Archive for bob dylan

Brown Bread: Bert Jansch

Posted in Music, Obituaries with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Bert Jansch, a leading figure in the British folk revival of the 60s and one of the most respected musicians of his generation, has died of cancer aged 67.

A founding member of Pentangle, Jansch was also renowned as a guitar virtuoso and was sometimes hailed as a British Bob Dylan. Born in Glasgow on 3 November 1943, he released 23 solo albums, the last of which, The Black Swan (2006), featured collaborations with Beth Orton and Devendra Banhart.

Jansch was the recipient of two lifetime achievement prizes at the BBC Folk awards – one for his solo achievements in 2001 and the other, in 2007, as a member of Pentangle. The band reformed in 2008.

In June 2009, he discovered he had a golf ball-size tumour on one of his lungs following what was at first a routine visit to the dentist. Following treatment, he went on to co-headline a US tour with Neil Young. Jansch had recently been forced to cancel a live show in Edinburgh due to ill health and was living in a hospice in north London at the time of his death.

Those he influenced included Jimmy Page, Nick Drake, Graham Coxon, Donovan, Bernard Butler and Paul Simon. According to fellow guitarist Johnny Marr: “He completely reinvented guitar playing and set a standard that is still unequalled today … without Bert Jansch, rock music as it developed in the 60s and 70s would have been very different.”

Jansch told the Grauniad newspaper last year: “I’m not one for showing off. But I guess my guitar-playing sticks out.”

R.I.P. Bert Jansch 1943-2011

Search terms for 7 days ending 2011-04-07

Posted in Blog Stats, Culture, Food, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Not done this for a while. Just to show what an excellent blog this is, here are the results of a quick look through my blog stats:

anna netrebko
tracey emin
jean simmons
pasta alla genovese
spencer tunick
tracey emin naked
ingrid pitt topless
bob dylan fender
haggis what is it
beverley callard curly hair
lancashire cheese
manchester in the snow
cultured duck eggs
beverley callard leather
snail soup
why go to an opera

what did the music of alban berg add to the development of western music in the 20th century (good luck with that one … not really a search term)

cigarette vintage woman
afghanistan’s only pig

why was it traditional to eat porridge standing up (again, more of a question than a search term, yielding results for every website that contains any of those words)

First Class Second Class Composers

Posted in BBC Radio 3, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

I remember fondly the BBC producing a series under this heading many years ago which highlighted works of great merit by lesser-known composers. Their craftsmanship, ideas and structure were in no way inferior to the works of the big names, but they simply didn’t make it to the forefront, possibly because they didn’t have the volume of output, or that they weren’t the big hitters like Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, et al.

This is especially noticeable in the field of chamber music, where works by Spohr, Berwald, Hummel and many others stand comparison with any of the big names.

My post title is of course a quote from Richard Strauss, who saw himself thus. On another occasion he said “I know more about music than Sibelius, but he is the better composer”. I think that is a profoundly truthful remark.

Other composers in this category I would list as Ravel, E. J. Moeran, Dutilleux, Massenet and Gounod.

If my memory serves me right, F.C.S.C.C. had its heyday before the advent of round-the-clock Radio 3 and after the primitive days of the Third Programme, which started at 6.00 p.m. then shut down four hours later.

Top 10 great singers who can’t sing

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2009 by Robin Gosnall

They are celebrated as great vocalists, but can the likes of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits really sing? Neil McCormick writes in the Daily Telegraph:

Bob Dylan: “A voice like sand and glue” in Bowie’s memorable phrase. Contrary to what many of his critics would assert, Dylan actually sings in tune but his harsh, barbed-wire timbre & attacking delivery has been inspiration for every tone deaf poet with a guitar. But with songs like these, who cares whether he can really sing or not?

Lou Reed: His half talking, half singing drawl with the Velvet Underground created a new rock template.

Tom Waits: Started out gruff and soulful but deliberately ravaged his vocal chords with whiskey and cigarettes to sound older and more lived in. In the history of vocals, I am not sure anyone has ever done more with less.

Johnny Cash: Even as a youngster, his voice was shaky and low, but he sang in time and in tune and like he had lived every word.

John Lydon (Johnny Rotten): His ranting style, high and tuneless, led the attack of the Sex Pistols then took us on dub metal journeys with Public Image Limited.

Ian Dury: Unrepentantly cockney speak-singing, frequently completely flat but utterly alive in the playful lyrics.

Leonard Cohen: A low, shaky monotone that has, somehow, grown in authority even as it reduces in range.

Nick Cave: A stiff baritone beset by tuning problems, Cave invests his apocalyptic blues with spine chilling conviction.

Siouxsie Sioux: A lone female entrant on our chart of errant singing stars, Siouxsie’s limited range and gravelly tone only added to her lustre as la grande dame of punk and goth.

Jarvis Cocker: OK when he keeps it to a whisper but as soon as he sings out he turns into some tuneless geek in a karaoke bar, which perfectly suits his vignettes of ordinary life.

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Music, Time and Place

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2009 by Robin Gosnall


Now, here’s a question.

Has anyone got a piece of music that they strongly associate with a time in their life or a place, with happiness or sadness or some sort of significance? Also, has anyone got a piece of not particularly good music, or music that they otherwise wouldn’t have been drawn to but that has such significance in relation to a time or place that that consideration overrides all others?

Many passages in Shostakovich’s symphonies remind me of the back streets of Manchester.

In the days when I used to fall profoundly in love with particular people I tended (not by choice) to associate a passage of music with them, as Swann does with Vinteuil’s “little phrase”. The opening of Sibelius’s Symphony No. 6 and the lyrical theme for violin in Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1, for example (the women in question were both violists).

Bob Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind is the piece I associate with my first really serious girlfriend (1978).

I never really liked Sibelius much till I visited Finland briefly after university, and bought a Sibelius tape in Helsinki to listen to on my Walkman. After visiting the lakes around the countryside, I decided to go on to see Ainola, Sibelius’s home. As I wandered in through the woods and saw the house while listening to his Symphony No. 5, his music suddenly made sense to me, and I realized that he is inseparable from the Finnish landscape. Whenever I hear Sibelius, visions of the Finnish countryside come into my mind, and I remember those halcyon days of my innocent youth.

Really, there are far too many pieces to list that remind me of times past, and people. I find it impossible to hear Elgar’s Violin Concerto without remembering a dear girlfriend who came into my life at the same time. I got to know both simultaneously. Now 26 years ago, but it never fails.

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