Friday, October 03, 2008

June Tabor - a glimmer of hope for English folk music?

I generally don't get English folk music.

Irish folk - you can hear it in local pubs in Ireland and there are always evidently lots of people there from all castes and classes who aren't just pretending to like it. It has widely used idioms and some of the tunes are sufficiently well-known to make it truly participative. There are some recordings and some live performances - even by people who I know - that alter my metabolism (in a good way).

But the English stuff? It's always struck me as an enthusiasm for cranks. A bit like home schooling, vegetarianism or nudism.

However, this performance by June Tabor last night on BBC Four has some elements (I stress, elements - the whole package still has a few doubtful features) that offer a glimmer of hope. Not least Martin Simpson's guitar playing on the Richard Thompson cover, 'Strange Affair' (about 15 mins in).

The set list is here. Note, that 'last night' link (above) will probably disappear in the not-too-distant. can't remember the BBC's policy on this stuff.

PS: Richard Thompson often provides another exception to the rule here. There are at least half-a-dozen songs that are must-haves for anyone.

PPS: Glimmer. That's the sort of word that English folkies probably use to mean something a bit dirty, don't you think? Remember Rambling Syd Rumpo?


Crushed said...

What about the Wurzels? ;)

mikeovswinton ktf said...

God Paulie, no. Please don't classify the Folkies along with us vegetarians. In the mean time, been listening to James Hunter recently - you may remember him as Howling Wilf. He's on tour and I've got my tickets. Proper music, with real horn charts.

mikeovswinton said...

PS. More Kenny. In any guise. They've all got it in for me, you know.

Bob Piper said...

You're presumably not familiar with the work of Ewan MacColl and that whole tradition of northern working class folk music, (still thriving... just listen to the beautiful Kate Rusby). You've been a southern softie far too long Paulie, they've sucked you in like something out of the Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

Paulie said...

Hang on a minute! I quite like Kate Rusby. Ewan MacColl has at least 50% annoying though he did have his moments as well.

By the way, I didn't get the chance to ask you, how did that naturist holiday go?

KB Player said...

In Scotland folk music is popular, playing in pubs to all sorts of people. Rocked up as in the Peat Bog Fairies, it's dance along stuff and will headline at festivals where most of the music is rock.

Richard Thompson is wonderful.