I haven't done one of these on here before, so I thought I'd write a list of some of the tracks I'm enjoying in this merry month of January. Enjoy!
1. Clare and The Reasons - Cook For You
I've long been an admirer of Clare and the Reasons ever since hearing a version of 'Pluto' on an Uncut Magazine sampler years ago. I love Clare Muldaur's unique, silky vocals and rich orchestral arrangements. This is a song about about loss and it's delivered in a beautiful style.
I was lucky enough to catch Peter Gabriel's concert (actually guestlist, big cheers to Reg my manager) in Graz recently and wow, what a night that was. There is something of the shaman, the druid, the omnipotent about Peter Gabriel when he steps on a stage. I particularly love this version of "San Jacinto" with orchestra.
I've long been a fan of Sandy Denny. Sometimes as a teenager I'd stay up all night ensconced and listening to Sandy's voice in my bedroom in Sheffield. For me, this song epitomises everything about English folk and our long tradition of melody, meaning and delivery. What makes this song extra special is the careful build up, with the drums coming increasingly more prominent. A folk masterpiece.
I love this tune. I love this performance. What's great about this performance by Caitlin is that she is obviously seething with anger at the very rude, boisterous table behind her, yet despite all this she manages to deliver her performance with beauty, gusto and professionalism. Must see her live this year!
I've got several Ry Cooder records and I never cease to be impressed by his collaborations with musicians around the globe. I particularly like this song from "Mambo Sinuendo" with Cuban musician Manuel Galban. It sounds like a song you might hear on entering the bar on the very best night of your life...you know, that beach with the sea glimmering away, the stoned moon up above, the palms swinging softly in the Caribbean night air, your girl in a stunning LBD and the bartender crushing limes, rum and sugar...oh yes.
From the "Another Self Portrait" box set. This song is Bob Dylan at his most soulful. His melancholic version of this 18th century English folk tune is spellbinding, convincing and truly beautiful.
Released in 2013 as a charity download for End Violence Against Women coalition. I really love their work and being also a Kate Bush fan, I find their cover of "This Woman's Work" a tremendous piece of music. The youtube clip below is just a snippet, but if you want to hear more do buy the song on iTunes etc.
The mesmeric, swirling folk-jazz-rock song from 1969 by folk supergroup Pentangle leaves me with images of the whirling dervishes of Cappodacia. Jansch on Renbourn on guitar...what is not to love. This is a song I could gladly listen to on repeat. Pas de problème!
I only really got into Peter, Paul & Mary's music in the last year. This is my favourite song of theirs. I remember singing this in the beauty of the Catalonian countryside last summer in the olive groves of the Ebro River, walking the dirt track from Riba Rocks festival to Riba Roja d'Ebre thinking of all the comrades worldwide who fought against oppression, injustice and for a better future.
This is 1 minute and 29 seconds of pure genius. I've long been a fan of John Martyn and I'm sorry to have never had the chance to see him live in concert before he sadly passed away in 2009. Martyn had what all singer-songwriter's desire - brilliant vocals & brilliant guitar skills. This version of the famous song has it all: soul, cheek, cheer and groove. If you ever need cheering up, put this song on and...voilà - instant smiles.