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Pig State Unplugged

17 Jan

Beneath my other life/façade, I spend a heck of a lot of time listening to both British and American FOLK MUSICS. Yes, the scrapings of strings, the wheezings of squeezeboxes, and the howling of love/death letter poems from Sussex to the Mississippi Delta, from Co. Clare to the Appalachians, and then back again. It’s both the artistic heritage of our common people and the collective musical fart of our senile forefathers, and boy it sure sounds/smells good to these ears/nostrils. Expect me to elaborate and pontificate loudly about it all on this here blog throughout 2008. But for now, I’ll direct you toward a few recent YouTube clips that sum it up better than I can right this minute. Do meet

MARTIN CARTHY. This guy is the living, breathing embodiment of the entire Brit-folk revival. The man has dedicated his life toward giving flesh and blood life to the words running up and down the Jungian backbone of so, so many archetypal folk songs. Plus: he spent some real quality time blastin’ eardrums in England’s longest-running electric folk trip of them all, STEELEYE SPAN. I was all set to see Martin play solo recently at the Cecil Sharp House in North London (what better setting?), but work called and I ended up spending the eve on an acute psychiatric ward instead. Sigh.

TONY HALL. Screw all them Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood paintings in London’s National Gallery, it’s Tony whose the real fuckin’ British national treasure. His instrument of choice is the melodeon, and his playing exemplifies the kind of beautifully rough-hewn trad style thay first drew me to this music – and the kind of playing that’s sadly overlooked by so many of today’s hipster “free folk” musicians. His classic Fieldvole Music LP was reissued on CD by the amazing Free Reed label (more on them later) last year, but as you can see Tony’s still alive and well, and still clickin’ and clackin’ with the best of em.

SPOT/ALBERT. Since there ain’t no CHARLIE PATTON on YouTube, it’s SPOT who’s stealing the mixed-race spotlight tonight. Any reader of my blog knows SPOT more for his plug-in-and-off-ya-go SST productions from the first half of the 80’s. But he’s also a real talented player of most any instrument that straps vibrating strings over a hollow body of wood. SPOT/ALBERT is his latest duo, pairing this mulatto wonder with Cuban-American bodhrán player Albert Alfonso. They usually play Celtic music but tonight they’re feeding the maniacal audience with a little taste of TX blues. Can’t wait for their latest CD to go public.