Richard Thompson in concert at Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche, Faenza, Italy. 19th June 2016
How great is this? A pay on the door chance to see and hear at close quarters one of the great figures in contemporary folk-rock, and playing solo too.
This was meant to be an outside show in the grounds of Faenza’s elegant ceramic museum but the threat of rain prompted a late change of plans.
A makeshift stage was set up in the gallery space and plastic seats took the place of cushions.
The arrangements were made easier by the fact, that for a class act like Richard Thompson, all you need is a guitar and a glass of water. Continue reading
EMINENT HIPSTERS by Donald Fagen (Vintage Books, 2014)
This book is a good antidote to clichéd rock memoirs suggesting life on the road is one extended party. Here there’s no sex, some prescription drugs and a bit of AOR.
The second part takes the form of a 2012 tour diary based on concerts across America performed with Michael ‘Doobie Brother’ McDonald and Boz Scaggs as The Dukes of September Rhythm Review.
It was written mostly to relieve the monotony of playing a series of gigs in mostly sub-par venues to aging punters and staying in soulless hotels.
Fagen coins the term Acute Tour Disorder (ATD) to describe the state of anxiety, paranoia, depression and physical discomfort he experiences. You have to wonder why he keeps going and he asks himself this same question at regular intervals. Continue reading
THE RHYTHM & THE TIDE by Mike Badger & Tim Peacock (Liverpool University Press, 2015)
As founder member of The La’s, Mike Badger is no stranger to interview requests. However, more often than not it’s not his version of events journalists actually want to hear. All too frequently, his insights are edited out from the story of a band who could have been to Liverpool what Oasis are to Manchester but instead ended up being regarded as little more than one-hit wonders.
Subtitled ‘Liverpool, The La’s and Ever After’, The Rhythm & The Tide finally gives Badger the opportunity to explain how he overcame early disillusionment to forge a modest yet varied and fulfilled career as a musician. artist and record label founder. Above all, this is the tale of a man with no axes to grind but a compelling story to tell. Continue reading
THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers (First published, 1940)
This has to be one of the best titles of all time and is widely regarded as one the great American novels.
It is certainly a remarkable achievement especially considering it is the debut work of a writer who was just 23 years old when it was first published.
Full of worldly wisdom and compassion for life’s underdogs, it suggests that Carson McCullers was writing from her own bitter experiences. Continue reading
FRANCESCO DE GREGORI – live at Nuova Teatro Carisport, Cesena, Italy 8th April 2016
This concert is part of the ‘Amore e Furto’ (Love and Theft) tour – a reference to the subtitle of the ‘De Gregori Canta Bob Dylan’ album released in 2015.
Needless to say, a fair proportion of the show is devoted to songs from this record which does such a valuable public service to Italians, particularly those who know Dylan only on the basis of a few of his ‘greatest hits’. The translations were obviously a labour of love and do an exemplary job of conveying the quirky poetry and socio-political thrust of Dylan’s language.
The varied choice of covers are drawn from the full range of Dylan’s career, evidence of the 65-year-old Italian singer-songwriter’s long-standing adoration of ‘His Bobness’. (Evidenced by the fact that he has also shared the bill with Dylan on a number of occasions).
De Gregori wisely steers clear of the more obvious selections so, for instance, there’s no ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ or ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door’. Inspired versions of Desolation Row (Via Della Povertà) and Not Dark Yet (Non è Buoi Ancora) reflect the inspirations of beat language and the contemplations of mortality just as effectively. Continue reading