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ANNE MARIE ALMEDAL – Lightshadow (VMP 18/012 CD)

LightshadowAnne Marie Almedal is a Norwegian singer and composer whose album, Lightshadow, is now on release. Almedal, was the lead singer of the band Velvet Belly from 1989 – 2003 and has released a number of solo albums since then, a little more folk oriented than those I’ve listened to by the band.

Lightshadow has a classy sound to it, at times almost orchestral, occasionally almost ambient in its accompaniment. Her vocals are precise – sometimes breathy, sometimes with the vocal flourishes of a show singer. To give a mixed analogy to singers better known in in the U.K., the vocals and arrangements remind me of something somewhere between Judy Collins and Kate Bush.

All but one of the songs are written by Almedal and her partner Nicholas Sillitoe. Perhaps the most easily accessible is the single, ‘Sheltering Sky’ which you can hear in the video link below, which is quite lovely – folk-pop perhaps? I also like ‘Hard Times’ with a predominantly soaring vocal against the piano and strings which then finishes quietly, strings stilled, and the lyrics “I wish I was unbreakable/ That every wound would heal/ How strong it would make me/ feel”.

Lightshadow, I suspect, will speak to those who are already fans. I’ve enjoyed listening to the album but found it a little too stylized in places. However, that probably says as much about my preference for music which is a bit more raw than this as it does about Lightshadow, because the album is well played, well produced and beautifully sung.

Mike Wistow

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.annemariealmedal.com

‘Sheltering Sky’:

BOB DYLAN AND THE BAND – 1974 Tour Live (Rox Vox RV3CD2137)

1974 Tour Live1974 Tour Live is a pretty self-explanatory title, but if you’re still curious for anything else other than the obvious, it is a three disc set, covering two shows from January ’74 (Boston and New York) from Bob Dylan and The Band, recorded during their mid-70s comeback tour. The first thing that is worth noting about the set is that the sound is excellent, particularly on the Boston show. The second thing, is that at first glance, the track list looks remarkably similar to the officially-released document of this tour, recorded in Los Angeles, Before The Flood…the operative part of that being “at first glance”.

While there are Band-styled arrangements of Dylan standards which are common to both releases, (‘Like A Rolling Stone’, ‘Lay Lady Lay’, ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’, All Along the Watchtower’ etc.) there are a good number of equally worthy selections, which did not appear on the Flood record. An almost honkytonk styled ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ and Hammond organ soaked version of ‘I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)’ are among the openers of the Boston disc. The same rock’n’roll, tour de force makes its presence felt on the New York recordings, with a hard-hitting version of Dylan’s 1963 ‘protest-era’ number ‘The Ballad Of Hollis Brown’ and in an amped up rendition of ‘Forever Young’. The Band themselves contribute some unused gems; ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’ and the effortlessly cool ‘King Harvest (Has Surely Come)’. However, it is not just electric numbers to behold on this recording; acoustic guitar and harmonica-racked versions of ‘The Times They Are A-Changing’ (where Dylan alternates between jangling guitar patterns and solo vocal) and an energetic performance of ‘Gates Of Eden’, in which his voice sounds remarkably good.

Of course, the deciding factor regarding the appeal of this album is basically a case of what you want to get out of it. For Dylan completists, it will, I’m sure, have its own appeal. For those familiar with the aforementioned Before The Flood this may feel like an extension of that record, and in a lot of ways it should; but with the added incentive of omitted tracks and alternative performances of the Flood recording.

In the current climate of the Dylan vaults being continually raided to comprise impressive, but impossibly overpriced Columbia-issued box sets (next installment earmarked for November 2018) this smaller set fits right in with the trend, a huge difference being, however, that this one won’t break the bank.

Christopher James Sheridan

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

No useful website but 1974 Tour Live is available from all the usual outlets.

‘Ballad Of Hollis Brown’:

The Great British Folk Festival 2018

The Great British Folk Festival 2018

Hi-de-Hi! Hi-De-Ho! to all the team at The Great British Folk Festival 2018 at the Butlin’s Skegness resort.

Yep, its that time of the year again when “That Old Sweet Folk and Roll” comes to Skeggy and the “Blood, Sweat & Tears” of the Bultlin’s Live Music Weekend calendar, clashes with their other Electric Dreams weekend event in Bognor (where you can see Pat Sharp and join the Eighties music themed Pool Party). There is some brilliant banter already on the ‘Live Music Weekends’ facebook page suggesting that one individual would ‘rather watch paint dry’ than make the trip up North. Well, all we can say is your ‘folking loss Me Ol’ Mucker’ as I believe there is workshop on the Saturday morning up in Skeggy for that.

Look at that line-up above! Where else are you going to get that sort of a bill during 30 November to 2 December?

Anyway, you can probably tell that we are excited to the point of delirium so I’ll hand you over to folking.com’a answer to “Smashie” (I’m apparently Nicey), Mr Paul ‘How are Ya’ Johnson who is going to say a few words…

For tickets and more information visit GBFF 2018

Darren Beech

Here is Dai Jeffries excellent review from 2015 to get you in the mood.

THE GREAT BRITISH FOLK FESTIVAL, Skegness, 4th-7th December

Andy White tours reissued Rave On

Rave On Andy White

“Andy White, Belfast born and Belfast bred, first picked up a guitar when he was thirteen. It was blocking up the hallway. He started strumming it in a beatnik basement belonging to a big bastard called Bobby.”

So started the 1986 press release for Andy’s debut album, reissued by Vinyl 180 on October 26th.

The eighties folk revival led by The Pogues, The Waterboys and Hothouse Flowers cut an authentic, soulful swathe through the music culture of the MTV generation. On Rave On, Andy’s voice and lyrics told the story of a boy growing up in the political and social chaos of Northern Ireland and making his way to Thatcher’s Britain with an acoustic guitar and a suitcase full of poetry books, Clash cassettes and Bob Dylan albums.

Originally recorded in a field in County Antrim, this year’s reissue is a limited edition in white 180g vinyl with a gatefold sleeve. It still sounds fresh, raw and urgent today and is complemented by latest album, The Guilty & The Innocent, Andy’s reaction to the current news cycle. Grenfell, Trump, Corbyn, (in)equality and justice are its themes. The six minute title track stunned audiences on his UK tour last year. You’ve got to hear it.

Along the line connecting these two albums, Andy has collaborated with the likes of Tim Finn and Liam O Maonlai (as ALT), written with Peter Gabriel, recorded with Sinead O’Connor and toured with Van Morrison. But Andy’s voice, trademark lyrical wit and the magic he can conjure up with musicians in a studio remains a constant. Along with a stellar career in music he’s always kept a firm grip on the “have guitar, will travel” folksinger ethos on display in the back of a Beetle, one West London afternoon in 1986.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://www.andywhite.com/

‘This Is Not A Television Show’ – official video:

Tour Dates

Saturday Nov 17 TREDEGAR, Nag’s Head Tel: 01495 722867

Sunday Nov 18 LEEDS, Northern Guitars Tel: 0121 443 4725

Monday Nov 19 BIRMINGHAM, Kitchen Garden Café Tel: 0121 443 4725 Tickets

Wednesday Nov 21 LEYTONSTONE, What’s Cookin’ Tel: 01273 680734

Friday Nov 23 HASTINGS, The Fountain Tel: 01424 424455

Saturday Nov 24 BURY, The Met Tel: 020 8780 9383 Tickets

Sunday Nov 25 BATH, Chapel Arts Centre Tel: 01225 461700 Tickets

Monday Nov 26 BRIGHTON, The Greys Tel: 01273 680734

Tuesday Nov 27 LEICESTER, The Musician Tel: 0116 251 0080

Thursday Nov 29 LONDON, Half Moon Putney Tel: 020 8780 9383 Tickets

Friday Nov 30 BELPER, Queen’s Head Tel: 01773 825525

Saturday Dec 1 EDINBURGH, Leith Depot Tel: 0131 555 4738 Tickets

Sunday Dec 2 GLASGOW, Sounds In The Suburbs, The Doublet Tel: 0794 435 4459 Tickets

Monday Dec 3 HAWICK, Heart of Hawick Tel: 01450 360 668

Wednesday Dec 6 BELFAST, The American Bar Tel: 028 9074 7494 Tickets

Sunday Dec 9 DUBLIN, DC Music Club Tel: 087 682 5306

Ray Cooper announces winter tour

Ray Cooper

Former Oysterband man Ray Cooper is touring the UK solo in November as well as in February 2019

A singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist he currently resides in the depths of Sweden where he has lived since 2000. He left Oysterband in 2013 the year in which they picked up 3 BBC radio 2 folk awards and appeared live on Later with Jools Holland. Since then he has carved out a successful solo career.

Ray Cooper is a Scottish/English songwriter currently living in Sweden. When Cooper left art school in Brighton he decided to follow where music took him. He joined Oysterband, eventually recording 19 albums and touring in 27 countries. In 2013 he went solo and never looked back.

After setting up a recording studio in a small log cabin in Sweden he made his first album Tales Of Love War And Death By Hanging in 2010; it has a strongly historical theme. In 2014 he followed it up with Palace Of Tears which was about more recent, more personal history.

Between The Golden Age & The Promised Land released in May 2018, will surprise many of his listeners. It is a big sounding record with serious themes but is nevertheless simple, raw, joyous, and unashamedly romantic.

While Cooper continues to develop as a singer, here he plays all the instruments too, in a stripped down production inspired by producer Rick Rubin’s treatment of Johnny Cash’s late recordings.The familiar mandolin, cello, guitar and harmonica are all there but Cooper also makes his recording debut as a piano player.

“I am half Scottish and half English, I live in Sweden, I tour in Europe, I have no home town, I think of myself as a north European now”.

Artist’s website: www.raycooper.org

Tour Dates

November

16th – South Hill Arts- South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell, Berkshire £12.50, 7.30 pm,  01344 484123

17th – St Mary’s Church, Silverless St,  Marlborough, £15, 8 pm, 01672 512357

21st – Red Lion folk club, Vicarage Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham £12, 7.45 pm, 0121-472 4253

24th – Gregson Arts, 33-35 Moorgate, Lancaster £12/£8, 8 pm, 01524 849959

25th – Albion Brewery, 54 Kingswell Street, Northampton £12, 8 pm, 01664 946606

30th – Sports And Social Club, 43 Havant Road, Emsworth £12.50, 8 pm, 01243 376037

December

1st – De Koffie Pot, Bridget St, Hereford time / price- tbc- call – 01432 357753

Live at Wickham Festival:

LUKA BLOOM – Sometimes I Fly… (MIG MIG 02102 CD)

Sometimes I Fly...This album was recorded by Radio Bremen in 2001. Luka Bloom is big in Germany; he’s big in Ireland naturally but for some unfathomable reason he isn’t really big in the UK. Sometimes I Fly… is his second live album and was probably recorded about the same time as the first, given that they have several songs in common.

Most of the songs come out of Luka’s early days beginning with the anthemic ‘Diamond Mountain’ from the album Turf. Instead of pressing on in the same vein he follows that with the gentle, moody ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ and by the time he’s finished ‘Ciara’ he has the audience eating out of his hand. That may have something to do with the guitar break he plays but they even applaud the little sigh he lets out before moving on.

For my money, there are three absolute classic Luka Bloom songs in this set. The first of these is ‘Gone To Pablo’, a seemingly simple song which deceives us into following the narrative we imagine before the twist comes in the reveal. Next is Luka’s greatest hit, ‘You Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time’, a song with a chorus that everyone can sing along with but which hides a world of pain for its two protagonists. Thirdly comes ‘As I Waved Goodbye’ about the Dalai Lama’s exile from Tibet – what a masterpiece.

That’s not to diss any of the other songs: ‘Holy Ground’ and ‘Perfect Groove’ top the list of those I haven’t mentioned yet. Luka has a penchant for performing covers and here we have Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Please Don’t Tell Me How This Story Ends’ which blends well with his more romantic songs. Like all of Luka Bloom’s albums you need to spend time with Sometimes I Fly…– three or four plays should get you in the door.

The sadness is that Luka doesn’t seem to have a distributor handling his records in the UK. You can buy them second-hand or at ridiculous import prices but even when we had record shops it was hard to pick them out of a browser. Someone should do something, he said impotently.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: https://www.lukabloom.com/

A later version of ‘As I Waved Goodbye’ – live: