Finding a community when moving to a new country is vital, and finding a community of like-minded readers and writers is just as important. I think we should offer a toast to them!! If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation and much, much more. Serial expat and soon to be repat! Joanna Masters-Maggs is back with some juicy global food gossip to share. For me, the main calls for comfort come during the entry and exit period of a new location.
I am now facing moving on from France—and frankly, even my beloved madeleine is not up to the job. I need the kind of comfort food that warms up the winter, as neither the glorious weather nor the proximity of pools and beaches here in Provence can distract me this time.
- Selected Bibliography.
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- The Philosophy of the Daodejing.
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- Forever Claimed (Mills & Boon Nocturne) (The Claiming, Book 3).
- [email protected] al campo - Experiencias y oportunidades en el medio rural (Spanish Edition);
- tulips at canaan memoir of a wannabe warrior Manual.
It is hard to imagine that repatriation can be more alarming than a move from one foreign country to another. Yet, after 18 years abroad and seven intercontinental moves, I am discovering that it is. Our house in England is our holiday home, and we have few of the friends and none of the social networks we would have built had we stayed put. All the friends we have made at various offices, playgroups, schools, dog training groups and sundry activities are scattered across several continents. We will be in the interesting position of not belonging, while giving every outward appearance of doing so and no possibility of joining a repat support group do such things even exist?
Gingerbread by roxymjones via Pixabay. The act of making gingerbread is a comfort in itself. Just watching the butter, syrup and sugar melt together and swirl in the pan, gives one time to relax and think. For anyone into comfort eating, my former home of New Orleans is a dangerous place. There are just too many temptations along the path of righteous eating, beginning with crawfish stew, jambalaya, seafood gumbo…. But comfort requirements are still there.
Coffee and beignets are a fabulous hangover buster for one thing and for another they sure beat morning sickness into retreat while providing a good dose of the additional calcium an expectant mum needs. When it came time to leave the Big Easy, the beignet soothed my sadness, and I was careful to ensure I had a good recipe see end of post should it be needed to help with my adjustment to the next location: Den Haag. The only problem, of course, with making your own beignets is the terror one feels when cooking with large quantities of hot fat—so it was with relief that I quickly discovered a more convenient way to ease my emotional entry into The Hague.
We arrived in the middle of a particularly cold Christmas season. You can only imagine my delight at catching my first whiff of oliebollen and appelflappen , which fills the air that time of year. What a happy Christmas that turned out to be. What joy to have a little bag of those to warm both your chilly fingers and the depths of your heart. And then there was Brazil.
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Now Brazil provided a different sort of comfort food to get me through the hard times. Happily unaware of this and feeling as though I was channeling mid s Meg Ryan, I returned home from the hairdresser. My housekeeper took one look of me and clapped her hands loudly to her cheeks with a look of pure horror. The next few days were a bit unsettling as Maria avoided eye contact.
How many other things was I getting wrong? As insecure as it makes me sound, I decided not to compound one aesthetic error with that of gaining weight, too. I avoided thoughts of my beignet recipe and my go-to home remedy of buttered toast. I also steered clear of the local padarias bakeries. Instead I filled up on fruit.
You just need to be open to it: it being a well-rounded flavor that puts your taste buds at ease. The comfort food of Brazil found me rather quickly. Disc Cook is a service which will collect food from a huge list of restaurants and deliver to your house. A new restaurant opened in our area and we decided to try it out. Imagine my surprise when the healthy sounding chicken liver and spinach dish turned out to be my next comfort food.
Disk Cook screenshot , taken 24 June No , hear me out. Full-flavoured meat that melted in the mouth, cooked with balsamic vinegar and pine nuts. I even took comfort in the cold leftovers of that dish, straight from the fridge. In honesty, however, comforting as it was, it can never qualify as true comfort food. Firstly, it comes from a good restaurant and true comfort food should not be exclusive. Secondly, I was never able to find or make up that recipe for myself. Comfort food cannot be a cause of any stress—other than the weekly weigh-in, of course. As I write, I am beginning to feel a little nostalgic and rather sad again.
The problem with being in a constant state of serial expatness is that each time you leave one place, you remember the pain of leaving the last. Sometimes I have to walk away from it. That is true now. Perhaps next time I can tell you how I found solace from homesickness and last-location-sickness in the foods of Malaysia, Venezuela and Saudi. For that we must be grateful. Metric rocks! Ingredients: 1 package dried yeast 3 tablespoons warm water hand hot ml milk g sugar 28g shortening or lard—which I prefer 1 tsp salt g all-purpose flour 1 large egg Vegetable oil Powdered sugar.
Combine the milk with the sugar, shortening and salt in a saucepan over a low heat until the fat melts. Remove from the heat and leave to cool until again hand hot. Very hot liquid will kill the yeast and so it will not rise. If your hand can tolerate the heat, so too can the yeast. Combine yeast mixture, liquid mixture, two cups of the flour and the egg in a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for two minutes. Gradually stir in as much of the remaining flour as you need to make a soft dough. Put dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic about 10 minutes.
Place in a buttered bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour until doubled in size. Punch dough back, turn onto a floured surface and roll out into a 30 x 25cms rectangle. Cut into two-inch squares and place them onto a lightly floured surface where they can be covered and left to rise until double in size about 45 minutes. Fry the beignets four at a time until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm. Readers, we invite you to continue the food gossip!
What new comfort foods have you added to your list on your moves around the globe? And do you have any words of comfort for Joanna on her imminent repatriation? Be sure to let us know in the comments! Overseas, I am curious as to what people buy and from where. What is in the baskets of my fellow shoppers? What do they eat when they go home at night?
Once again, I am the feeble stand-in for James King, who will be back in August. That said, I am happy to be the vehicle for bringing to you such an exciting interview subject: Steve Davey , a professional photographer who is also an intrepid wanderer around Planet Earth, with the creds to prove it. He has also written a photography book about festivals around the world as well as a guide to location photography. And he has started up his own business leading travel-photography tours , about which a participant has written:.
Hi, Steve, and welcome to the Displaced Nation. I was born in a small village near Bristol. I longed to head out and explore the world, and as soon as I was old enough I headed off around Europe on an Inter-rail pass. That year I got as far as Hungary. The following year I got even further—to Romania in the days of Ceausescu. Which countries have you visited thus far, and have you lived in any of them? I have been to almost ninety countries in the course of my work. Some of these, I have been to dozens of times. I am a compulsive traveler but have always been based in London, travelling where the work takes me.
Each of these required taking all the photos for about twenty-five chapters in a single year. For the Unforgettable Islands book, I did the equivalent of 6. Which part of the city do you live in? South London. About the closest you can come to living in a foreign land but without leaving the UK.
It is an eclectic area with a multicultural flavour. My local breakfast cafe is Eritrean. There is a large Caribbean market nearby and people of every culture. I lived in South London myself at one stage: Kennington. I remember Brixton well and can picture exactly what you are talking about. And for each photo, can you briefly tell us the memory that the photo captures, and why it remains special to you?
Before starting, I should tell you that I love to photograph festivals. I love the chaos and the sheer exuberance of these events. They are when a destination comes alive and when a place is at its most characteristic for the people who live there festivals are not put on for tourists. I have attended a number of festivals in India, from the largest gathering of humans on the planet to remote gatherings in the Himalayas and elephant temple festivals in Kerala in the South, but the Sonepur Mela is one of my favourites.
The Sonepur Mela attracts few tourists and I consider it one of the hidden cultural gems of India. Elephants for sale at Sonepur Mela in India. Photo credit: Steve Davey. The Kalash people have a handle on what it means to be festive. Steve, you are opening new windows for me on the world. I never knew about this unique tribe of people in that part of the world.
Last but not least is this incredible festival that takes place on Pentecost Island, one of the islands within the remote archipelago of Vanuatu , in Oceania. It involves the village menfolk hurling themselves from high towers, with their fall only broken by vines fixed to their ankles. It was a humbling rite to witness, and I managed to shoot some stunning pictures, too!
This photo represents for me the kind of doors that have been opened in my life due to being a photographer who specializes in travel. I have managed to witness, and take part in, so much more of the world than I ever would have done without a camera. The precursor to bungee jumping, but a lot more risky. I love India. I love the utterly bewildering variety it offers. I have been all over the country and attended a number of religious festivals, including the Kumbh Mela —officially the largest gathering of humans on the planet.
I first travelled to Laos years ago, soon after it opened up to foreign visitors. There were few roads up in the north, and the only way to get around was by boat. I still love Morocco. It is the most crazy place that you can visit from London on a low-cost airline. Home to snake charmers, acrobats, fake dentists, herbalists, drummers and some of the best street food this side of Delhi.
Polar bear viewing in the crown of Arctic Norway. I notice that you often photograph people, whereas quite a few of the interviewees for this column stick to scenery. Do you ever feel reserved taking photos of people, particularly when they are conscious of your doing so? How do you handle it? I seldom photograph people without approaching them and interacting with them in some way. Spend even a small amount of time with someone and you can come up with an engaged and atmospheric portrait. And now switching over to the technical side of things: what kind of camera, lenses, and post-processing software do you use?
I shoot exclusively on Nikon pro camera and lenses. I have a cupboard of pensioned off cameras, including a brace of F4s and a brace of F5s. I am a believer in going for the utmost quality in work. To me this is the mark of a professional photographer, shooting with the best lenses and filters. I suspect I need to read your photography guide or take one of your tours to fully appreciate the wisdom of what you just said.
But I trust you! Finally, can you offer a few words of advice for wannabe photographers who are traveling the world or living abroad? Working as a professional travel photographer is bloody tough. There are a lot of talented amateurs who shoot a few good shots and virtually give them away; and a bunch of fauxtographers who have the website and the business card but the only way that they can get work is to work for free in the hope that they can break into the industry. Best to work at something that makes you money and take photographs for pleasure.
Taking pictures for love and not money is a dream for most of us professional photographers! Thank you, Steve! Readers, that was something else! What do you make of his vast range of travel experiences and photography advice? Any questions for him on on his photos or extensive travels? Please leave them in the comments! If you want to get to know Steve and his photography better, I suggest you visit his photography site. You can also follow him on Facebook. You may also be interested in checking out his travel-photography books:. Or why not consider joining one of his tours and getting some hands-on photography instruction?
It would be an experience to go down in the annals! NOTE: If you are a travel-photographer and would like to be interviewed for this series, please send your information to ml thedisplacednation. If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation and much, much more! We would be able to attend two international conferences on two continents in two months—hooray! Dan and I had a couple of days of sightseeing before the three-day conference took place at the Universitat de Valencia. We even took the long bus route back to our hotel, which gave us a chance to see a lot of the Turia Gardens , a park built on a riverbed.
Dan got to carry on sightseeing while I attended sessions workshops, panels, and lectures during the first two days in order to meet people, learn more about the interculturalist professional world, and get the word out on Alien Citizen. In general the other conference participants seemed very nice but a tad noncommittal when I told them about my one-woman show. I think it was rather unusual to have a theatrical piece at the congress, though I noticed there were several sessions on storytelling as an important means of generating intercultural understanding. Most of the attendees were what I would describe as interculturalist entrepreneurs—perhaps not your usual fringe theatre-goers?
Still, I appreciated learning what sort of cross-cultural issues Europeans have been facing, and there was the bonus of generous lunches and yummy pastries along with coffee, tea, and zumo during the breaks. I may have gained a pound or two. At the end of the second day, I was beat—but still had to do a run-through of my show in our hotel room that evening.
Theatre takes stamina, so perhaps my two full days of attending conference events had done me a favor. First she observes; then she performs. Lisa Liang at Congress Valencia The third day of the congress: show day! I feared I might only have five or so attendees, which would be enormously disappointing after making the long journey from California not to mention the fundraising! And for another, I was performing in a classroom like all the other session presenters, which meant we had just 10 minutes to set up.
Ten minutes may be fine for a PowerPoint presentation but, especially as the session before us ran a little late, Dan and I really had to hustle to set up all the props, as well as the laptop, old-fashioned slide projector with voltage converter, my tape marks so I would know where to stand when projecting words onto my torso, and chair. Sign in to check out Check out as guest. The item you've selected was not added to your cart. Add to watch list Unwatch. Watch list is full. May not ship to Germany - Read item description or contact seller for shipping options. See details.
A Maine Writer: Maine State Library
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See all condition definitions - opens in a new window or tab Read more about the condition. About this product. Shipping and handling. These are affectionate, genial, commendably polished and admirably conservative though not especially sedate renditions which make a virtue out of their intrinsic Irish character and its lovable honesty. Hereby refreshingly stripped of the customary layers of ages of grimy pub, club and showband sentimentality, these renditions of the songs that represent the Irish psyche together form a classy, and in the end likeable enough, tourist's-ear-view of popular Irish song, I'd say.
Some of us have been waiting eagerly for this landmark documentary film to be made available for home consumption! This film was a natural follow-on from the Channel 4 series Down Home, and later paved the way for key collaborations in the Transatlantic Sessions series. This celebration of cajun music and culture includes plenty of footage of musicians in their home environment, often in the same room as groups of dancers, and a tremendous feel of intense enjoyment permeates every second.
Other, arguably lesser-known artists appearing include charismatic fiddler Harry LaFleur, vibrant singer D. Menard with his Louisiana Aces and champion of progressive cajun, Wayne Toups; and Aly can be seen adding his trois sous to the musical gumbo by joining in enthusiastically at every session opportunity! This minute film is over way too soon, and fair exudes joie de vivre par excellence!
As does the accompanying CD, which contains 16 full-length music tracks from the film's featured artists 9 of the cuts also involve Bain himself. These are presented in the same order as they occur on the documentary, although the audio CD omits two additional song performances the rockin' Zydecajun Train by Wayne Toups and Raywood by Queen Ida respectively which are exclusive to the DVD and otherwise would've conveniently slotted in after track 11 and before track 15 total playing-time of the CD would easily have permitted their inclusion.
A natural title for these master musicians' sixth joint album for the label, the release celebrates 25 years of touring together. Inevitably it's a further sparkling illustration of everything they do best, and as such not an easy album to review without indulging in the well-worn superlatives. Equally inevitably though, any fan of these guys' fabulous musicianship will need a copy of this self-recommending record.
It's probably invidious to single out individual tracks for special praise, since the duo are proven masters of so many different forms and styles of traditional music, and it's probably fair to say that I enjoyed specific tracks in specific moods. But, if pushed, I'd recommend first the stirring opening set of Irish slides that lights my candle every time, not least due to the extra buzz generated by McGoldrick's uilleann pipes. The fiddle-led set of wedding reels track 8 packs a hefty drive yet with a lightness of touch, while there's an irresistible authentic ceilidh-band feel to the bouncy pipe-marches of the final track that won't fail to get your feet tapping.
Of the slower-paced tracks that are sensibly interspersed amongst the uptempo selections, the Rev. William Macleod's fine air Sitting In The Stern Of A Boat is the highlight for me, although the sequence also includes three gorgeous waltzes that prove perfect showcases for the musicians' inborn expressive elan. Two abundantly fine musicians still at the top of their game after a quarter of a century - and showing no signs of decline whatsoever.
Now in his 40th year as a professional musician, Aly's one of those folks who's always been right there in the forefront of Scottish traditional music: both as an active front-line participant one of the country's finest fiddle players, period , and as a significant contributor to or at the very least beavering away in the background on other artists' projects.
So in many respects, the time is now ripe for a suitably comprehensive overview of Aly's career to date. And barring a Free Reed box-set, a goodly series of "best-of" discs should be the next best thing. So here's volume 1 the title I hope being a genuine indicator of Whirlie's future plans , with 16 tracks carefully chosen by Aly himself.
Although it's not sequenced strictly chronologically, the disc does begin sensibly with a typical set of reels from Aly's very first solo CD, recorded in Lerwick back in , with Aly's dashing bow-strokes equally dashingly accompanied by the wonderfully sympathetic piano of Violet Tulloch and the guitar of Willie Johnson. And from even earlier, there's a track from The Silver Bow, the mid-seventies Topic disc with Tom Anderson which did so much to bring Shetland music into public consciousness after years of commercial obscurity.
Elsewhere, the disc travels around much like the itinerant Aly himself! As an instance of this, we need look no further than the legendary Transatlantic Sessions projects, of course, and a sparkling Waiting For The Federals from Series 2 is included here; but then not everyone knows that the even more legendary Channel 4 series Down Home was TS's precursor, and this disc includes no fewer than four brilliant tracks from the recording sessions for the series hopefully as a taster for the release of the whole shebang on disc soon, please!
Hearing Aly firing away in the company of illustrious fiddlers from anywhere on the planet is always one of the deepest joys that can be experienced, and for me the "session" could go on all night and into the next week and I'd still want more! Then, to balance these euphoric moments, the disc presents several of the thoughtfully considered slower compositions and arrangements in which Aly has also always excelled.
Finally, no Aly Bain collection would be complete without one of his many recordings of the traditional Shetland air Da Day Dawn, and he's chosen one of the very finest, the one with the BT Scottish Ensemble. This is a cannily sequenced minute collection that's pretty comprehensive in its own right and works well as an independent listening programme, but on the other hand it can't help but leave me with that niggling feeling of incompleteness. Because I just know there's so much more out there in Aly's impressively exhaustive discography, and many of the original albums aren't all that readily or any longer available.
I suppose it's rather like the tip of an enormous iceberg floating in the ocean between Orkney and mainland Scotland, the catch being that the majority of the rest of that ice-floe may well be destined to remain beneath the surface. OK maybe I'm being needlessly pessimistic here - let's hope I'm proved wrong, and there now ensues a veritable flood of Aly Bain reissues! Baird quit to go solo in but after the first two albums, Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired and Buffalo Nickel, his career's been somewhat patchy. Hodges now onboard, this marks something of a return to form.
There's no envelope pushing going on, but what you do get is solid, beer-swilling, swaggering Southern country rock n roll with cranked up ringing guitars, rolling riff-packed melodies, throaty twang vocals and air punching choruses. It won't change your life, but pour a cold one and crank the likes of Lazy Monday and Runnin' Outta Time up loud, and it could well make your evening.
List of All Anime
This is an unusual record by any standards. It can be considered doubly unusual, in fact, since Eddie's normally been responsible for the more spaciously arranged Blondel pieces - although it's not widely known that Eddie's been pursuing a parallel solo recording career for the past ten years he's released four solo CDs including a compilation, but none have been nationally distributed. The first four songs on this disc are simply-conceived outings, initially displaying a quite jazzy demeanour, recorded close-up and live in front of an appreciative small club crowd by the sound of it.
Best of this quartet are the gently reflective Memory Lane and the distinctly Tilstonesque Tramp. Listeners coming new to Eddie's work will wonder, on the strength of these songs, why wider commercial success continues to elude Eddie. Songs like Compromised and Funny Old Life carry a laconic laid-back feel comparable to classic John Martyn, and Almost Gone has a canny grasp of delicate melody-line that recalls Clive Gregson. Eddie's individual voice is exposed well on this brief set, ditto his deft guitar work, a talent which should be more widely appreciated too.
Dear Companion is a lovely, intimate album sung and arranged by nu-folk outfit Espers' vocalist and songwriter Meg Baird: a collection of songs that are very close to Meg's heart, it mixes original material from the early 70s with two of Meg's own compositions and a significant handful of traditional songs, though the overall mood of the set is very probably determined more by the latter than the former, at least in its early and late stages.
The genesis of the actual project came in an invitation to create a solo release for Philadelphia's Tequila Sunrise label, out of which nothing but a 7" single appeared and the entire LP - recorded in spare moments during the sessions for Espers II - was never made available at the time It's typically minimalist in terms of backing just Meg's own guitar or Appalachian dulcimer in the main , and Meg's clear-toned singing has never sounded more truthful and beautiful - of that I'm convinced - for she gives her all in terms of passion and conviction in "doing a really good job" of communicating these songs which evidently mean so much to her personally.
Forced to pick some highlights: well, Meg's own Riverhouse In Tinicum is outstanding, as is her folk-inspired Maiden In The Moor Lay and her appealingly fresh take on the traditional ballad Barbry Ellen. Add to that an enchanting version of Sweet William And Fair Ellen, an attractive, rippling waltz-time rendition of Willie O' Winsbury and yes, it works! The final track is a gorgeous acappella rendition of the text of the opening title song as learnt from the singing of Sheila Kay Adams , bringing the experience deliciously full-circle.
This record is seriously sublime, and should if there were any justice be embraced wholeheartedly by the folk community as well as by Meg's Espers fanbase. It may be Meg's debut solo album, but I do so hope it's not her last. Baka Beyond is the seminal world-music fusion outfit founded by Martin Cradick and Su Hart, which started out on its global music exchange some 10 years ago; Rhythm Tree can be seen as the culmination of their work to date, even though after all this time we're in danger of losing the power to surprise from the juxtaposition of seemingly unlikely musico-cultural bedfellows.
The recurring constant context in which the various musics are brought together is the music of the Baka Pygmies of south-east Cameroon - hence the group name. The Baka tribe, who are masters of dance, bring an amazingly energetic spectacle to the BB live act, yet much of the uplifting quality and sheer exuberance of that collaboration also comes through on a purely audio level through the performances of the core eight-piece band you hear on this CD, notwithstanding its inevitable lack of visual distraction which as a bonus allows for greater concentration on the subtleties of the musical mix.
Here, the heady brew of Celtic, Gaelic and West African musics is so persuasive that you often have to listen really carefully to separate the strands, and in this respect I'm convinced this is the Baka's most successful marriage to date.
“Curiouser and curiouser…”
Musically, Rhythm Tree is a landmark in cohesive exploration of different musical cultures. I love the way in which the musical framework shifts continually withjn individual tracks, while at the same time I can appreciate the impact of specific textural or thematic elements which inform and characterise these tracks eg Su Hart's rendition of the Gaelic waulking song which forms the basis for Sad Among Strangers, the and Paddy Le Mercier's weaving violin arabesques on several of the tracks.
The Baka tribe's contributions to the album were recorded "in-house" either "in the field" or at the Music House, the purpose-built recording studio in the tribe's village funds for which were raised by the band. One minor point, though, is that I'm not altogether convinced of the need to constantly reinforce the listener's sense of place quite so many times by interpolating natural sounds from the Baka rainforest, supremely evocative though the ululating quasi-yodel of the singer's Call Of The Forest which frames the rest of the album undeniably is.
Richard "Duck" Baker is on the face of it a musician of contradictions: he's one of the most highly-regarded fingerstyle guitarists of his generation, yet he considers his main influence ragtime piano stylings, is especially drawn to jazz yet unlike most jazz guitarists doesn't use a pick, and he prefers nylon to steel strings he plays swing on a flamenco guitar.
His expertise extends right across the fretboard of musical genres, and over the course of his year recording career so far he's made a frightening number of solo albums, encompassing not only jazz and swing, but old-time and free improv, Irish and Scottish folk tunes, and O'Carolan to Christmas carols. Not to mention guitar instruction videos, and heaps of music criticism, and duo albums with all manner of respected musos from experimentalists John Zorn and Henry Kaiser through to fiddler Kieran Fahy and traditional singer Molly Andrews.
So you'll gather that Duck's latest recording is eagerly welcomed in this house. It's a project which has "been in the works for years", sort of evolving from a response to something people have been demanding for a while: a collection of early jazz and swing tunes. And that's just the impeccably played, yet far from soulless, solo items on the disc, the remaining half of which is given over to some sparkling duet performances.
It's probably a very old joke by now, but if you don't respond to Duck's brilliant playing then hey, you must be "quackers"! Its title is a clever wordplay on the well-known Dominic Behan song The Patriot Game suggested principally by the equally well-known tendency of musicians to carry their tunes to foreign shores.
Its equally underselling subtitle T raditional Irish And American Music simultaneously reflects the performers and the repertoire. Should you need a quick pen-picture: American-born, London-based Duck is nothing less than a definitive premier-league fingerstyle guitarist, whereas both Ben and Maggie were born to families who emigrated to England Ben's father's that celebrated old-timer Tom Paley, and Maggie was reared in the musically vibrant London-Irish community of the 60s and 70s.
Ben's a fabulous young fiddle player who readily immerses himself in activities as diverse as Scandinavian music, revivalist oldtime with his father in the New Deal String Band and the vibrant acoustic thrash of McDermotts 2 Hours and the Levellers. And last but definitely not least, Maggie's a damnably fine flute player as well as quite simply one of the loveliest singers in the entire world. Further connectivity is assured when you realise that Duck, shortly after moving to London in the late 70s, had been responsible for introducing Maggie to Steve Tilston, sparking off one of the most wonderful collaborative partnerships of the British folk scene from the late 80s through to the mids.
So trust me, the aforementioned three musicians working together give us something truly special on this CD. Their empathy is remarkable; rarely do you hear such miraculous attunement between performers of ostensibly disparate musical disciplines or experience though anyone with a deeper knowledge of the musics concerned would argue that qualification in any case. It's a heavenly partnership, which first trod the boards of a select few local West Yorkshire venues a mere 15 months or so back if my memory serves me rightly , and just had to spawn a studio recording!
They clearly have a real good time making their music too, as you'll see from the joyously nonchalant cover photo, and in their music-making much play is made with the tension between the Irish and American senses of rhythm. A specially noteworthy feature of the performances, though, is the way in which the extraordinary talents of each of the three musicians as individuals, normally utilised in a solo situation, are adapted so very naturally to the group situation.
Duck's essentially soloistic approach, his tremendous facility for playing both melody and either countermelody or bass line, is given full rein in this unusual context of his arrangements of the tunes on this CD. And Maggie's use of the Irish flute on indigenous American old-time tunes is somewhat of a? Ben's Swedish-style harmony playing on the well-travelled The Blackbird is an unusual but effective touch, while his intense accompaniment of Maggie's excellent rendition of A Youth Inclined To Ramble is a CD highlight. This is one of just five vocal items on this CD happily, no fewer than four of these are Maggie's, yet the fifth, Rye Whisky , brings Duck out front on an all-too-rare excursion to the vocal mike.
The faster tunes trip by abnormally lightly and fleet-footed - pieces like Poll Ha'penny which many of us first encountered as the final leg-slapping tune of the original Fairport Dirty Linen set and the closing banjo tune Robinson County are both vital and sprightly - while on the other hand the slower well, more measured!
Finally a word of praise for the booklet, which manages to convey a lot of information on the tunes and songs and the performers' sources in a succinct and readable manner together with supplying the full song texts used. The recording, a homespun production by Mike Hockenhull, faithfully reflects both a deep feel for the music and a deep knowledge of, and trust in, the musicians and their capabilities.
An exemplary release this, everywhere exuding a loving attention to detail alongside the equally exemplary musicianship. Do track it down, you'll not regret it. This is a long-overdue reissue of an important Tradition LP which presented field recordings, made in , of the playing of Etta Baker and other talented musicians of the Southern Appalachians who had never previously been recorded. Obscure they may have seemed, but uncommonly fiery is the playing, with a raw edge and unbridled vitality for whom the word "enthusiasm" might have been coined.
Since those heady days, when even specialist folkies hadn't heard anything like these musicians, other recordings have surfaced featuring fiddler Hobart Smith notably those made for the Library Of Congress where he backed his sister, singer Texas Gladden , but the rest of the musicians on this collection have remained little more than names on a discography, although the influence of their playing has pervaded that of countless aspiring traditional-style guitarists, banjo players and Appalachian dulcimer exponents ever since.
Even at a temporal remove of over 50 years, you can't fail to be moved by the tremendous power of many of the performances collected here, especially the fiddle tracks. And as well as fiddling vigorously, Hobart Smith also contributed one track on which he removed all the frets from a borrowed banjo before playing! The rest of the musicians were all recorded in their native North Carolina, and are drawn from the family and friends of guitarist Etta Baker; they play timeless popular tunes from the tradition such as Cripple Creek, Soldier's Joy and Shady Grove as well as a few less well-known pieces.
Etta's rendition of John Henry played with a jackknife blade! I also enjoyed Richard Chase's harmonica tunes for their cheery quality and his insistence on carrying the melody along rather than forcing you to listen instead to his technique. The sound quality of the disc is raw and forward, primitive by today's standards naturally, and some of the guitar pieces are rather clangy, but it's all still perfectly listenable. In fact, a very enjoyable disc that's also of considerable historical and heritage interest.
Full liner notes are reproduced, as always with the Tradition reissues. Pretty much essential I'd say. Etta Baker is the grand old lady of the blues and I'm sure she won't mind me saying that she is 91 years of age. She has influenced many a guitarist and Taj Mahal has said that she is the greatest single influence on his guitar style. This album of songs recorded between and shows that she is a force to be reckoned with. There are two parts to the recording, the 'now' section which covers the first 11 songs and the 'then' section covering the final 7.
Opening with 5 songs accompanied by Taj Mahal, Etta introduces us to her gentle style on the oft covered John Henry, the beautifully played Crow Jane, the wonder that is Going Down The Road Feeling Bad, the first self-penned track Madison Street Blues on which she airs her electric guitar and outshines guitarists half her age and the country blues of Railroad Bill.
She picks up the banjo for Cripple Creek, and this is a foot-tapper, and then continues the country theme on Johnson Boys. Going To The Race Track, a gentle acoustic blues, starts off a run of three songs and a poem featuring Etta on her own. Her dexterity is so astounding on Lost John that you will swear that you are listening to the playing of someone far younger.
Dew Drop is slower than most of the others but you can just imagine the drops of water falling from the spring flowers. Poem is exactly what the title says. It is a four line poem that perfectly sums up growing old. The final track of the 'now' category is Comb Blues and features the comb and paper as an instrument. Taj Mahal is back for this and is joined by Algia Mae Hinton.
This is a slow blues that harks back to the very beginning of the genre. In the 'then' category we are treated to seven songs that were recorded in July One Dime Blues, one of the three songs on the album written by Baker, sounds so contemporary that it is hard to believe that it was recorded nearly 50 years ago and it shows that she was an extremely good guitarist in her time.
Etta's father Boone Reid plays the banjo for Sourwood Mountain and there is just something about banjo music when it is well played. This is a wonderful example of finger picking and, although age may have slowed her down a tad, there's not too much difference in the two versions. There's a second offering from her father, a different version of Johnson Boys. The banjo playing is excellent again but having heard the later version with added fiddle I have to say that I preferred that one.
To finish off, Etta comes in with a strong version of the classic John Henry with excellent slide guitar and Bully Of The Town which is played in a gentle, acoustic Piedmont blues style. Etta Baker is a remarkable woman and Music Maker deserves our thanks for allowing her to record again. Music Maker page for Etta Baker.
The first album, Mercy, sought to address the blast and the random manner in which some died and others lived. In , Pretty World offered meditations on gratitude, obligation and beauty. Now comes the final part, an exploration of the price of forgiveness and the cost of clinging to anger, told through songs that pivot around the homeless and helpless, and of love found, lost and held together with tape.
On the bluesy title track we meet a field hand hoeing cotton "for the rest of my life" like the father that walked out on his family in despair, Mennonite tells of a religious kid from Mexico who, wearing his new 'pearl snap shirt', found love dressed in a "short short skirt' in a bar room and left the Lord behind, while, Palestine II and its prequel Palestine I unfolds the tale of a marriage that began with teenage passion in a travelling preacher's tent and has had to hold together through a tragic accident, hard times and history repeating itself with their daughter running away "with the boy selling bibles.
Speaking more than singing his narratives, Baker's dust and gravel voice variously recalls John Prine, Dylan, Steve Earle, Tom Waits and John Trudell, his sparsely arranged American songbook music hewing to southern backwoods folk disarmingly beautiful on the two step fiddle call and response swayer Who's Gonna Be Your Man and Texan country in the vein of Van Zandt and Kristofferson.
Opening with a brief snatch of Dixie, sung in the round by a female voice its 'look away' refrain returning to bring bitter resonance to the dark night guilty secrets of Moon and closing on the poignant Snow with its metaphor about being lost and emotionally frozen in a drift of your own making, it is both melancholic and life-affirming. It's hard not to be touched by the snapshots of the disenfranchised and losers who populate Signs, by the Waits-like Angel Hair where, on Christmas Eve, the singer recalls a fatal traffic accident on black ice a decade earlier, or by the unwanted pregnancy of Not Another Mary and the girl who "could not say I love you too.
But, at the end of the day, between the tears, Baker reminds you that, even if you're only getting by, life is worth persevering with and far better than the alternative. When musicians appear at one of our Mr Kite Benefits, I often ask about what they are listening to and who they would recommend. So, you might imagine that his ears are well tuned to fine music. So, it was that I was recommended to Sam Baker.
I believe Bob Harris also had his ear bent about Sam too. Indeed, if your ears don't get wrapped around his music soon, I'll be mightily surprised. Guests like Kevin Welch and Joy Lynn White lend their support on this first record suggesting that he's already attracting the attention of the great and good.
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
But, it's the music that is the star attraction. From the opening track, 'Waves', with its vivid imagery of walking down to the sea and writing a loved one's name in the sand just to see it washed away, I'm hooked.
Sam's lyrics are painting pictures like this all the way. From 'another bunch of boys, another blue sky' as he contrasts a baseball game and a war zone to the car 'full of baby junk' that sit on the backseat of a homeless mum's car. There are 'barbers with no nose', 'drunk cops', men 'in their underwear drinking beer', 'skinny boys with their rifles fighting door to door' and characters galore in his stories In fact, there is so much colour in his lyrics that the one word song titles are enough.
Hear one song and you'll be drawn in to hear the rest. Sam's voice adds to that colour with its gravely lived-in drawl reminding you of John Prine or Todd Snider. As my wife says, you'll be immediately won over if you're a sucker for the gravely voice. Put that next to those lyrics that present social commentary whilst painting all sorts of pictures in your mind and I'll be very surprised if a major label doesn't pick up this record. Steve Henderson, March www.
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Long John Baldry - Remembering Leadbelly Stony Plain Records "Most of the songs in this collection have been part of my life since I first started singing in the mid's. Because they are so familiar to me I was able to record my vocals and guitar work in one 'take' for most of the tracks. K - something he tends to be very self-effacing about, as those who have seen him live at any point will recognise. I know of no other headliner who gives his sidesmen such accolades whilst backing off from centre stage himself.
This character trait is reflected in the bonus interview track on the very end of this CD, and the liner notes acknowledge Chris Barber and Lonnie Donegan and a host of other influences As to the content of the CD itself, well, I was amazed at the number of the tracks I knew so well whilst not having any Leadbelly in my record collection, nor, indeed, in compilation blues CDs - something I need to rectify but meanwhile LJB manages to cover this void magnificently.
This album is worthy of repeated playing, which may well have something to do with the sparseness rather than the 'over production' tendency found on so many of today's CDs. This is a tribute CD, acknowledging the input of Leadbelly, but with the unique Baldry interpretation. His vocals going from the deep huskiness, for which he is so well known, to the lighter, smoother shades of his marvellously rich voice.
There were, for me, moments of goose bumps when he sounded like Alexis Korner - but then they both inspired each other way back when. LJB's voice is a musical instrument in it's own right. His guitar playing needs no accolades. What amazes me is how perilously close he came to the possibility of not being able to perform anymore.
That was back in October Having not seen him for about 20 years I was taken to a gig by a friend on a whim to The Mill at Banbury. John was not well. He managed the first half without anyone realising the levels of pain he was experiencing. He then nearly collapsed during the second part. We took him to the hospital where they had great difficulty believing that he had played a concert that night.
His finger joints were severely swollen despite being soaked in a bowl of water with all the ice from the bar during the interval. The promoter at the venue was prepared to pay back any punters the cost of their tickets. Not a single one did. A case of 'actions being stronger than words'. John has every intention of returning to UK and Europe again next year. At the moment he is about to go on the road in Australia and New Zealand.
Catch him if you can. This CD has been played with great frequency since I got it when LJB toured the UK with the Manfreds back in June, , but I still find it virtually impossible to point the listener to any particular track. The only solution is to just play the whole CD again and again.
Just go order the CD for yourself and you can decide! Deep Purple, Fairport Convention, you get the idea - that's where my allegiances lie. So, let's improve my position a little. I'd been privileged to meet John twice, on the occasion of his sadly aborted UK Tour. A close friend of mine knew John during the sixties, hadn't seen him since he'd moved to Canada, persuaded me to take her to the opening night in Banbury and I ended up putting this particular blues legend in hospital.