Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oh, no, not *more* bloody folk music...

Some requests before we start...

THE WATERSONS - I've recently bought the reissued CDs and the huge box set but am missing one track from the original 'Yorkshire Garland' album that was omitted from the re-release, no idea why. Would therefore like to get hold of The Plains Of Mexico.

SPUD - I'd love to get hold of the two Spud albums with Dermot O'Connor - when I was in Poteen there was talk of myself and Joe O'Donnell teaming up with him to form a new band, but it never happened. Pity. Anyway, all I have is an old cassette of 'A Silk Purse' and 'A Sow's Ear', neither of which play any more. I recently found a download link ('Grown So Ugly' that had a vinyl rip of one - does the other even exist?)

BERT JANSCH - several people have asked if I have 'L A Turnaround' - no I don't, and I don't know anyone who does. It seems to have vanished forever - even Bert himself couldn't find a copy when compiling a recent anthology. Posted over at Time Has Told Me.

If anyone has got a copy of any of these, *please* rip it & post it somewhere. I'll happily post them here if you dont have a blog of your own (and give you all the credit, of course). Also:

SHIRLEY COLLINS - I've been trying to get hold of the 'Within Sound' box set, but Fledg'ling have sold out - they're not planning to press any more - and the only copy I can see is going for £100 on Amazon. If anyone has a copy they'd be willing to sell me for a reasonable sum, please drop me a line. Alternatively, if you can let me have it in MP3 format that would be fine as well - I know that's a bit naughty but I *will* pay for it if I can find it at a reasonable price. Got the MP3s, now I need the CDS...

"And now, back to the records"...

More folky stuff this time I'm afraid. I get like this from time to time - obsessed with a particular artist or genre.

I can honestly say that, right now, I would happily spend the rest of my life listening to The Watersons, Shirley Collins, Anne Briggs and Spirogyra to the exclusion of anything else. And it's all down to Bazza Dransfield and his recent emails. Of course I've known most of that stuff for 30 years or more, but it's equally true that, apart from the odd Fairport, Steeleye or Trees album, most of it has been unlistened-to since CD took over as my medium of choice.

So I now have a 'folk' playlist on my iPod that consists of the following albums:

  • A Bed Of Roses
  • A Yorkshire Garland
  • Angel Delight
  • Anne Briggs
  • Anthems In Eden
  • Bandoggs
  • Battle Of The Field
  • Bells, Boots & Shambles
  • Bright Phoebus
  • Cruel Sister
  • Folk Roots, New Routes
  • For Pence And Spicy Ale
  • Lark Rise To Candleford
  • Love, Death And The Lady
  • Morris On
  • No Roses
  • No-One Stands Alone
  • Old Boot Wine
  • On The Shore
  • Once In A Blue Moon
  • Please To See The King
  • St Radiguns
  • Summer Solstice
  • Tam-Lin (see below)
  • The Garden Of Jane Delawney
  • The Power Of The True Love Knot
  • The Time Has Come

I really have no desire to hear anything else for now.

Oh - and I'm off to see Waterson Carthy tomorrow night. Still quality stuff, though IMHO not in the same league without Mike (or Lal). Oh - and I'm probably going to Hastings on Saturday, so may pop in to see the Dransfield

If Bazza's emails hadn't been enough of a spur, by coincidence BBC Radio 4 broacast a documentary on Bright Phoebus a few weeks ago. The actual transmission date was before my personal reawakening, and by the time I went to listen to it the programme had been taken down from the Listen Again pages of the BBC Web site. Luckily I'm a long time Usenet user, and a post to turned up a couple of people who had recorded it and they sent me MP3s - thanks to you both.

Look, I'm not sure about the legality of posting a recent BBC broadcast - actually, yes I am, I shouldn't do it - but for my regular visitors you can download the programme here (no you can't, it's gone now). I hope the original recording person doesn't mind. Note: I'm going to delete that in a few days - I don't want the wrath of Aunty Beeb on me. Funny, you know, Dave Bulmer is on there... he doesn't *sound* like the antichrist...

Of course, Bright Phoebus is one of the albums that I *have* continued to play throughout these years - my god if you don't know how good it is and have the remotest interest in classy music than you owe it to yourself to download it from my previous post and listen. Fer Chissakes it's *free* - but if it's ever released in a format that results in Mike, or Lal's family getting any money I will immediately delete that file and will personally buy half a dozen copies for people. As The Guvnor said, you have a *duty* to hear that album.

Which is not to ignore the rest of the Watersons recorded output, but most of that *is* available and - as I mentioned above - I recently bought the 4CD box set. And if you really can't cope with unaccompanied traditional music, Lal's albums with Oliver Knight are essential. Really.

Anyway - two more obscure folk albums from days gone by...

Alastair McDonald - Tam Lin (1971)

I know absolutely squat about Scottish music so I've no idea if this is a lost classic or a pile of poo - but I like it a lot. Trivial info - it's on the Youngblood label, which is the same label as my copy of Roy Harper's "Return Of The Sophostocated Beggar".

01 - Tam Lin
02 - The Twa Corbies
03 - Bratach Bana (The Shining White Banner)
04 - Chairlie O Chairlie
05 - Donald MacGillavray
06 - Johnny O'Breadislea
07 - Song Of Clandonald
08 - Normond Braes
09 - McPhersons Rant
10 - Andro And His Cutty Gun

Download from here.

Farmstead - The Sheep And The Hay (1977)

A local amateur group from the Western Yorkshire dales. Only 500 copies were made, I've got one - so where are the others? Trivial info: I used to sing 'Lord George' with my band Brahms & Liszt around the London pub circuit in the late 70s.

01 - The Sheep And The Hay
02 - Chickens In The Garden
03 - Three Airs
04 - Lord George
05 - Western Breeze
06 - The Three Peaks
07 - Sleeping Lion
08 - The Huntsman's Chorus
09 - Line O'er The Fell
10 - Turning Of The Year & Morris Jig
11 - The Roving Fiddler
12 - Song Of The Yorkshire Dales

Download from here.

Post script: Yesterday I received the CD of 'Shining Bright' that I bought last week over the web. I played it this morning.

Don't bother.

Sorry - I really wanted to like it, I really did. But apart from Dayteller (who he?), Eliza Carthy (no surprise there, she grew up with her auntie Elaine's incredible music) and Maddy Prior (jeez, she can't half still crack it vocally) the rest of it is pretty average. Not the songs, mind you, I mean the singers & performances. Oh, OK, a grudging approval for Christy Moore.

Christine Collister epitomises, for me, a bland & overproduced modern professional singer. Why is modern music so soulless? Why don't I like anything Richard Thompson has done since Pour Down Like Silver, or REM since Pageant, or Pink Floyd since Meddle (don't get me started on that) - is it to do with knowing what you're doing? When bass players learn what bass players are supposed to do they nearly always become uninteresting. And the same goes for singers & songwriters. And bands.

In my opinion.



Anonymous jt said...

Re: "L.A. Turnaround" ... It's been posted by Time Has Told Me!!

7:10 pm  
Blogger Witchseason said...

Blimey that was quick - well done that man.

Anyone who doesn't know Time Has Told Me should start paying regular visitis - go to

7:35 pm  
Anonymous Halewijn said...

Thanks for these, but ... am I blind or aren't the links there?
I'd like to listen to that BBC program about Bright Phoebus as well - any links for that?

8:55 pm  
Anonymous woeisi said...

Bert Jansch's LA Turnaround has just been posted at

2:50 am  
Blogger Witchseason said...

Ooops - links are there now. I'm not sure about the legality of posting a recent BBC program, but I've done it anyway, see above in the main body text.

7:24 am  
Anonymous caoimghin said...

Spud made three albums, 'The Happy Handful', 'Smoking On The Bog' and 'A Silk Purse' all of which I am hoping to rip soon and put up on the Celtic Circle, but I will let you have links when I do. In return please put up some more Watersons and Shirley Collins!!!!

9:29 am  
Anonymous Halewijn said...

Many thanks for the links - much appreciated!

4:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's Watersons-The Plains of Mexico.

9:02 am  
Anonymous Emil Thompson said...

Hey there, d/loading 'bright phoebus' don't know it but your comments have sold it.
That thing about not enjoying more recent stuff, is a fascinating question, and I wonder about it too, but I just can't figure out whether it's me and where I'm at in my life or the music, or the technology, or a general decline in standards, (like mp3) maybe all that plus other things too. Ipods can turn music into a kind of wallpaper or chewing gum, just there all the time and not really appreciated. The whole experience of waiting excitedly for a new album then pouring over the sleeve on the bus home, getting to know all about it before you'd even heard it... is a thing of the past. Too bad. Would love to discuss tho. When Dylan was asked about whether he worried about music theft through mp3 downloads he just said "Why should I, they ain't worth nothin' anyhow."

10:59 am  
Anonymous Vincent said...

Greetings. It's been a while since I dropped in for a visit and I'm sure glad I did. I must tahnk you for keeping the Hugo Largo links active. I used to own "Mettle" many years ago but unfortunately it was stolen, and "Drum" is one of my all time favourites. I have a promo cassette floating around somewhere that contains excerpts from "Mettle" and some rather glowing remarks from Brian Eno. I'll try to locate it and convert it if you're interested.

11:46 am  
Anonymous Halewijn said...

Hi witchseason - I have the 'Within Sound' box-set on file as MP3.
Drop me a line on h**p://


5:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Farmstead album is excellent thank you

5:10 pm  
Blogger Private Beach said...

The first Roy Harper album has turned up on about 20 different labels, sometimes under different names, over the years. It seems to be the only one of Roy's albums he doesn't have full control over, although his website offers it for sale (albeit with one track less than my CD copy, which is on Mooncrest).

I just discovered your blog via "Time Has Told me", and look forward to exploring it further.

7:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alastair McDonald-"Tam-Lin" is a remarkable find. I'd say it deserves lost gem classic status. Mystikkal 'n magickkal like Perry Leopold's "Christian Lucifer."

Many thanks esp. for sharin' the lovely wyrdish folk grails. cheers....

11:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance fro a re-up of Alastair McDonald-Tam Lin? The link is dead.

3:58 am  

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