thing.
Thought I’d end the week as I started it, sort of girls-with-guitars bookends.
“The famous collage that Richard did was very exciting to me, and I suppose that when I try to analyse my own work, certainly some of the early songs were very collage like — where I’d actually throw different styles of music into the same song, or try to.” — Bryan Ferry
Michael Bracewell (2007)
Very sad to hear that the great British artist Richard Hamilton has died. I think that the man who (probably) invented Pop Art, designed the cover of The White Album and was Bryan Ferry’s art teacher, certainly deserves a mention and a doff of the cap here.
Download: (I Want to Be An) Anglepoise Lamp – The Soft Boys (mp3)
Above: Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956)