Archive | Music blogs

RSS feed for this section

My Cd collection pt. 1

I’ve finally moved to a permanent address, which means that I’ve finally unpacked my CD collection which has been in storage for about 7 years.  Having set them up on shelves in the studio I’ve started playing through them in alphebetic order.  So far I’ve got through:

The Adventure Babies: Laugh

The last album released on Factory Records and recorded at Mad Hat Studios in Wolverhampton.  I was going out with an engineer from Mad Hat while it was being made and knew some members of the band and the engineer Mark Stuart.  I met Steve Lilywhite, who produced the album (with Mark) at the Newhampton Pub one evening.  I always liked TAB’s catchy tunes and clever, unorthodox lyrics, and it’s a good quirky, feelgood album

Aerosmith: Big Ones

I never consider myself a fan, but listening to this, it’s astounding how many great songs they crammed onto this.  And you really can’t question the musicianship.  Brilliant stuff and full of deserved hits.

AfroCelt Soundsystem: Vol 1 Sound Magic

The first Afro Celts album is still the best I think and it’s great to hear it again.  Whirl-y-reel was briefly included in Rumpus and The Rhythm Maniacs set when we had Matt playing Bass, whistle and Sax.  Still as good as ever, and – having recently seen the new Emerson fronted line up – it’s got the visual element of a record by a band I’ve seen live (although most of this line up wasn’t there).  Great and ground breaking record.

All About Eve: best of

I’m not a big fan of “best of” albums, but this has nearly the whole first album on it – which is what I really wanted, but this was on offer for a fiver!  Martha’s Harbour, Every Angel must die, Gypsy dance…amazing stuff.  Shame they didn’t keep the magic going longer.

Alphabeat: This is

An Ok album if you can ignore the terrible lyrics, and the out of place cover of Public Image.  You can hear why they made such an impact when they came out, but in retospect, you can also hear that they didn’t have enough substance to back it up with a second bearable album.  Brainless fun for a party.

Altan: Best of

I know…another best of.  Great band and this is one of my most played CD’s (it never made storage in the cellar and has been with me the whole way through!)  Concentrates mostly on the early years and is thus more whistle dominated than later stuff.  Which is no bad thing.

Tori Amos: Tales from a Librarian

Terrific songs from a terrific artist.  Crucify should zap straight on to my Spotify “Greatest Songs Ever Written” playlist

Anthony and The Johnsons: I am a bird now

I bought this on impulse after hearing Anthony do one song on a tribute show (I can’t remember what show).  I rather like his bizarre voice, the music is atmospheric and the theme of gender identity interesting…but a whole album is a lot to take at one time

Atomic Swing: In their finest hour

A great example of why the Swedish music scene has for years been one of the best.  A real band playing real music with real songs about real things.  The bass is beautifully abstract – he does exactly what you don’t expect all the time.  Love this band.  Shame they didn’t do more – I think this is a compilation of 2 albums.  I knew Meat Swap Bossanova, from which many of the songs are taken, and I think they did one more.  Weird in retrospect to hear Phil Spector singing on “So in need of a change”.

B52’s – Planet Clare

Early stuff from the great B52’s – most of this is from 1979, and is the same material by and large they played when we saw them 2 years ago.  Good live band, and that live vibe is captured perfectly on record.  You can’t help but love em!

I’ll keep you posted as I continue…

Video a week on patreon.com

Hi and happy new year beloved folkies!

A new feature for 2017 is the Martin Dale patreon page at:

https://www.patreon.com/martindale

Here you can see live performances of songs, background info about the songs, thoughts about new songs and much more.  Better still, it’s an interactive experience – you can tell me what you think, ask me questions, make requests or say whatever you feel like to me!  I’ll reply to every post.

It’s launched today (1st January 2017) and there will be a new video (plus background info video) every Sunday come rain or shine, as well as bonus recordings, musings, song sketches etc.

Click the buttons and become part of it.  You know you want to!

Afro celt soundsystem

I don’t get to as many gigs (of other artists!) as I’d like to (except at festivals), so when I finally get the chance to see an act I really like it is double the pleasure.  So when my good friend and ex-Rumpus partner Ed Conway suggested seeing Afro Celt Sound System at Birmingham City Hall while I was in England last week, I jumped at the chance.

First, I will get the only negatives out of the way.  They looked awful.  Dressed in the clothes they did their shopping in and with (in the case of the piper, Griogair Labhruidh) a sweater your uncle wouldn’t even wear at Christmas, they hadn’t made an effort on the visual side.  With the exception of the one (hugely talented) African member, N’Faly Kouyate, who donned a long colourful jacket, and the dancers, in their traditional Indian costumes.  And Griogair rapped.  Rapping is shite in any language – even Gaelic.

Right.  That’s the negatives out of the way.  The music more than made up for it.  I had always considered ACSS to be a very electronic project, with the acoustic, traditional instruments laid over computer-based rhythms and synthesizers.  The electronic side, actually, played a much smaller role than I expected and the bulk of the sound was produced by the pipes/flutes/whistles, guitars, kora, drums, percussion and bodhrán augmented by terrific harmony vocals.  The synth was mostly providing bass (I would have preferred a bass guitar, but that’s just a question of taste). One of those who made the biggest impression on me was Rioghnach Connelly on vocals and flute.  A hugely talented lady with great on-stage attitude.  But they were all amazing, and took turns coming to the front before stepping back into the huge African, Asian and Celtic sound soup.

The set was mostly from the new album “Source”, but with a few pieces I recognised from the early Afro Celt albums.  The members of the “other” band who share the name may be threatening legal action and disclaiming the project, but it was very much a Simon Emmerson project in the beginning, as I understand it, and he pulled off a spectacular show with this line-up, featuring all the elements we loved from the early records.

Fab night.

Neil Brophy UK tour roundup

Had a wonderful week eating great British food and drinking great British ales, whilst playing great British venues in Great Britain.  Neil Brophy Band made its first steps into the great British music market and at the same time had lots of fun and giggles.

First port of call after driver and on-road entertainment Jim picked us up from Luton airport, was Dublin Castle in Camden, London, where sound crew Martin and Jens from Powerstage were waiting.  Not a big crowd, but a good way to warm up for the tour, with reunions with old friends, quality curry beforehand, quality beer after and an unexpected headline slot, when the headliners didn’t show up.

After a sardine night at the hostel, we headed up to Northampton, and, having sampled pie, mash and mushy peas and admired Jim’s hotrod, played a much longer set at The Black Prince.

Next day we went to The Adelphi in Hull (after eating the best fish and chips in the world).  This place is like traveling directly back in time to the 80’s.  Great atmosphere, retro-sound, characature characters and terrific beer.  This was the first of 3 gigs supporting the wonderful Blackbeard’s Tea Party – lovely people, and great musicians.  A really fun night, and a great response from the crowd.

Long trip the next day to the beautiful city of Chester, where we stayed with the wonderful Brian and Ann.  The venue – Telford’s Warehouse – was as beautiful as the city, the sound fantastic and the audience appreciative.

The last day was more relaxed due to shorter driving distance…just up t’road to Manchester.  Fac 251 is the old Factory Records building, and there’s a sense of rock n roll history in the place.  Another great night and both NBB and Blackbeard’s were on fire.

Lovely to be back in Denmark now, but what a great week in the UK!

England!

Will soon be off to the UK in one of my rare excursions outside of Europe 😛

Originally I was just going to go on a road trip with a mate to see Christy Moore play in Swansea.  This is still the case, but since booking that, it seems I have to stay a little longer in Britain.

Neil Brophy Band (of which, for those who don’t know, I am the bassist) have teamed up with Blackbeard’s Tea Party (one of my favourite bands) and will be warming up for them in Hull, Chester and Manchester in October.  Plus a couple of other dates without the Tea Party, one in London at the Dublin Castle and one in Northampton at The Black Prince…look on the “Live” page for the dates and venues!  This will be fun in more ways than I can express.  And even more fun if I get to see some of you Brits I so rarely catch up with!

I will also be doing a solo tour (just a couple of weeks) in April next year…watch this space

new discoveries

Newly discovered favourites:

Robert Ellis – what a guitarist!  Almost makes me love country music

Phil Ochs – I completely missed him until now, despite him being a big name in the protest song and folk world that I grew up with.  Now newly discovered his songs 30 years after his death.

The Felice Brothers – I know nothing about them, but the songs I’ve heard sound fab.

Damien Jurado –  Music to melt to!

The Leylines – They sound almost identical to the Levellers, which is a shame, but do it very well.

Jutland tour blog

Sometimes I have to write things down just so I can remember some of what’s happened. Life seems to whiz past in a bit of a blur, where I just take moments here and there to take it all in before it all just zaps off again into music-fuelled, people filled hecticness. so…
On the 14th I was up at Vejlby Klit playing to a frozen audience outside Café John Wayne. Hats off to the determined revellers who stayed to the end in the cold wind. Next stop was a Strong Ale gig at You’ll never walk alone in Kolding. The weather meant it had to be held inside but it was still great fun and an enthusiastic audience. No time to hang around afterwards as I had to be in Aalborg for a midnight start at The Old Irish Pub on Jomfru Ane Gade. I was greeted by the fabulous barstaff with sambuca shots and had a really fun gig – slow to get going but always something happening. A lone Nowegian lad was sitting alone at a table with a whole bottle of vodka and 6 cans of red bull – clearly the way to make new friends. I helped him out.
Which explains the hangover on Saturday when playing the same gig, but to a bigger audience.
I got a day off which I spent back home on Fyn, and then Monday drove up to Fur. I love this island, and I love the gig, which is outside on the harbour in a kind of beer garden sort of space outside the tiny “Skuret” pub. Again the weather was awful, but people wrapped themselves up in blankets and we had a grand old time.
Tuesday was at Nørrelands Dansested in Holstebro and was the biggest audience I’ve seen there. Again a great atmosphere (and now with a new stage). Stopped at a lovely B&B out in the countryside. Then on to Fjand Gårdbutik – one of my favourite “regular” gigs. I say regular as I have played there every summer for the last 4 years or so. The audience is a sit down and listen sort of crowd, and they join in with everything and are always really receptive. Per and Majbritt, the owners, are also such lovely people and the whole farmyard atmosphere is so charming and completely different from pretty much everything else I play.
Thursday I went back to Vejlby Klit – this time with good weather, which meant we could set up in the better position across the car park, with much more audience room. A fabulous night, with a wonderful international audience, and plenty of CD sales (that’s what we like!).
I drove home afterwards (with a doubly whisky in the cup holder which I drank on arrival home!). And that was it for Jutland.
Friday I headed east and did Ballerup Festival with Strong Ale. Great weather, great crowd. I had 40 minutes to get off that stage and onto the next stage at Mulligans in Roskilde (made it with 10 minutes to spare!) and, again the Danish summer happiness was everywhere. Great fun, and a meet up with old friends. Saturday I was back at Ballerup Festival to play bass with Neil Brophy Band – at possibly the best performance we’ve ever given. Great audience, great sound (from Powerstage) and great atmosphere again.
I was up on Fur again yesterday where the weather was better and thus the audience bigger. Now, having got through my paperwork, I am free for a couple of days, and the sun is shining, so see you all later!

Skagen festival with Neil Brophy Band

I seem to be consistently one festival behind at the moment…here’s last week’s as I recover from this weekend at Vig.

It was my first time at Skagen Festival.  I’d heard so much about it, and was looking forward to it, partly because of its reputation, partly to see friends and colleagues I don’t see that often and partly because I was looking forward to playing the new Neil Brophy Band set.

When I arrived The Revellers were playing at the Havnescene.  I love when bands mix folk and rock music, and when musicians have fun on stage.  The Revellers did both, and with an infectious energy.  Top musicians and top blokes.  We spent quite a lot of the next few days in the company of one or more reveller (and they all lived up to the name!).  I saw them again on the Torvescene on the Friday night and they were even better – it suited them being a little closer to the audience.  And they had a guest appearance from the fabulous Perry Stenbäck on Nyckelharpa which was fantastic.  He let me have a go on it the day after – and, goddammit, now I want one!

Other top highlights were Australian Toby Beard who rocked the Havnescene with her great Dutch band, charisma and showmanship.   Bullmilk Leftovers I enjoyed, Hawkeye and Hoe were better than ever (with Torvescenen eating out of their hands – or should I say drinking?), and The McLaughlins with Pia Nygaard did a great late night job at the sports club for those of us still conscious.  Outside the festival Scoops did a blinder at The Old Irish Pub.

I enjoyed both of the gigs with Neil Brophy Band. The lads played grand and the new material went down really well.  Fear of fear is becoming a live hit.

It was “good to see you” as they sing in Skagen…hopefully see you again next year!

Glastonbury highlights

Glastonbury memories are beginning to fade, particularly as I’ve been at Skagen festival since, so here’s a quick recap of my highlights while I can still remember.

Thursday night I played a set at the Peel Sessions bar…of which there are many great photos due to Stone from Stone Free appearing bang on time at the start of the gig.  However, I was there to compere the John Peel Stage, so let’s get onto Friday when that opened.

Friday started fairly quiet at the John Peel Stage with Dan Stuart not pulling the crowds he would have 15 years ago – still a good set though.  X Ambassadors had to cancel their set as their monitor gear didn’t work – their trip was worthwhile though as Sam did a roaring acoustic version of Renegades to a packed tent before they left.

Next up was Elle King who was brilliant.  Top showmanship, a better voice than on record and lots of banjo.  What’s not to like?

Aurora had to be seen from out in the crowd – she and her band are lovely, and the noise they make is tremendous.  A tip for the very top.  She lives out her music entirely when performing and the passion is infectious.  At the same time there is a Scandinavian humility that is hugely endearing.  I remember afterwards calling it one of the best shows ever on the John Peel stage.  I stick by that.

I only caught the last few songs of Half Moon Run, but they were terrific too.  Jack Garrett had the crowd totally in the palm of his hand – amazing to see a one man show with so much power.  Not really my music though…so off I trotted to catch a couple of songs from ZZ Top’s set at the Pyramid Stage.  I hate watching bands at such big gigs as all you can see is the screen, but I guess I can say I saw them.  They sounded great – Billy Gibbons has always been one of my biggest heroes.

I got back to John Peel to take Jack Garrett off and to see Explosions in The Sky who were phenomenal.  This despite the fact that some of them had food poisoning.  Sigur Ros was a huge spectacular show, and a massive crowd to end the day.  Or nearly end it.  Did a set with Jim Fox at the sessions bar following the adorable and talented Charlotte Campbell.

Saturday Nothing But Thieves did an early gig at John Peel that was electrifying.  Amazing band and an amazing voice.  I’ve been listening to them a lot since and can’t wait for the album to come out.  Dua Lipa was on after them, and I hadn’t expected much of her, but she really had the crowd and did a great job.

Mø was another positive surprise.  I know her music, obviously, and she lives not far from me, but I’d never seen her live before.  She sang well and totally owned the stage.  As well as being out in the audience 3 times.  Great performance and a great crowd – she has really arrived as a major act.

But then came the highlight of the highlights.  John Grant on the John Peel Stage.  It was like a religious experience.  Great musicians, great music, great lyrics, a bit of fun and lots of personality.  And no bullshit.  Mostly songs from the new album, but with GMF and Queen of Denmark getting everyone singing along.  Mind blown.

I didn’t want to see anything else after John Grant.  But it was hard to avoid the vibe that was happening when Fat Boy Slim was on…it was doing my head in backstage, but when I came front of house it was amazing – the biggest crowd we’ve ever had on the JPS and everyone dancing.

I wandered off through the mud bound for Avalon, stopping to catch a few random acts along the way (the best being a group of beatboxers).  The reason for my trudging was to catch The Treacherous Orchestra.  And it was entirely worth the exhaustion it caused.  Anyone who doesn’t know them check them out.  Particularly live.

Sunday morning at JPS was opened with the biggest crowd ever for an opening act on a Sunday for She Drew The Gun. Mystery Jets were brilliant, as were Band of Horses.  Things got more anthemic with an incredible set from Of Monsters and Men, and then came the surprise of the festival.  I was expecting nice songs and a bit of humour, but the attitude of Mac Demarco and his band, the contact with the audience, the sheer funniness blew us away.  By comparison Jake Bugg was a disappointment.  However, the green room crew took to the stage for the John Peel tribute at the end and the traditional New York New York farewell…another Glastonbury over.

Except for the Sunday night party backstage featuring a performance by Jim Fox, me and Michael Gillett.  What a week…

John peel stage 2016

Glastonbury festival approaches!  And if you are one of those lucky enough to have a ticket, here’s an invitation to come down to the legendary John Peel Stage, which this year has moved into the next field away from Silver Hayes.

This year we have none other than Sigur Rós headlining Friday night.  I know.  I can’t wait either.  A more amazing live music experience may be hard to imagine, but Explosions in the Sky are on only 3 hours before them, and may well at least come close.  2 of the most symphonic rock bands of the last 30 years on the same night!

The ultimate one man band and utterly likeable chappie Jack Garratt, Canadian harmony kings Half Moon Run and M83 will all be spectacular in each their own way and I’m hugely looking forward to the enigmatic Elle King who’s on Friday afternoon.

We have the pride of the Danish music business – none other than Mø, alongside other huge acts Band of Horses, Of Monsters and Men, Bat For Lashes and Jake Bugg.  Also hugely looking forward to Dan Stuart and the Twin Tones kicking off the festival on Friday.

3 acts I didn’t know until recently, the amazing Ozzy singer Matt Corby, fellow Ozzies Tired Lion and winners of Glasto’s emeerging talent contest She Drew The Gun (check out their song Poem) kick off the Sunday morning. Alunageorge, Mac DeMarco, the chilling Aurora from Norway (she’s fab…and not just when she’s doing Oasis covers at Xmas), Rat Boy, Example, Låpsley, Palace, Mystery Jets (love this band!), the wonderful no bullshit Alessia Cara, Nothing but Thieves and Dua Lipa…sound good to you?

But happy of all happies for me is that John Grant is playing.  Thank you music gods (you know who you are!).

Oh, did I mention Fatboy Slim?  Yeah, he’s on too 🙂  What a party!

If you’re at Glasto, come by, say hello and enjoy some of the most fantastic music on this planet.