I’ll Be A Bachelor Boy

Minds being funny things and all, a recent period of having Cliff Richard’s “Bachelor Boy” in my head (which surely must rank as one of the most egregious earworms in history) has driven me toward Hank Williams’ “I’ll Be A Bachelor Till I Die”. Now if you’ve never listened to ol’ Hank, you really need to. Like, now.

And if you have, well, you know what treat is in store, don’t you?

MP3: I’ll Be A Bachelor Till I Die by Hank Williams

Buy Hank Williams “Cold Cold Heart” (CD) Here

The Work Keeps Working

So, I’ve been b….there’s not really any point in saying it, is there? Joining me in returning from The Land Of The Otherwise Engaged are Frightened Rabbit, who have returned from their 2 year long World Tour and have punted us, dear listeners, free EP. You have to sign up to the mailing list but as their emails are some of the funniest, wittiest and genuinely pleasant promotional emails you could wish for, this is in no way a hardship.

The songs themselves seem to have been largely written on the bus, but this is apparently no bad thing. “Scottish Winds” sounds like the kind of song that would build up in your head as you’re touring some warm, sunny country filled with happy people and a complete absence of cold, biting rain. “Fuck This Place” is a charming duet (seriously), and “The Work” reminds me of their much earlier work, and features some old feller. Called Archie. I really ought to research this a bit more, but, you know.

Oh, just sign up and download it, will you?

MP3: The Work by Frightened Rabbit

Buy Frightened Rabbit Stuff Here

Up To The Stars

Sad news came today of the death of Bert Jansch. One of the finest guitarists of all time – and I’m not being hyperbolic here – he rose to prominence in the 60’s along with John Martyn and Davey Graham. Like them, he was astonishingly talented, and like them, he liked a drink or two. Or twenty. Saying that, unlike the somewhat difficult Martyn or the tragically lost Graham, he reined in his drinking and continued to record and perform, as well as being a gentleman who graciously accepted the plaudits rained upon him whilst giving the distinct impression he thought everyone was making a bit of a fuss about nothing.

I first heard his music thanks to the massively enthusiastic exhortations of Johnny Marr, who knows a thing or two about this most precious of arts. Marr speaks of first seeing Jansch play with Pentangle in the early ’70’s, and understanding that “all the other bands were regarded as utter lightweights, musically, physically, philosophically and lyrically”. He has a point. Whilst Jansch is ostensibly a folk guitarist, there’s all sorts thrown into the mix, R’n’B, Middle-Eastern music, you name it; with a roving, restless intelligence married to a feel for the guitar that was unparalleled. As Jansch himself explained to Will Hodgkinson in the excellent Guitar Man, most guitar playing is about getting the right feel and atmosphere rather than hitting the right notes. Though, of course, Jansch got that bit right too.

Along with Marr, he influenced the likes of Nick Drake, Jimmy Page, Bernard Butler, Devendra Banhart; oh, just anyone who’s ever picked up a guitar and wanted to make it sound more than wood and metal. Anyone who wants to make it sing and tremble. When you yourself finally shuffle from this painful earth, who is to say that you won’t be greeted at the gates of heaven by this trio of fingerpicking Gods, with Bert at their head?

MP3: Angie by Bert Jansch

Buy stuff from Amazon’s Bert Jansch Store. You’re probably best off starting with The Essential (2CD).