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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:47 pm
by NormanD
Let's not forget the wonderful American musician who called himself Moondog from the early 1950's (and got a good cash settlement out of radio DJ Alan Freed for stealing his name). He was blind, wore viking garb and hand-made sandals, played his percussion pieces on the streets of New York, wandered around like Robert Crumb's Mr Natural (possibly the model for).

And he made an album with Julie Andrews in the late 1950's. Honestly.

In his later years he gained a high level of artistic credibility for his formal compositions. He'll probably end up on the Proms before we know it, maybe deservedly, I can't judge. And did he fit the definition as eccentric or barking? You betcha! He was consistent in his looks, behaviour and outlook all through his life.


mo montreux, less madness

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:06 pm
by garth cartwright
to answer Howard first; i think Brian was always pretty fragile and extremely talented - he was having nervous breakdowns before he ever found drugs to push him into insanity - and when he sang God Only Knows and the french horn kicked in . . . really one of the loveliest moments of live music i have ever experienced. What a talent he had as an arranger and producer - to know to get a French horn for those few notes . . . that is genius! Dvid Toop has occasionally written well on Brians fragile brilliance in the 60s. And Adam, much as i love the ronnettes and shangr las i dont think either matched the BBs at their best.

Today intvd alice Cooper who i loved as akid and is very nice and normal which may explain why his live show is so pedestrian. And Karl Hyde from underworld who is a great bloke but i find his music pretty impenetratable. And some finnish bloke who leads a band called apocalyptica who play metallica tunes on cellos . . . the crazy world of pop music!

to answer the question on the LA Mexican music - maybe some enterprising UK label will read the feature and license some stuff cos its outrageously good. But as those artists sell six figures on their home turf they have no need to come and play to world music audiences here. So i imagine best u get on the internet and find a US exporter. When back in London I will e u a few titles.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:31 am
by Adam Blake
Hey Garth! I interviewed Alice Cooper once too! Back in my days as a Music Week freelancer. He was utterly charming - even if the album he was promoting was garbage (I think it was actually called "Trash"). He was Vincent Furnier, NOT Alice Cooper. At the end of the interview I asked him if Vincent Furnier might ever put out a record. He just smiled and said, "Who'd buy it?"...

Oh, and yes, I love those Beach Boys singles too. I was just teasing...

Jackson C Frank

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:13 am
by David Godwin
I look forward to reading Joe Boyd's autobiography, but I wonder whether Jackson C Frank will feature. An american, he lived for a while in London in the early sixties with, amongst others, Sandy Denny and Paul Simon. The latter produced his mid-sixties eponymous folk blues classic, which featured his great song "Blues Run the Game". He then disappeared, and, with mental health problems, became a penniless street vagrant in New York, dying a few years back.

Jackson C. Frank

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:31 am
by NormanD
I recall that he was involved in a horrendous fire in his childhood, which left him with bad physical injuries and worse mental scarring. The compensation money took him to the UK where he had a very influential presence on the club scene. There was an article about him in fRoots some years back when he was still alive (can you confirm this please, IanA, if you're reading this?).

Was he a musical genius / madman according to Howard's original suggestion? I think he was a great player / picker with not much more than one album in him, whose traumatic background gave him a really tortured life. It is a great album, though; it's been put out on CD a couple of times and I've even seen the vinyl LP reissued as a replica of the original Columbia label one that probably sold about 100 copies on its first release.


PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 12:46 pm
by Adam Blake
Poor old Jackson Frank, indeed. Poor old Sandy Denny for that matter. Now there was a tragedy if ever there was one.

On a (possibly) lighter note, does anyone know whatever happened to Wildman Fischer? I think he's still with us. Now he was BARKING mad, and only got recorded at all because of Frank Zappa's somewhat voyeuristic tendency to document all the freaks he came across (but we also have him to thank for "Trout Mask Replica" - Beefheart would never have got that material released under his own steam). The funny thing is, some of Fischer's tunes are astoundingly catchy!

A quick google reveals (or doesn't) ......

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:22 pm
by David Godwin
Where is Wild Man Fischer today?

As far as is known, Larry currently lives somewhere in the Hollywood area. He values his privacy, however, so further inquiries are discouraged

I'm not sure that Jackson is/was a great picker, but it seems to me that his entire life might be wrapped up in that one great song "Blues Run the Game".

Davy Graham

PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 8:35 am
by NormanD
Here's the very end of the long article in yesterday's Guardian on the influential UK folkblues guitarist Davy Graham:
"While Graham rages at the follies of youth to nobody in particular, I slip out of the room quietly, wondering where the division between genius and madness lies."

Full article archived here: ... 04,00.html

There's also a track by him on the free CD in the latest fRoots, along with a review article inside by Ian Anderson of a couple of re-issued CDs.

Once again, is Davy Graham an inspired genius / borderline lunatic, or someone who responded badly to life's artificial stimulants? Maybe both.

He was around the scene the same time as Jackson C. Frank (see above) and the writer of the guitar piece "Anji", the rites-of-passage song that all budding folkblues guitarists of the time just had to master.*

And to top it all, Davy Graham also ran a café in Forest Hill, my neighbourhood, in 1961 called "Café Mingus". Now that is most definitely genius and (economic) madness. I wish it were here today.....


* Note to Ian Anderson, in the hope you read this: Was "Anji" ever one of your party pieces?

.. Davy Graham

PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 2:53 pm
by David Godwin
As his work in the sixties was so strongly influenced from outside our shores, Davy would surely be an ideal ping pong guest, although the artcile in the Guardian dwells on his "unreliability". I wonder whether it might be possible to have a "themed" programe around DADGAD. I like this sound very much - the harp like quality is so haunting, and Davy had a huge input here, and may, indeed, have "invented" this tuning. There's an excellent DVD on Vestapol, called "From Ramble to Cashel" featuring exponents of DADGAD from both sides of the Atlantic. I know Charlie is not a folk fan, but is this not an exception? Surely Davy's input should be marked on the programme.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 3:13 pm
by NormanD
Agreed, David. I think that's 3 votes between us... The fRoots CD track could be a good sample.

There's your theme, Charlie. You could even call it Dadgad Café.

Should I add that DADGAD refers to a particular six-string guitar tuning, or open D. You don't play the standard chord shapes and it opens the instrument up to all kinds of inventiveness and melodic fun. But what do I know? There's some good players who follow this site.

Gotta go. Amadou & Mariam on Radio 3 right now....

Norman the risk...

PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 3:37 pm
by David Godwin
... Norman, of sounding not just an awful know-all, and a terrible pedant to boot, DADGAD is not the same as Open D. Open D is a different animal from DADGAD. The third string from the top is tuned to F sharp, rather than G. Someone will doubtlessly smack me down now, and this will be entirely deserved.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:55 pm
by Adam Blake
You're a bunch of geeks, anoraks, trainspotters and nerds. There!!

I've never understood this peculiar prejudice amongst British "Worldy" types against British folk music - and firmly believe it's because of a fear of looking uncool rather than any musical consideration. Sandy Denny singing "The Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood" to the tune of "My Lagan Love", accompanied only by Dave Swarbrick's fiddle is one of life's transcendent moments as far as I'm concerned. If you guys can't dig it, it's your loss.

But I know I'm preaching to the converted here! I'd be on tenterhooks if Davy Graham was booked for Charlie's show. Bet he wouldn't turn up! Better off with Bert Jansch. He could probably tell just as many great yarns (whether they would be broadcastable or not is a moot point) and probably has just as deep an understanding of musical sources.

Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big...., erm....

PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 2:23 pm
by Con Murphy
A whole programme based around a guitar tuning? Are you quite sure? At the risk of coming across as the anti-muso (a risk I'm more than happy to run, admittedly), it sounds a real turn-off. Mind you, I'm still at the point where I get confused at which oversized anatomical appendage donkeys and elephants are renowned for growing (does the scale go up to P?), so maybe I ought to open my mind a bit more.

Davy Graham seems an interesting character though, and I have to admit I'd never heard of him before this week. That track on the fRoots CD is really good, but I'm not as keen on the Big Bill Broonzy cover on the latest fRoots Radio show, which seems a bit tame compared to the Muddy Waters track that precedes it. However, I can only imagine how it might have helped open up a new genre to some people in the British folk scene in the sixties, so it was fascinating to hear.

In the light of Adam's comments I've never understood this peculiar prejudice amongst British "Worldy" types against British folk music - and firmly believe it's because of a fear of looking uncool rather than any musical consideration. (generalising about generalisation - watch out Adam, I got virtually slapped by Eliza Carthy elsewhere for doing that), are we due another "is English Folk World Music?" debate? Thought not.


PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 7:31 pm
by David Godwin
...surely there's a programme there - after all , Greil Marcus wrote a book about a single song. I think (sorry a better description is speculate) that DADGAD could be traced through Davy Graham onto Bert Jansch and thus onto Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin, and then (possibly) onto further generations of guitarists who have worked with Bert, such as Johnny Marr and Bernard Butler. Hence, this is not necessarily as "folk" thing. .

I think that the tuning issue is very interesting, and was fascinated by Bob Brozman's comment that what "we" call standerd tuning EADGBE, is an american and euro centric expression. Outside of this, he says, in the rest of the world, guitarists tend to see open tunings as standard.


PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 8:15 pm
by Con Murphy
David Godwin wrote:DADGAD could be traced through Davy Graham onto Bert Jansch and thus onto Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin, and then (possibly) onto further generations of guitarists who have worked with Bert, such as Johnny Marr and Bernard Butler.

Gentlemen, I rest my case..... :-)

Actually I like all of the above artists, and clearly the open tuning theory you posit David might even go some way to explaining why we like one thing but not another. And I know Greil Marcus wrote a book about one song, but Charlie didn't devote a whole programme to it. Having said that, if a programme were devoted to the tuning and nobody told me so, would I notice? I remain stubbornly and instinctively uneasy about the idea nonetheless.