Get me out of here
Buy books
  • Saint Dominic's Flashback: Van Morrison's Classic Album, Forty Years On
    Saint Dominic's Flashback: Van Morrison's Classic Album, Forty Years On
Previous Journal Entries
« Quick wins from my new career | Main | Mr Phigg hits Amazon »

A quick round up

Seven weeks into 2012 and I find I have only written about listening to musicians who'd qualify for a bus pass. Rest assured, my ears are still open to new stuff. Two of this year's releases I'm listening to a lot are:

  • Portico Quartet's third album, inventively titled Portico Quartet. It's a really interesting development of their distinctive Hang-heavy sound, less obviously jazzy than before, with more electronics and loops.
  • Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny's Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose - which is definitely one of those discs you don't want to have to ask for at the counter. Beneath the arch and obviously quirky lurks an inspired writer and performer with a strong sense of melody. I saw her a couple of years ago in Brighton, second on the bill to Stornoway, and thought she definitely had something. The album's been a relatively long time coming, but it feels strong and assured. She's getting a fair amount of publicity now, which I hope will prove positive, centring on her relationship with a Red Hot Chili Pepper...

On the live front, I've seen both young and old: another strong set from Ahab at the Latest Bar (now refusing to play 'Wagon Wheel' because 'it's not one of our songs' - a bit precious, lads. Fair enough if you're fed up and want a change...); Michael Chapman supported by Mark Wynn; and the Coal Porters.

Michael Chapman is a bona fide legend: a glorious guitar stylist with a distinctive voice and song-writing approach, seventy now but going just as strongly as ever. He played at the West Hill Hall in Brighton, which is a bizarre setting: a community hall usually used for toddler groups and Woodcraft Folk meetings - I was one of a bunch of friends who hired it for Millennium Night and, as you'd imagine, contrived to party like it was 1999... until long after it wasn't.

Anyway, it closed a personal circle nicely because I have a poster on my wall advertising Michael's appearance at the 1970 Clitheroe Pop Festival - which is the only one of those events which I didn't attend, so very satisfying to catch up with him just 42 years on. And if you haven't heard of Clitheroe or its festivals have a look at this site here to which I fed some information and pictures.

Mark Wynn, who opened at the West Hill Hall, is from a younger generation of wry Yorkshiremen, setting a dry quasi-talking blues style vocal against rather more original and accomplished guitar parts than that description might lead you to expect. Here's a taste.

The Coal Porters played The Greys and it was a warm and always entertaining evening. I find their recent original songs of varying quality, but they choose some classy covers ('Teenage Kicks', 'Like A Hurricane') and are a reliably strong ensemble, with Carly Frey's fiddle outstanding. Sid Griffin's a hero, of course - just one Long Ryders song this time, should have been more - and I'd always go and see them when they're in town.

Right, that's caught up with 2012.

March will bring Van Morrison at The Dome (fingers crossed, as always, but The Guardian just gave him a 5* review, which is hopeful...) and The Civil Wars at Komedia (fresh from winning two Grammys, so no doubt heading for bigger halls next time round). 


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (2)

Hi Pete
I came across your site a few weeks ago via Expecting Rain and have to say that I enjoy reading your journal. I find myself usually agreeing entirely with your taste in music.
On the subject of Michael Chapman it is great to see that he is still playing and touring. I first saw him way back in the late 60's or early 70's at Newcastle City Hall supporting someone (possibly Family - or am I mixing Michael Chapman and Roger Chapman?)
I then didn't see him until the 80's playing with Rick Kemp at a folk club at Linden Hall in Northumberland. Last year I saw him at Porters a small cafe/bar set in historic Tynemouth railway station. He told an amusing tale of being approached by a woman at a gig and asked if he was playing 'Postcards of Scarborough'. He replied that he probably would be. After some thought she said 'It's a bit miserable isn't it?' and then walked off.
He then played it and miserable or not it was a fine performance.
I'm off to see him at the same venue on Saturday 25th Feb so your little piece whetted my appetite.

PS Good luck with sales of TNOTRS

February 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEddie Graham

Many thanks for the kind words, Eddie - I'm sure it will be a great show on 25th, he seems to be in fine form.

He had a good story when I saw him, about being approached by a well dressed woman at a gig in Leeds who seemed naggingly familiar... she eventually told him they had been married for four years.

All the best,

February 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterPete

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>