Monday, March 12, 2012

High Level - Music from the past.

This is one album that I have wanted to find for at least two decades and finally I have done so. First released by Trailer records as LER 2030 in 1971 it has, as far as I can tell never had a full re-release on vinyl, cassette or CD and neither can I find a legal download. I might have missed something but now it doesn't matter any longer...

For much the same cost as a current vinyl release I have it now, an original in excellent condition. It is not absolutely mint and certainly not unplayed but that is a good thing as I fully intend to play it - indeed I already have - and I'm disappointed neither by the quality of my purchase nor (and I hardly expected this to be so) the quality of the content or its recording.
I'm still undecided about my favourite tracks on it: It is all of them currently.  The High Level Ranters was the first band I ever saw live at a real gig and it clearly made an impression on me. This about 35 years ago - and it was certainly after 'Ranting Lads' was released by Topic Records in 1976 as 12TS297. As it so happens I mentioned that album here three years ago tomorrow!
That this recording, let alone much of the original and traditional music, was recorded forty years ago has become relevant again. Good music sleeps but it never dies.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Looking at things in another way...

This follows on from my musings about Latitude 2012 that I posted yesterday. I have to say that the music line-up as currently announced looks pretty strong when compared in some ways to the last couple of years and that does answer one of my criticisms of 2011 in particular. There are plenty of acts new to me at the top end of the bill - Bon Iver and Janelle Monáe being two that quickly come to mind- that I'd like to see and plenty of others that I have seen before but would be delighted to see again - Bat For Lashes, Chairlift, Laura Marling and Soko being four that I have seen at Latitude before that readily come to mind. In addition there are a whole lot of new/less well know acts that are on my radar and this number should grow as more are announced.
This is the point at which I will add my next caveat: in the last few years the 'Lake Stage', formerly 'BBC Radio 1 Introducing' (by Huw Stephens) has been decidedly a hit and miss affair - good but often woefully underused. I have noticed no specific mention of it in the current programme this year. The Sunset Stage has kept up a much better reputation in my view but it is the relative lack of attention to the smaller, more intimate venues that has bought about some of my ambivalence of late.
It is also a two-edged sword because many of the acts already announced, and who are likely to perform on these stages, are already announced for other festivals including, vide supra, NDH 2012 and EOTR 2012. The first artist announcements for Truck Festival 2012, which has reverted to being a two-day festival, are imminent. If the newer or merely less mainstream is your priority, as in many ways it is mine, then that is surely a consideration too. That said, however, having seen Anna Calvi live on the main (Obelisk) stage at Latitude 2011 I can't wait to see her live at EOTR - for which she is confirmed.
The third aspect, and as far as I'm concerned it is no fault of Latitude per se, it takes me two days off work and a considerable cost just to get there and to get back.
I could probably do any two of Truck, Priddy Folk Festival or Shrewsbury Folk Festival (which keeps being recommended to me) for the same cost; travel, food and beer/cider included!  On the other hand I could just do any one of them and have £120 to spend on new recorded music - and that could even include quite a lot of vinyl.

It is Record Store Day soon --- 21 April 2012. Does anyone fancy getting as much, and as truly varied, vinyl and other goodies together as we can muster in an attempt to woo back those lost to real music - both recorded and live?  More important even than that, to educate the generation that has never really known it at all.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Do I stay? Or do I go? - Latitude Festival 2012

It's decision time folks... I've been to the last five, but whether I go to Latitude 2012 is largely down to you this time. I had a few issues with Latitude 2011 and the weather wasn't really one of them although it was an inconvenience to all.  What do you think about the line up (as already announced) below? Please note that I go almost only for the music.

If I stay (much nearer home) I still have the option to go to Priddy Folk Festival, or indeed the revived Truck Festival instead. If not those then plenty of other opportunities are available and I'm already going to 'No Direction Home 2012' (its first offering at Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire) and 'End Of The Road 2012' so I'm hardly going to be feeling left out. In fact the line up announced for these, and it is far from complete, is pretty amazing from my personal perspective and is something about which I shall comment in more detail very soon.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

New Music 2012 - Part 13 - whispers on the wind

This is less focussed than most such posts: just things that I've seen, heard or otherwise divined in the last couple of weeks.
Back in 2009 and 2010 I mentioned Smoke Fairies on several occasions...
Their second LP and the follow-up to 'Through Low Light and Trees' is to be released in May; it is called 'Blood Speaks' and is, in as far as I can do so, pre-ordered already. The timing would be good for a festival or two this summer...
One thing that we do know is, while if you are hoping to see Joanne Shaw Taylor live in the UK this spring you might be disappointed, she is however busy recording her third LP. I have no idea of any release date, or title, but the mere fact can hardly be a bad thing. If waiting for that is too much, and really it should be...