Book reviews

Peggy Seeger – A life of music, love, and politics

by Ken Hunt, London] Peggy Seeger wrote an autobiographical self-portrait in song overnight between Sheffield and London in 1973. In the booklet notes to her CD, The Folkways Years 1955-1982, she clarified: “It was intended to answer those people who come up during the interval or after a concert, those who interview you on radio or want to do write-ups. It is an answer to the question about why a middle-class female from a comfortable background ..

1. 9. 2018 |

The Conscience of the Folk Revival – The Writings of Israel “Izzy” Young

[by Ken Hunt, London] This fascinating gathering of writings from Israel G. Young appeared in 2013. The elder of two sons born to Polish Jewish parents in March 1928 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, he reveals himself as a clear-sighted and sometimes curmudgeonly commentator, catalyst and chronicler of the New York folk scene. (California and Europe barely get walk-on parts.)

6. 1. 2016 |

Giant Donut Discs ® – April 2012

[by Ken Hunt, London] More music for a balmy life on the fictional desert island. April’s selections come courtesy of Christy Moore with Declan Sinnott, Madeleine Peyroux, Gangubai Hangal, Janis Joplin, Santana, The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, Chumbawamba, Sheila Smith, the Grateful Dead and The Animals. Lots of Irish thoughts and thoughts about Ireland ripple through this month’s selections.

23. 4. 2012 |

Nic Jones, Dave Moran & Nigel Paterson – Broadside Songs of the Halliard

[by Ken Hunt, London] Now, it’s only personal opinion. Still, hear out my theory. Every movement has its share of before-and-after benchmarks or epiphanies. They divide people who experienced them first-hand from those who got the experience passed down. On 1 June 1980, a date that shall forever remain hallowed in the annals of what we laughingly call England’s Folk Revival, Topic Records released a twelve-inch, nine-track masterwork known as 12TS411 in the trade and as Penguin Eggs to the punters that snaffled it up. It is no exaggeration to say that it took the folk scene by storm, much as Dick Gaughan’s Handful of Earth did the following year.

26. 9. 2011 |

George Frayne aka Commander Cody – Art Music & Life

[by Ken Hunt, London] “The painting is from a 1984 album I did for Line Records in Germany called “Lose It Tonight”. A song I performed – the first and only time I ever lip-synched a TV show – on Germany’s #1 Pop music program of the 80’s called “MusicLaden”. It was great I met Pat Boone and showed him the way out.” – George Frayne’s lateral thoughts emanating from the Lose It Tonight cover.

14. 10. 2010 |

David Robb (editor) – Protest Song in East and West Germany since the 1960s

[by Ken Hunt, London] The German protest movement, in which song was a mightily important element, first truly broached my consciousness in 1971. Formative experiences included attending anti-nuclear protests of the ring-around-the-plant kind and sitting at trestle tables with beer, bread and Bockwurst and with old (well, they looked old to me) comrades singing Kampflieder (‘songs of struggle’) and spouting Kampfsprüche (‘jingles’) at rallies that seemed to last for days. But all that was politics and protesting often in almost a carnival atmosphere, despite the constant presence of the camera-wallahs busily snapping away.

27. 5. 2008 |

The Many Lives of Tom Waits

[by Ken Hunt, London] In a hoary old quote that pops up in Patrick Humphries’ The Many Lives of Tom Waits, Waits, that lovable whey-faced geezer in black with a pork-pie hat, quips, “Marcel Marceau gets more airplay than I do!” Things may have improved marginally in the meantime – Marceau dying in 2007 will have given Waits a chance to cut in – but Waits has proved tenacious when it comes to avoiding anything so vulgar as a whiffette of becoming a popular singing star.

27. 11. 2007 |

Peter Lavezzoli – The Dawn of Indian Music in the West – Bhairavi

[by Ken Hunt, London] There can be little doubt about the impact the Indian subcontinent’s music has had abroad. Indeed, the tale is too big for one book, even Peter Lavezzoli’s remarkable Dawn of Indian Music in the West – Bhairavi. He names the usual, vital suspects like Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, John Coltrane, John McLaughlin, Trilok Gurtu, Yehudi Mehuhin, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, George Harrison, Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussain.

21. 10. 2007 |

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