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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:

Catty Pearson releases debut EP

Catty Pearson

London singer-songwriter Catty Pearson, with her musical roots planted in folk, country and blues and her head set on unravelling some of the confusion she feels in today’s world, releases a stunning debut EP Time Tells Me (reviewed in our recent Singles Bar) on Wednesday 24th October, recorded by Rolling Stones producer Chris Kimsey. The launch gig is at Laylow in Notting Hill, London, on October 23rd with Ollie Clarke on the guitar, Lukas Drinkwater on the double bass and bass, Duncan on the mandolin and violin and James Larter on the drums.

These song hold up a mirror and reflect, beautifully and poignantly, what many of us are thinking and feeling.

“Her voice forms an oasis of serenity amidst the chaos of the world.” A fan. 

The new collection was recorded with Chris Kimsey, best known for his work producing the Rolling Stones at legendary Olympic Sound Studios:

“when you listen to Catty Pearson, take a deep, deep breath as her gracious soothing voice transports your blood pressure and heartbeat to a new vista. Truly unspoilt, a breath of Mother Earth.”

Catty, who has been compared to Norah Jones, describes Time Tells Me as her enquiry into materialism and the insidious creeping of technology into all areas our lives.

It’s not unusual for a singer-songwriter to question the state of the world today in their songs. What IS rare is to discover a young musician as prepared as she is to turn words into actions. Catty has lived with a tribe in Malaysia, walked across parts of Northern India with 1000 nuns to raise awareness of and help educate people about the detrimental effects of plastic and pollution on our planet, worked on a farm in California to learn skills for sustainable living, and most recently swam from Albania to Corfu to help raise funds for an orphanage.

So when she talks about the passion behind her writing, we know she’s not just paying lip service, and nor is she preaching. Instead she holds up a mirror and reflects, beautifully and poignantly, what many of us are thinking and feeling.

Catty grew up listening to the sounds of Neil Young, Donovan, Cat Stevens, Norah Joans, Eva Cassidy, Joan Armastrading, Bob Dylan, David Grey, Eddie Vedder, Moby and Leonard Cohen.

Time Tells Me will be released on Spotify and iTunes via AWAL. The EP features Ollie Clarke on the guitar, Evan Jenkins on drums, Lukas Drinkwater on the base and double base, Flora Curzon on the violin, Nichol Thompson on the trombone and Jansen Santana playing percussion.

Artist’s website: cattypearson.com/

London launch gig: 8pm Laylow, 10 Golborne Road, W10 5PE

‘Electricity’ – the first single:

SINGLES BAR 34 – A round-up of recent EPs and singles

THE SALTS – Brave (Braccan Records BRCD9001)

BraveThe Salts perform shanties but not quite in the way you might expect. They are five seasoned musicians with a remarkable list of credits to their names from Pete Best via Thunderclap Newman to Ben E King. Now based in the leafy suburbs of Surrey and Berkshire, Brave is their second album. All five sing and harmonise naturally but that’s not how they perform – essentially they are an amplified acoustic band with a drummer but there is even more to them.

The first three tracks are arguably Caribbean in origin – the one I hadn’t heard before, ‘Running Down To Cuba’ certainly is – and The Salts give them a tropical feel. They don’t actually play reggae, or even a pastiche of reggae, but they give the songs a real lilt. Purists may not like it but they throw in a middle eight here and there and ‘Cuba’ has a distinctly Latin break as Lee Collinson’s banjo combines with Richard Nash’s percussion for a shanty you can dance to.

‘Drunken Sailor’ is the track I wasn’t looking forward to, it really is so hackneyed. The Salts find the darkness in it beginning with just the drums before Jeremy Hart’s guitar comes in and the instrumental break is as heavy as you could wish. It’s a real crowd-pleaser. They do the same with RL Stevenson’s ‘Fifteen Men’ which is a really nasty lyric detailing a number of gory deaths. Even here they employ a string quartet as they do on the title track, the only original song in the set, written by Jeremy.

They give a nod to the American origins of ‘Johnny Come Down To Hilo’ with the banjo on top and Brian Doran’s mandolin joining it. Of course, you can’t sing it the way it was collected these days and it can be argued that once you take a shanty out of its context it has lost its purpose anyway. The Salts’ approach is a valid as that of the massed choirs who sweeten shanties for mass consumption – actually, more so. Which brings us to the final track. ’10,000 Miles’ is a song of transportation on a “government ship”, with the twist that the man is left behind while his lover is transported – a little bit of hstory. Nowadays it’s the softer, more reflective version that is heard most often but The Salts use its capstan or forebitter rhythm to bring their album to a stomping conclusion.

I’m fairly local to The Salts and I’ll see them live soon but they will be performing at the Great British Folk Festival next month and you would be well advised to take a listen. You’ll probably buy this album from them.

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.

Artists’ website: https://www.thesalts.co.uk/

‘Bulgine Run’ – official video:

MALCOLM HOLCOMBE – Come Hell Or High Water (Gypsy Eyes Music)

Come Hell Or High WaterIf you feel that ‘Southern folk golem’ Holcombe’s croaky roll-up rasp suggests he’s been shovelling coal dust of his cereals and makes Tom Waits sound like Perry Como, then you’ll be pleased to hear that on his latest album, Come Hell Or High Water, his third in as many years, is leavened by vocal contributions from Iris DeMent and Greg Brown. If you’re a fan regardless, this is just icing on the cake.

It opens with ‘Left Alone’, a Prine-like strummed song about an old friend, a “veteran Vietnam killing machine” that takes on a wider resonance about soldiers who sink into self-destruction when they return home only to be abandoned by those they served. A similar concern for the nation’s invisible people fuels the simply scuffed deMent duet, I Don’t Wanna Disappear Anymore’ as he sings “I love to work and keep my head above water/It’s hard to live in the darkness”.

That same sense of not belonging informs the mandolin flecked shuffling ‘New Damnation Alley’ and its image of America’s economic divide, of the “billionaire barbarians” cruising their corporate “clipper ships for slaves”. An equally desolate vision shapes the fingerpicked acoustic blues ‘Legal Tender’ with its images of a drug money economy with “trailer meth labs round the corner” and how “pharmaceuticals paint the sky and fill the cemeteries”.

‘It Is What It Is’ takes a tribal blues stop rhythm with Jared Tyler on Dobro as he sings about doing what you gotta do to make it through but still being able to “walk away free and clean”, while ‘Black Bitter Moon’ serves another cautionary note about the coming “rain and the dread” that balances image of community bonds with ones of domestic abuse.

The album’s mood rarely wavers throughout, ‘Torn & Wrinkled’ a rumination on growing old and a feeling of never living up to his father’s legacy, the fingerpicked slide blues ‘October Mornin’’ a spare traditional folk-blues like number about being lost in a spiritual darkness, the cruel cold of winter and living on the skids the core of both ‘The Old North Side’ and ‘In The Winter’.

Again duetting with deMent, when he sings about being his ‘Brother’s Keeper’, you might expect a crack of light, but it would seem that in contemporary America there are no good Samaritans reaching out to the “breadlines of the bones”, compassion lost “beyond the weepin’ screams”. It’ll come as little surprise then that, another Prine echo, the mandolin bedecked ‘Merry Christmas’ is anything but with its family portrait of “rockin’ chair grouchy gums” and how “daddy’s drunk doncha know it”.

On the CD inner sleeve, he includes a section from a painting by Kylie Harris based on Captain Beefheart’s 10 Commandments Of Guitar Playing, one of which is “Don’t wipe the sweat off your instrument. You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.” This album reeks to high heaven.

Mike Davies

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.malcolmholcombe.com/

‘Black Bitter Moon’ – official video: