Updated: 20 Aug 2012
The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
The Hangman And The Papist
ROCKING THE PARK, CLUMBER PARK, FRI 17 AUG 2012
Years since I've been to a big outdoor music event so I've been watching the weather forecasts all week with some apprehension. Fortunately the rain virtually stopped for Strawbs opening the proceedings. Sadly it seems the time slots (monitored by a big onstage clock) varied depended on the place on the bill so they only got half an hour. Hard to pick five favourites I suppose, but we were treated to "Jesus", "New World", "Ghosts", "Hangman" and "Lay Down".
Interesting line up as four of the groups I first saw on campus in my university days over 35 years ago. Never imagined they would still be around; maybe I will retire before they do.
Enjoyed Curved Air. Not that familiar with their songs but the highlight was their best known song "Back Street Luv".
Carl Palmer band didn't do much for me. Technically competent but unnecessarily loud and a drummer at front and no vocals isn't my thing.
Now seen Focus three times including when they toured with Strawbs a couple of years ago.. Unique sort of music and quite enjoyable.
I've always had doubts about tribute bands, they don't really have fans they are just followed by people who wan't to see their heroes on the cheap. However Brit Floyd didn't try to look like the real thing they just played the music and they were brilliant.
Hawkwind topped the bill and judging by the hairy audience they were the group with the most followers. As Mike said, he's waited 40 years to get them on the same bill as Strawbs. Disappointed not to hear "Silver Machine", not sure if that's because licensing rules meant strict 11pm finish or if it's their POTU.
A great evening's entertainment, only minor gripe is time allocation with Hawkwind getting an hour and a quarter and Strawbs only half an hour.
Pedantically I must point out that Hawkwind and the Strawbs - and indeed Curved Air - all played at the 1976 Cardiff Castle gig; 'only' 36 years ago, not 40....
And we'll see them all again..........in another 30 years!
On A Night Like This
Song Of A Sad Little Girl
Ways And Means
The Call To Action
You Keep Going Your Way
Never Take Sweets From A Stranger
Beside The Rio Grande
Bats And Swallows
Tell Me What You See In Me
The Shepherd's Song
We'll Meet Again Sometime
DAVE COUSINS & IAN CUTLER, ST. EDITH HALL, KEMSING, 20 JULY 2012
A nice trip out on a Friday evening (well nice once I got through London and and the Blackwall Tunnel!) into the depths of rural Kent, to catch a rare glimpse of this rare Kentish creature, the Cousins & Cutler duo. Nestling in the tiny village of Kemsing, opposite a fine pub, a really great crowd thoroghly enjoyed the opportunity to listen to Dave's songs with the simplest of accompaniment.
"Grace" was lovely, as was a very strong performance of one of my favourite Cousins songs (not done live before according to DC) "You Keep Going Your Way" - one of his earliest efforts I believe, in the style of one Mr Bob Dylan.
Ian's fiddle can give a beautiful Middle-Eastern feel, which entirely suits "Tell Me" and also "The Call To Action" - that great little fiddle lick that Ian plays when Dave breaks from the guitar, which was featured on the Strawbs version on Broken Hearted Bride, and some rather discordant pizzicato playing setting off the slightly atonal strumming in an open C tuning (I think) which Dave uses for this. And of course a Spanish feel for the ever popular "The Shepherd's Song" which closed the set.
Basically Ian is a near perfect accompanist for Dave, providing instrumental colour over Dave's acoustic chords - and the two together are more than the sum of their parts, both clearly and visibly enjoying the too-rare opportunity to play together.
Dave was somewhat apologetic about the so-called "self-indulgence" involved in premiering the song "Bats And Swallows" before it was truly finished: from the applause which followed he need not have been worried at all. The opportunity to hear a new Cousins song in its early stages is one that I've enjoyed before now in private, and the audience made no secret that they were flattered and pleased that a songwriter of Dave's stature was prepared to do this. If Dave writes some more and does some more gigs with Ian, which I dearly hope he will, I think any audience would welcome further experimental outings with open arms. (Think about those folks who first heard "Autumn" newly written and not quite finished in a New York setting in 1973 - I don't think any of them would have complained either.)
Also of note: "Blue Angel" - different arrangement from that currently being performed by the Acoustics - pretty mind-bending to switch from one version to the other for one gig only - well done Dave. And another from Dave's 1972 solo album, the wonderful "Ways And Means", which I always love hearing.
Nice to catch up with Paul Brazier too - we agreed that we definitely ought to see more of this dynamic duo and hope to persuade them to come out to play again in the near future!
The Man Who Called Himself Jesus
Josephine, For Better Or For Worse
Oh How She Changed
The Hangman and The Papist
Shine On Silver Sun
HALF MOON, PUTNEY, 14 JULY 2012