Dan Ogus has been co-hosting Scattering The Roots with Shep Woolley since early 2011. Recently, when Shep retired, Dan decided to fly solo, and in folking.com’s opinion, has started the assent to take the show to new heights.
I want to present the kind of weekly programme that I’d enjoy listening to myself, showcasing music I’m enthusiastic and passionate about – folk, roots, blues, Americana, retro, unplugged, singer/songwriter with a nod and wink to other styles, along with occasional studio guests and interviews. With that in mind, on Scattering The Roots you’re just as likely to hear John Hiatt, Pink Floyd, Suzanne Vega, Nick Cave, Big Star and Robert Plant, for example, as well as other folkier music. Dan Ogus Continue reading Scattering The Roots with Dan Ogus
There was a time (some time ago admittedly) when the words folk and ‘entertainer’ weren’t looked upon in such a derisory way as they are now. Shep Woolley, John Townsend, Jasper and Billy could all be found plying their trade alongside the Bolton ‘Bullfrog’ himself Bernard Wrigley. From his gently expressive Lancashire brogue Wrigley relates songs and tales the way you used to enjoy them whilst watching Jackanory (rhyming slang for a glib excuse…don’t you know?) or perhaps those early ‘folk’ performers including The Spinners. The art of balancing a sense of humour juxtaposed with the pathos experienced in a song like the opening track “The Dutchman” shows that the tears of a clown are indeed deeply imbedded in us all but of course to temper this, we have the jocularity of sadly missed music hall songs including “Down In The Fields Where The Buttercups All Grow” or Bernard’s own “Does My Bum Look Big In This”. It’s also good to see that the ‘folk’ singer in us of a certain dotage can still pick a good song from the back catalogue of established artists including John Denver (or in Bernard’s case the original composer Steve Gillette’s) “Darcy Farrow”. Even further back, Lonnie Donegan’s “Have A Drink On Me” (the ‘Politically Correct’ brigade even had a say back in the early 60’s) has that welcoming hootenanny style that draws everybody in. In many respects this is an album that takes me back to my youth and for that alone I can’t thank Bernard enough. This recording along with about twenty others are only available at his concerts or check out his website at http://www.bernardwrigley.com/ PETE FYFE
I remember a time when the words ‘folk’ and ‘entertainer’ ran side by side like participants in a well-oiled marathon and artists such as Shep Woolley, Jasper Carrot, Richard Digance and Billy Connolly were on equal billing with the likes of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and Joe Brown. Of course, the demographic has shifted with most ‘folk’ music audiences sneering at the very thought of actually enjoying any performance that leaves you with a smile on your face but, having said that, it’s interesting to note that Shep has kept his career intact for some forty years where as many more ‘cultured’ artists have fallen by the wayside. A cursory glance at the track listing highlights the diversity of this particular performer as Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” and Tawney’s “Chicken On A Raft” sit comfortably alongside uproariously funny monologues including Les Barker’s “Old Queen Mother” (complete with Paul Robeson style intonation) and “Woodpeckers”. A not inconsiderable song-writer himself, Woolley reprises his nautical favourites “Rammit Boys, I’m RDP” and the jovial sing-a-long “Blue Liners And Bubbly” with other tracks including “Watching The Ships Sail By” and Dave Evardson’s “The Old North Wall” added to the mix. On a more reflective note the inclusion of the powerful reading of Shep’s own ironic (The Admiral Said) “We Had A Good War” followed by Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” is a nostalgic look back to the heady days when the protest song was king and finishes a nicely rounded package that is great value for money for those of us that remember the halcyon days when Folk Festivals were ruled by the compere. www.shepwoolley.co.uk PETE FYFE