I've put up a lot a links about my music recently. Sitting here after a lovely Christmas Day (thanks to Mark W (and his mother, Pauline), Tina, Ian O and Rob L), I've been drinking whisky and listening to stuff on MySpace by my friends & family and I thought I'd give them all a plug. Rather than introduce favourites, I've listed them in alphabetical order (links are on both the images and the names). When you've got the time, take the time and listen. And enjoy.
Adrian Byron Burns
Adrian played at the Tap & Spile on my 50th
birthday (for which, I am immensely grateful and, of which, I am immensely proud). It wasn't the first time he'd been to Grimsby, but it was the first time I'd heard him. He is a great bear of a man, with warm generosity and a quiet humour — originally from Washington, DC, USA — who now lives in Hull. He is a wonderful performer, a brilliant musician and a really nice guy.
Claude is superb. I remember hearing him play Ravel's Bolero
alone on the guitar at the Tap & Spile and being zapped into another world. I remember a certain keyboard and accordion player deciding that, after hearing Claude, guitar players did have their points. Claude spent some time in Lausanne, Switzerland, where I worked for a time; we talk about this connection from time to time. A quiet, unassuming man who plays excellent guitar (even if he does use strange tunings and inspires Rob L to mess about with such things). Merci, Claude, pour ta musique.
Fingers is, I'm proud to say, my brother. He's the only reason I ever picked up a guitar in the first place (so you can all blame him when I make a rotten noise). He (sort of) forced me to play bass riffs sometime, a long, long time ago. And then I began to get the hang of it... ...eventually, a bit. Everything from blues to rock, played with consummate skill. Lives in London, but that's his only fault.
Ian and Helen make music like no-one else. Helen tinkles away on the ivories rather well (that's a complement for which I expect no retribution, Helen) and Ian delivers a rock/folk vocal of immense power. Watching them perform live (particularly Chimes At Midnight
which, for some unaccountable reason, they haven't recorded for mass listening) is a pure delight. People I'm proud and humble to call friends.
Simon & Sue are a husband and wife team — one of two such pairings featured here (see The Twanglers
, below). Their voices pair as well as their lives and they deliver beautiful tunes. Simon seems to have suffered little from his stint with Broadsword
(sorry, Fil, just a joke). When I first met these guys they were a nervous couple at the Tap's acoustic nights. Now? Well, they've come a long way.
Another family member. My nephew, Jean-Luc — my sister, Shirley C
's, youngest — is the drummer. Yes, I know, we've got a drummer in the family, but that's the sort of black sheep every family has to live with (only joking Jelly, honest). Well, it's better than having a bass player (heh, heh, giggle, giggle, Mark). These guys are all in their early teens but sound like they've been playing since the birth of rock 'n' roll. I'm very jealous. And very happy for them. And very proud.
is, mostly, my nephew, George (son of fingers flynn
). George is the youngest singer/songwriter/guitarist featured here, but he is somewhat advanced in his years in this regard. He's got time to bloom that others, such as I, have not. Just listen without prejudice, as they say. Worth more than 10 minutes of your time.
Si travels and performs with his guitar and his dog, Boddington. Si wouldn't deny that the dog is the real star of the show. Except for the bits where Si is a really good guitarist and entertaining performer. But, in the end, it's Boddy who pulls in the crowds. Except for the bits where Si makes you laugh and tap your feet and marvel at his talents. [Is this OK, Si? Do I get a backstage pass next time? Boddy, sorry I had to say those nice things about Si, but he does have the speaking voice after all.
The other husband and wife team. Jen is lovely and plays whistle and sings much, much better than she believes. But what do I say about Tim that I haven't said to his face with added profanity? Two years ago, Tim was a nervous performer who didn't think that anyone wanted to hear hin play guitar, let alone listen to his songs. He is now a confident and assured performer, writing songs to make you smile and tear your heart strings. His guitar playing's come a long way, too. But, his sense of direction and appreciation of the subtleties of geography are still appalling.
I'm sorry I couldn't include more people here but quite a number of my musical friends have either neglected to set up a MySpace account or haven't got around to uploading any music. When they do, we'll have another edition of this series.
Oh, and finally, I'd like to thank Beth in Ohio for the lovely Christmas E-Card, the nice comments about my songs, her "BS blog" (her words — excuse me, Beth) and the, slightly, more serious "In The Details"; my regular readers will find regular visits to both sites worth their while.