Saturday 29 August 2009

Thoughts on Live Music

That bloke with the leather jacket got me to thinking, as I so often do, about attached meaning, about nuance, about semiotics, which led me to leave a comment, full of Steppenwolf, on his blog, because, leather jackets got me to thinking about the whole biker freedom mythology, as epitomised by Easy-Rider, (no, no web2 hyperlink, use google if you've no idea what easy rider is, or where steppenwolf come or comes into the story) and not Herman Hesse, that's another wolf of the steppes, but about freedom all the same...
Then I got to thinking about songs in the genre of "Born to be Wild", which led me to thinking of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run", which is definitely kin to Born to be Wild, though it's not so much about bike culture as cars, chrome wheel, fuel injected and steppin' out over the line, so I had a listen to Bruce, who I think is a great American chronicler, his songs are stories and poems, histories and dreams, a bard for the common man, I think it's a sad thing these days that people like him play to vast arenas, rather than smaller, more interactive places, theatres, clubs, college dining halls....
When I was a teenager/young adult, the music venue in my town was the University's refectory, a stage at the end of a hall where by day, hundreds ate lunch.
It was big enough, in its time, for the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and many others. The Who's (possibly) greatest album, "Live at Leeds" was recorded there. If you were there, you were THERE!, oh yes, with a pint glass of beer in your hand, in a room of smoke and sweat and music.Now, if you get a ticket to see a band, chances are you'll be in the seven thousandth row back, the band are ant-like specks in the far distance, and the music you hear is rebroadcast to speakers a quarter of a mile from the stage, you're watching action on a giant screen, why not stay at home and watch on TV? After all, you paid a kings ransom, and you're barely in the same county as the band.
Whereas in the seventies, you could work your way, beer in hand, to the front, no security guards barring your way.
I recall, I'd had an empty glass, for a while, but was loath to miss the music, it was, I think, Jethro Tull that night... there was a stack of crates on stage by the amps, and whilst the singer was in a solo, the bassist was popping bottle caps for himself and the drummer, caught my eye and chucked me a couple of bottles, with a grin.
Wouldn't get that with stadium rock.

Just north of here, a couple of miles, it's festival time, at Bramham Park. Leedsfest Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, and umpty-seven other bands.

Anyway, after all that... The Music.
The leather jacket brings me to a motorbike song, which I've posted before, in a different recording, I know, here's Richard Thompson.........

It always sounds, to me, a non musician, that he manages to get two guitarists worth of sound out of one guitar...

The White Dress

Sandy Denny - White dress Lyrics

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Feel how the wind blows, december despair,
Bring me a ribbon to tie up my hair,
I'll be your bride, go where you go,
All of my life, you'll be my beau.

Kiss me and I might
Put on a white dress,
If you'll take me dancing tonight.
The night's in your face, sky's in your eyes,
The day's in my arms when you're by my side,
Whenever you're weary I'll sing you a song,
Whenever you're lonely I'll show you you're wrong.


Come from the window, let's climb the stairs,
All of my sorrows are none of your cares;
While life is in us, let's love all we can.
I'll be your women, you'll be my man.


The White Dress, from the Fairport Convention album, Rising For The Moon. (1975).
The song was written by Dave Swarbrick.
The woman singing is Sandy Denny, who, sadly, died after a fall down stairs a in 1978.
I saw her on a number of occasions, both with Fairport Convention and with her own band.

Sandy Denny masterclass trivia information. She was the only singer to guest with Led Zeppelin, singing on Led Zeppelin IV, -on The Battle of Evermore

If you wish to know more, there's google, I was just listening to music, thought I'd share.