They Knew You Were Waiting

Friday night treat and a visit to the Louisana, Bristol to catch David Ford and Beth Rowley perform live. I must admit to a soft-spot for a songsmith and balladeer with the likes of Tom Waits, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, etc being a constant feature in my adult music collection. I make no apology for rating Ford in this league. I’ve been a fan since stumbling a cross his 2005 album I Sincerely Apologies by pure luck in 2007. Beth Rowley, I’d come across intermittingly given her Bristol roots and her debut 2008 album Little Dreamer. Class acts separately they have the confidence and talent to make the craft of song feel easy while poignantly striking at your very rib cage. Ford and Rowley wove their respected sets together perfectly. Ford providing instrumental support to Rowley’s opening set and Rowley joining Ford for a number of duets. Finishing off with their “none-encore.” A reduced to its bones version of George Michael/Aretha Franklin “Knew You Were Waiting for Me.” Based on last nights performance one can only hope that more formal recordings and releases are in the pipeline. Dates for the remaining UK tour can be found here.

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Today I stumbled upon Melanie De Biasio

Born to a Belgian mother and an Italian father, Mélanie De Biasio a fan of groups like Nirvana composed in English. She played in several groups before focusing on jazz with the trio Harmadik Fül. During 2011 and collaborating with Avanti ASBL, De Biasio worked with prisoners in a creative process using voice, movement, breath and rhythm, which then led to a critically acclaimed performance in the prison.

Today I Stumbled Upon: Caudal

Caudal is a trio featuring Aidan Baker on guitar, Gareth Sweeney on bass, and Felipe Salazar on drums. Baker’s multi-layered, heavily affected guitar overlays Sweeney and Salazar’s driving, propulsive rhythm section creating music equally influenced by krautrock, post-punk, and spacerock. Their debut album “Forever In Another World” was released in April 2013 by Oaken Palace Records. Their second album “Ascension” was released on Consouling Sounds in 2014.

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Thackray’s Oddity

In a decade peppered with cultural and economic change, the 1970s certainly churned out a vast array of musical genres. While TV sitcoms reflected the mundane of life there was also documentaries that sought out injustice and the mysteries of the world, (John Pillinger, The World in Action, Whicker’s World).  In this national psyche emerged the oddity of Jake Thackray’s Yorkshire baritones penetrating the fray of well tuned southern accents, which still dominated broadcasting. My first memory of Thackray was as a young child during a magazine TV programme called That’s Life, a machine gun etiquette of consumer protection, light entertainment, performing dogs, funny shaped vegetables sitting alongside hard-hitting investigations into wrong doing. Thackray was brought up in a working-class family and enjoyed the pleasures of pale ale, rugby and pipe-smoking. After moving to Lille in France, where he taught English, Thackray became an unlikely disciple of French artists like Georges Brassen and Jacques Brel.

A poet songwriter and solitary singer Thackray’s songs were pitted with humour, satire, and social observations of everyday life. A person who shied away from the limelight, referring to himself in the 1970s, “I turned into a performing dick” after his popularity propelled him to regular TV appearances Thackery withdrew to smaller venues and pubs where he felt a connection with his audience. Aspects of this work have dated, but his importance is often overlooked, and while some lyrics may not find favour, it can be sluggish to cast off artistically given his observations are so humorously ludicrous, and light years away from them misogynism we witness in today’s music scene. It would be like trying to sensor Tom and Jerry cartoons for modern video game violence.

In his later years, Thackray was beset by health and financial problems: he had become an alcoholic and was declared bankrupt in 2000. He died of heart failure 24th December 2002. To a young child, he was an oddity. He stood out because there was no reference point to place him but he remains to this day one of those artists who is captured in glimpsed childhood memories of my parents chuckling along to the double meaning of this lyrics.

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Goodnight Express

A free newspaper is thrust into my midriff.  Most people simply walk past the young man distributing them. He is hardly captivating, wearing headphones, comatose in a faraway land, going through the routine.  Above the announcements Waterloo Station is a cold place at the best of times. I take the paper and without looking I make my way to the bottom of the steps. I glance at it. Noticing copies are bundled on the adjacent wall, burgeoning out of refuge bins, littering the immediate pathways.

The New Musical Express (NME) was once an important and valued commodity. In fact, alongside John Peel’s radio programme, Sounds and Melody Maker, the NME was a crucial source of information on band tours, interviews, the latest record releases. I make my way to Jubilee Gardens, under the shadow of the London Eye, sit and flick through its pages. It takes about 2 minutes to glance through the photographs with bubble quotes and advertisements. The images are shiny, precise and sterile. I am old and everything is well and truly in its place.