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The 2018 Dave Pegg Interview from Cropredy

The 2018 Dave Pegg Interview from Cropredy

Paul Johnson and Darren Beech track down Dave Pegg at this year at Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival. The interview gets off to a great start with Paul remembering to press the record button!

In the interview, we talk about Peggy and Nigel Schofield’s new book ‘Off the Pegg’. We discuss Brian Wilson’s ‘Pet Sounds’ set which headlined Cropredy’s Thursday night. The process that goes behind booking the bands and acts for the festival plus the challenges of announcing the line-up.

We also discuss; Smith and Brewer, Ralph McTell, Peggy’s birthday and Midnight Skyracer. Plus Maart’s new book, Metal Matty, the petition and Jethro Tull.

The video above is unseen footage from back in January 2003 when Darren Beech recorded it at the ‘Woodworm Hilton’ before the Fairport skittles evening (as mentioned in the interview). Its content, refers to that trouser incident interview that was used in the Cropredy Y2K programme. The clip was recorded with an old webcam and originally the sound was too faint to hear, so it was never used. New technology has fixed the sound issue, although the Rocking horse now sounds like it has been converted into a Harley Davidson hybrid! Anyway, we thought it would be fun to finally let it see the light of day.

Click on the play button below to listen to the 2018 Dave Pegg Interview.

If you missed the original Y2K interview (referenced in both the video and audio interview)  or would like to read it again, then you can read it here.

Diggers Festival – Free event in September

Diiggers Festival

The Diggers Festival is a celebration of the life, ideas, and actions of Wigan born, Gerrard Winstanley, founder of The Diggers (or True Levellers) Movement, a significant influence on revolutionary political thought and the reason why Wigan can proudly claim to be one of the birthplaces of Socialism.

Headlined by

The Blockheads

Merry Hell

Commoners Choir

Atilla The Stockbroker’s Barnstormer 1649

Joe Solo

Saturday 8th September: Believe Square, Wigan 11am – 9.30pm FREE!

This will be the 8th Diggers Festival.  From humble beginnings in a small pub with approximately fifty attendees and participants, last year saw over 4,000 visitors, with a crowd of around 1,500 watching headliners Merry Hell round off proceedings.  The growth of the event, to what can now be considered a Northern brother to the more established Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival, means that it now attracts a nationally recognised headline act in The Blockheads, hopefully drawing in more people who will also see a range of excellent artists gracing both stages.  Multi Award-winning folk rockers Merry Hell will make a return by public demand, along with The Commoners Choir, with whom they will briefly share the stage prior to their own set!  Atilla The Stockbroker’s new project Barnstormer 1649 will use the festival to launch their new album that features his trademark punk-folk lyricism with a selection of historical instruments.  Political troubadour Joe Solo will be presented with an award for his outstanding efforts in continuing work in the ethos and image of Gerrard Winstanley.  The We Shall Overcome movement he inspired has run hundreds of gigs and raised huge amounts of money and goods to support those worst affected by austerity and most needing a little of the equality that Winstanley advocated.  Local musicians are well represented with Lawrence Hoy, a familiar name to many in the North West Folk parish, appearing for the second year, this time in his duo guise as Rare Ould Times.  Not a man to hide his political light under a bushel, Lawrence also won last year’s songwriting prize, celebrating 80 years since the publication of George Orwell’s Road To Wigan Pier. Recent Folk North West cover star Gerry Ffrench will also be in attendance along with a whole host more – all details on that internet.

So there you have it. If Winstanley’s ideals chime with your own, come on down and celebrate with many a like minded soul.  If the politics are not wholly to your liking, then there’s still good music to be enjoyed and possibly the chance of a Damascene moment!

If you do come and enjoy, the whole event is funded by donations, sponsorship and beer sales!  So don’t ignore the buckets being passed around or the bar with its selection of real ale and other, lesser drinks.

Also Appearing

The Amber List
Jupiter Hollow Band
Brandon Lee Webb Band
Patrick McKenzie
T.E. Yates
Bard Company
Eliza P and the Disco Misfits
The Joe Astley Band
and poets
Seamus Kelly
John Wilmington
Robin Welch

Festival website:

THE GLOAMING – Live At The NCH (Real World CD/Vinyl)

Live At The NCHIt almost goes without saying that Martin Hayes (fiddle) and Dennis Cahill (guitar) have shaped Irish traditional music for the last quarter century and are recognised the world over for their sublime lyrical and melodic interpretation of almost everything they touch. What has kept them fresh and relevant across the years is their willingness to collaborate with musicians as diverse as Paul Simon and Yo Yo Ma while always returning to those within their own fold. They still perform as a duo but have periodic outings with the bigger sound that comes from the 5-piece The Gloaming, formed in 2011. Live At The NCH refers to Dublin’s National Concert Hall which now has become an annual pilgrimage for a seven night bonanza. Would that I could be there!

Cleverly, the band’s producer Thomas Bartlett started with six tracks from the band’s two studio albums and, for the live performance, allowed them to expand into six lengthy arrangements that encompassed other songs and tunes. Iarla O Lionaird’s plaintive Irish language vocals dominate three tracks, though my promotional copy gives no clue as to what the songs are about. Instrumentally, the sparse piano of Thomas Bartlett is striking but what really intrigued me was the Hardanger d’Amour (5+5) Norwegian fiddle of Caoimhin O Raghallaigh. The top five bowed gut strings plus the five sympathetic strings below give the fiddle a wonderful resonant sound. It’s both sonically and visually pleasing. Indeed, the whole album transports the listener to another calmer, holistic place.

Jon Bennett

Artists’ website:

Here’s a complete set from The Gloaming at the NCH:

WILL KEATING – Cornwall My Home (Kernow Ow Thre) (Own Label)

Cornwall My HomeAs it happens, I’d heard quite a lot of Will Keating’s CD Cornwall My Home (Kernow Ow Thre) before a copy came my way, having heard Will on the West Cornwall radio station Coast FM, where Ian Semple has played the seriously catchy title song ‘Cornwall My Home’ several times. All the material here is written by Harry Glasson, apart from a Cornish translation of one of Harry’s songs. Harry Glasson was a popular performer in Cornwall and far beyond for over 30 years, until cancer surgery in 2009 made singing almost impossible. Will describes the album as a celebration of his “friend, and Mentor, and true Cornish Legend, Harry (Safari) Glasson.” Which seems a fair summation.

Will’s very pleasant vocals are augmented here by some notable local names: Anna Dowling (fiddle and nicely understated backing vocals), John Dowling (banjo), Owain Hanford (drums and percussion) and long-time jazzer Claudia Colmer (double bass) among them.

  1. ‘Prelude’ is actually eight seconds of a very small person (Will’s youngest daughter, aged three at the time) singing the last line of ‘Cornwall My Home’. If that sounds too cute for comfort, bear with me: there’s a lot to like about this CD.
  2. ‘Bury Me’ isn’t as sombre as its title suggests, being an expression of the writer’s desire to enjoy interment within sight of the picturesque Cornish landscape. And why not?
  3. I have heard a recording by Harry of ‘Home For Flora’ augmented by a kazoo (I guess) playing the ‘Helston Flora Dance’ as a counterpoint to the chorus. Will’s version doesn’t go that far, and the fiddle, banjo, bass and percussion here are sympathetic to the underlying sadness of the lyric, and then shade into a sprightly version of the ‘Flora Dance’ played by the Helston Town Band. I can’t imagine that anyone who’s ever enjoyed the spectacle on May 8th wouldn’t like to have this recording as a lasting memento.
  4. ‘Kernow Ow Thre’ is a version of ‘Cornwall My Home’ translated into Cornish by Matthi ab Dewi: this is a sparse arrangement with just Will’s vocals (double-tracked in places) and guitar and Claudia Colmer’s double bass. Even so, a notable earworm.
  5. ‘Saint Just Feast’ was recorded live during Will’s Cornish Folk concert at St Senara’s Church in Zennor. (I’d guess that the Zennor church’s connection with the legend of the mermaid of Zennor has a lot to do with the mermaids that adorn the sleeve, the booklet, and the CD itself. Will tells me that they were drawn by Anna Dowling and modelled on his four daughters.) It’s an engaging contemplation on the Cornish traditions of choral singing and parish feasts, though it’s simply and effectively arranged here with just Will’s voice and guitar.
  6. ‘Song For Cornwall’ (sometimes known as ‘Harry’s Song For Cornwall’) picks up the pace and features Matthew Woolley’s chin cello (a violin or viola strung with low-range strings to emulate the range of a “real” cello), Izaak Spencer’s mandolin, and William Barnes on bass, as well as John Dowling’s banjo.
  7. ‘Cornwall My Home’ is probably Harry’s best-known song, not least through the singing of the Oggymen, the Cape Cornwall Singers, Bone Idol and many others. This arrangement includes a wider range of instruments (including Louise Amanda Payne on cello and viola) and the Truro High School for Girls Prep Choir. While the overall effect is more ‘Grandad’ than ‘Another Brick In The Wall Part 2’, it’s absurdly catchy and I even found my cynical old eyes trying (and failing, fortunately) to water a little. And I’m not even Cornish, though I live in the area…
  8. ‘Newlyn’ is a darker song, the only one here in a minor key: fittingly, since it addresses the decline of the Cornish fishing industry with understated effectiveness. As elsewhere, Anna Dowling’s fiddle deserves a mention, as do John Dowling’s banjo and Claudia Colmer’s atmospheric bowed double bass.
  9. ‘Men Of Cornwall’ is another of Harry’s song that is often sung by others: John Dowling’s banjo here gives it a pleasant Americana-ish feel.
  10. ‘South Crofty’ was also recorded at the St Senara’s concert and benefits from Will’s spoken introduction to the story of how it came to be written. The South Crofty tin and copper mine in Pool was closed in 1998, but the song encapsulates Harry’s reaction to the news that it was hoped to reopen it under new management. That hasn’t happened yet (as far as I know), but it’s nice to think that it still might.
  11. ‘Beautiful Islands Of Scilly’ features harmonies from The Oggymen and Rob Norman’s piano and organ. And if that doesn’t get you onto the Scillonian for a trip to St Mary’s, I don’t know what will.
  12. ‘Saint Just Ladies’ is a kind of old-timey Cornish equivalent to ‘California Girls’, with a tune that reminds me slightly of an old ballad about Jesse James. I’m not sure it’s altogether politically correct, but I bet it gets everyone singing along in folk clubs.
  13. ‘Dicky Pips Dunkey’ is a dialect poem performed by Andy Rowe: if you find the various ‘Arkansas Traveller’ vaudeville sketches amusing, or fond memories of Bill Caddick slipping ‘P-tarmigan and Groaty Dick’ onto his Sunny Memories album you’ll like this too. Well, I did, but I have a strange sense of humour and a love for quirky fragments of regional folklore.

I’m sure there’s a ready audience for this well-packaged CD among Cornwall’s many summer visitors, but there’s more to this collection than tourist board fodder. While I don’t quite hear a stunner like Steve Knightley’s ‘Cousin Jack’ or Jim Causley’s setting of ‘My Young Man’s A Cornishman’, these are good, solid songs whose choruses are often heard in various West Country venues, and there’s more than a hint here and there of the magic and mystery that lingers in the Cornish landscape.

So I’m off to see what other songs of Harry Glasson’s I can find on SoundCloud…

David Harley

Artist’s website:

‘Cornwall My Home’:

ASSYNT – Road To The North (Garthland Records, GAR001CD)

Road To The NorthThe trio of musicians who make up Assynt may still only be in their 20s but between them have already amassed a barrowload of nominations and awards. Having worked with many of Scotland’s finest musicians, this year they finally came together as Assynt (named after an area of North-West Scotland). So, as the first album from this newly-minted group, there’s plenty of anticipation surrounding Road To The North.

That it’s an album of largely original material is the first of many pleasant surprises. Pipes and whistles man David Shedden contributes by far the largest share, although Graham Mackenzie (fiddle) and Innes White (guitar / mandolin) demonstrate equally strong composition skills. Only the final track, ‘Harris Dance’ presents a set of traditional tunes, drawing the line of continuity between old and new.

White’s understated playing is the keystone to the band, holding the centre rhythmically and with great sensitivity. Sometimes loose and jazzy (‘Fiend And The Hound’), at other times hinting at Spanish style (‘Aidan Jack’), or playfully riding the beat on ‘No Way Out’, he’s got flair to spare. On the lovely ‘Ava May’, his spare accompaniment underscores a lyrical lament very much in the Highland tradition.

Sheddon’s vigorous and nimble piping is at the fore on ‘The One Upper’ and title track, ‘Road To The North’. Mackenzie, whose clean style tends to minimal vibrato afterburn, readily matches or complements him, as the tunes demand. Frequently, fiddle and pipes/whistles are tightly and intricately entwined, moving effortlessly from mirroring the melody to chasing around and playing tag with it, as on ‘Forward Thinking’. On the smartly drilled ‘Garthland Drive’ they wreathe and twine sinuously around each other, whilst ‘Conal McDonagh’s’ initially moody fiddle gets bowled over by some frenzied pipes as they spin off in a rapidly turning pattern.

The interplay between these three musicians is deft and subtle, the tuneset bridging transitions smooth. There can be no doubting the quality of their composition, arranging and playing together. If they’re this good when they’re just starting out together, imagine what Assynt could become.

Su O’Brien

Artists’ website:

‘The One Upper’ – live:

HILARY SCOTT – Don’t Call Me Angel (Belltown)

Don't Call Me AngelReleased in the 20th anniversary of her older brother’s death, which saw her take her stage name in his honour, Don’t Call Me Angel  is Washington- born multi-instrumentalist Scott’s 12th studio album , one that veers more to soul and blues than her previous country sound. Indeed, as part of the crowd-funding process fans were invited to suggest covers to rearrange, the result being a slow blues version of Prince’s ‘Kiss’ that oozes sensuality and seduction as opposed to the ten pints want some of this bluster of Tom Jones.

Backed by drummer husband AJ Gennaro, bassist Josh Schilling, Grammy-winning guitarist Johnny Lee Schell and Mike Finnigan on Hammond organ, slow burn soulful moods are also struck on the organ-backed gospel tinged ‘Make It Right’, tender baby grand piano ballad ‘Moon and Back’, ‘Not Used To Being Used To’ and slow waltzer ‘Heartless’ while album closer ‘Here I Am’ returns to the gospel end of the spectrum.

Which isn’t to say that her country roots don’t show through. ‘You Will Be Mine’ has a roadhouse bar band heart and, riding Gennaro’s steady drum beat, ‘In Time’ has a familiar chiming jog rhythm, albeit without the over-orchestration Nashville likes to load on such. numbers. By way of something different, ‘Unlove Story’ breaks out a baritone Cordoba ukulele to join the bubbling Hammond and clopping percussion bring a lighter musical note to the song’s melancholic pessimistic outlook on finding romance.

However, it’s the opening title track, a sort of emotional opposite to ‘Angel of the Morning’, that sets the seal on the album’s quality, a slow, brushed honky tonk snare brushed waltz with Scott playing two different six string guitars doubled and overlaid to create the 12-string jangle while Lee Schell adds mandolin as she sings “I could never be your savior… just a thief doing time/When you think about me, think of me at my worst/The heroes, the martyrs, the saints, they all ended up cursed” as the number builds to a climax and a quiet farewell.

Quite simply, it’s one of the best old school Americana heartbreakers I’ve heard this year. The rest of the album’s pretty damn fine too.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website:

‘To Make You Feel My Love’ live – just because: