Music related postings

Highway to Hell

jessThe official AC/DC Highway to Hell video cost thousands to shoot.and has over two million YouTube views to date.

This bedroom cover version has Twelve and a half million!!

Maybe the band should look at their dress code…!

All joking aside though.  She’s good.  Very good.  And she knows exactly what she is doing!

By |September 17th, 2014|0 Comments

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Local music club goes international

A guest blog by Barry Evans

DSCF1529A ray of Mediterranean sunshine came to rural Denbighshire last Monday when the popular Greek Musician, Demitris Dourtmes dropped in unexpectedly on the July session of the Club at the Willows Restaurant, Llandegla.
Demetris, who hails from Salonica, in Greece, is renowned for his mastery of a wide range of musical styles and instruments from Jazz to World music and Stratocaster to the lute. It was the latter instrument he brought along to the club to share some of his vibrant traditional music with a rapt audience. .
Kath Evans, from Llandegla, who organises these regular events, said how pleased she was to have Demetris at the Club to contrast the music of local performers.
‘The ethos of the club is really what it says on the tin,’ she said. ‘Any performer from classical to poetry to rock and roll is assured of a warm welcome and an appreciative audience.’
The next musicians and singers session will be held at the Willows Restaurant on Monday 18th. August, followed by 22nd. September, when the guests will be the Jones Family Band from the Wirral.

 

By |August 3rd, 2014|0 Comments

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The Armistice Pals

armisticepalsThe Armistice Pals is a project currently being undertaken by the Wigan based folk rock band Merry Hell and is the brainchild of their manager Damian Liptrot.

The idea is to mark the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of World War One by bringing together a wide selection of distinctive voices from the folk world in a recording of classic anti-war song ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone’.

From left: Myself, Merry Hell's John Kettle and Harry Robertson.

Written by Pete Seeger back in 1955 and with additional verses added by Joe Hickerson prior to Seeger’s original recording in 1960, many different versions have been recorded in dozens of different languages, reflecting the fact that the suffering of war recognises no frontiers. The most memorable perhaps, being recorded by Peter Paul and Mary and by Joan Baez during the mid sixties and more recently by Dolly Parton in 2005.

140713-1226There are to be over one hundred voices on the record, many of them well known personalities from the world of folk including Dave Swarbrick, Ken Nicol and Flossie Malavialle.

I was delighted to have been invited to be part of the chorus and travelled down to Merry Hell’s new studio in the centre of Wigan last Sunday for the recording. I was accompanied by Harry Robertson, who is a fellow  member of Ruthin AllStyles Music Club.

From left: Harry Robertson, Josh Cartwright of Our Morals and folk singer Degsie

Damian told us: “We would love to think that at Folk Clubs and Music clubs up and down the country, people will join together and sing this during the week of Remembrance Day – and, of course, for as many as possible to buy the record”.

‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone?’ will be released on Sunday 9th November as a download, cd single and a limited edition 7″ vinyl single, profits from which will go to the supported charities which are:  Peace Through Folk, The Red Cross, The Malaria Fund and the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace.

Full details are available via the dedicated website: www.armisticepals.com/

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Merry Hell’s John Kettle (right) produced, arranged and recorded the record

By |July 17th, 2014|0 Comments

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The Remedy

Old_crow_medicine_showNo one could ever accuse Bob Dylan of writing bad songs. Sometimes, however, he doesn’t finish writing songs.  But when that happens, there is a remedy. Enter Ketch Secor.

A case in point is Wagon Wheel.

As a teenage wannabe in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Ketch was a huge fan of Dylan.  He collected every record ever released and was intrigued when one of his school pals and future bandmate, Critter Fuqua, returned home from a family trip to London with a Bob Dylan bootleg.  The tape contained a rough outtake called “Rock Me, Mama”. It was a 40 second crudely recorded clip featuring a catchy chorus and a mumbled verse that was hard to decypher.

The tape had been discarded from recording sessions for a cowboy movie soundtrack back in 1973. Secor recalls how he found it catchy and so added his own words.  After joining his first band at the age of seventeen he sang it all around the country for the next ten years, without even thinking about copyright implications.

With the formation of The Old Crow Medicine Show and the band’s commercial success, Secor wanted to publish the song on their self titled album.  He wrote to Dylan’s management and was delighted to not only get the big man’s approval but critical acclaim, and a 50/50 royalties deal.

Following the success on the album, Wagon Wheel became a firm favorite at their live shows all over America, going gold in 2011 and platinum in 2013.  And then this Spring a cover by Darius Rucker became a number one hit in the American country charts.

remedySweet Amarillo
In the wake of Wagon Wheel’s success, Secor was in for another surprise.  Out of the blue an email arrived with a 26 second outtake from Dylan’s same 1973 movie soundtrack writing session together with with a message from the man himself saying “Would Secor want to take a crack at it?”

The result was “Sweet Amarillo”.  Secor sent a demo to Dylan who suggested a couple of changes and the resulting song has now taken pride of place on the band’s new album Remedy  released this week on iTunes.

Have a listen to the original Dylan version and then beneath it the band’s official video of Wagon Wheel.


By |July 5th, 2014|1 Comment

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Lennon 2014

140617-3941Along with an awful lot of other people, you’d be excused for thinking that you know the story of John Lennon.

It goes something like:  He was given up by his mother as a baby and brought up by an aunty; he went to Quarrybank School and formed a skiffle group called the Quarrymen; then he formed the Beatles; then he left the Beatles; then he spent a weekend in bed; spent months in a white suit giving peace a chance and then… he got shot.

That may well be it in a nutshell but there is a lot more besides.  I was a teenager in the sixties. I grew up with John Lennon’s music, from the early days, through all the evolving phases of the Beatles, to when he played Mind Games with us all as a solo artist.  I was a follower, a devotee. Since joining my first band in the sixties I’ve sung his songs.  I’ve got books and biographies.  I thought I knew it all.

140617-3860Yet I’ve seen this play three times in the last four years and each time I learn something new.

Writer and director Bob Eaton has masterfully condensed the life of  John Lennon into a play lasting less than three hours. Yet between the first leg breaking from the wings, to the final curtain, he tells the story more fully and concisely than all the books put together.

Each and every number becomes the narrative.  Realising how much of Lennon’s music was autobiographical, Bob Eaton chose the songs carefully and as each episode unfolds the lyrics that we thought we knew, release hidden meanings into our subconscious, building  a much bigger picture than could be achieved through dialogue alone.

140617-3844“Mother, you had me but I never had you” poignantly reveals the hurt he felt over his abandonment. And after his character says the words “The Beatles are finished. I want a divorce”, the song “How do you sleep at night” leaves no doubt in your mind who he blamed and sums up the bitterness and resentment he felt for Paul.

Because they are songs we know and love but perhaps never analyzed, the whole play becomes multi dimensional.  At one point for instance:  A phone rings and someone simply says “Brian’s dead”. The way this was followed by an adaptation of “A Day in the Life”  performed in a counterpoint with “Help” was simply beautiful!

The cast were nothing short of magnificent.  The Royal Court were lucky enough to secure the services of almost all the key actors who made the 2013 performance so successful.  This year they have built upon that success.

John Power is as good a Lennon as you would ever want and was sporting his own hair and a home-grown beard this year specially for the part.  Also back was Mark Newnham as the younger Lennon. He may not have looked too much like the real thing but he certainly perfected John’s mannerisms and persona. And it’s fair to say he delivered the early Beatles numbers with a fair degree of authenticity.

140617-3907The beautiful Kirsten Foster was back again as a perfectly believable Yoko Ono.  Tom Connor looked and sounded even more like Paul McCartney this year, right down to the puppy dog eyes and the jaunty shake of the head as he sang.

Ross Higginson returned as the mop-haired Ringo.  Adam Keast and Jonathan Markwood were back too and played, amongst others, Brian Epstein, Stuart Sutcliffe, George Marting and Ed Sullivan. Nicky Swift played no fewer than six parts including that of Cynthia Lennon.  The only new cast member was Daniel McIntyre who played this year’s George .

A show like this is all about the music and I must say you couldn’t fault it. Performed live on stage, in front of your very eyes and ears by an extremely talented bunch of actors and actresses, the music captured the very essence of the Beatles/Lennon years.

Press night audiences are renowned for being the most critical but the show got a standing ovation and gets an unreserved 5/5 from me!

Lennon runs until July 19th at Liverpool’s  Royal Court Theatre.  If you don’t got and see this fantastic play, you can’t call yourself a fan of the Beatles music!

5/5  

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By |June 19th, 2014|0 Comments

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