recent listening. When the haar rolls in by James Yorkston


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To complete a trio of folky delights I’d like to pick up on this stunner that I have ommitted to share with you dear reader.

I have been growing deeper in love with this record every time I hear it for over a year now and it is sublime.  The standout track is almost unclassifiable; Tortoise Regrets Hare puts the hairs on the back of my neck up every time I hear the stunning harmony that Yorkston creates with Nancy Elizabeth (or is it Elizabeth Nancy I wonder).  Its structure is bemusing and its lyrics, to say the least, are unconventional.  Basically I think it’s about jealous love.  But it is so, so beautiful.

Here it is.  Please watch.

Anyway, the rest of it is also amazingly poignant, beautiful, affecting, sad, lyrical, compelling, emotive.  I’ll stop.  I like it.  I like it very much and I think you owe it to yourself to like it too.

I would be very pleased if you did.

As would Mr Yorkston.

Oh, and by the way.  What a cover!  (Mark Bannerman)

recent Listening. The Spinning Top by Graham Coxon


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Graham Coxon has many iterations.  There’s the cheeky chappie BritPop Blur guitarist, there’s the post Blur thrasher (not appealing) then the new lighter post punk pop that frequented his latter two (brilliant) albums.  And now there is this.  Coxon does folk.

He opens as Nick Drake, closes as Robert Wyatt and picks up a bit of Bert Jansch and even Cream in between.

The list of instruments that he and his excellent loose band of musicians (including Robyn Hitchcock) get through is quite amazing;  electric guitar, soprano saxophone, drums, percussion, harmonica, retaliation guitars, bass, sompoton, barcarole concertina, farfisa compact organ, and lorenzo chord organ are Coxon’s contribution.  But you can add to that; esraj, diruba, jori, taus, double bass, glockenspiel, chromatic creeping electric guitar, congas, drums, flute, indiscriminate fire electric guitar, sonar electric guitar, buoy bell and piano.

That all makes it sound like a bit of a mess.  It isn’t.  Far from it.

Because what drives it all along is the astounding acoustic guitar which dominates the mix throughout.  In fact it’s a largely acoustic album despite that panoply of electrical gizmos.  And it’s beautiful.  Probably Coxon’s finest hour.  Of course it will barely sell enough to cover the week’s groceries.  But that’s not a problemo.  He has a reunion tour with Blur coming up to pay for everything else.

His style of fingerpicking is quite remarkeable (for a thrash guitarist) and the lightness of the record is very redolent of late 60’s and early 70’s when British folk was arguably at its height.  It’s poerhaps no surprise then that he dedicates the record to John Martyn.