Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Return Of Vashti Bunyan

The story of Vashti Bunyan must be one of the most romantic in the history of music.I had never heard of her until a few weeks ago when i stumbled across her name on Youtube when i was looking for something else.It was her name that first intrigued me,it was so unusual,it was like a mixture of Russian and English and i immediately thought of John Bunyan who wrote Pilgrims Progress.The song she was singing in the youtube clip was called 'I Want To Be Alone',it wasn't that can see it here if you want-

She was very beautiful though and reminded me of Marianne Faithful and the announcer said that she was discovered by the Rolling Stones,so why had i never heard of her?.My curiousity made me look up Vashti Bunyan on Wikipedia and i learned more about this enigmatic girl.It told me that Vashti was born in London in 1945. In the early 1960s, she studied Fine Art and Drawing at Ruskin College Oxford but was expelled because she couldn't decide between art and music. At 18, she travelled to New York and discovered the music of Bob Dylan and decided to become a full-time musician. Returning to London she was discovered by the Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, and, in June 1965, she released her first single, written by Mick and Keef 'Somethings Just Stick In Your Mind', it was backed with her own song 'I Want to Be Alone' which is the song i heard on youtube.

Her early records all flopped and then Vashti turned her back on the city and decided to travel with her boyfriend Robert in a gypsy caravan pulled by a horse called Bess and with a dog called Blue to the Isle Of Skye to join a commune planned by a friend, fellow folk singer Donavon.The epic journey was to take 2 years,stopping along the way to doing casual work and odd jobs to get some money and the occasional gig. During the trip she began writing the songs that eventually became her first album 'Just Another Diamond Day'.At this point i got really interested because her story reminded me of another singer who i have written about previously called Anne Briggs.Also i have always been interested in people who have a brief flirtation with fame and then disappear such as Karen Dalton,Jonathan Kelly and The Trees (see stories below).Reading on i discovered that in 1968 Vashti met the producer Joe Boyd who i have always admired through his work with Fairport Convention and others and in 1969 Vashti made her first album which featured Simon Nicol and Dave Swarbrick from Fairport and also Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band who i also really like.'The Hangmans Beautiful Daughter', by the ISB is a favourite of mine.The album came out in December 1970 and despite warm reviews it disappeared without trace and so did Vashti.She moved to the Outer Hebrides and then Ireland and spent the next 3 decades in total obscurity, raising her family and looking after animals.
30 long years went by and as the years turned into decades word about her album slowly aquired mythic proportions amongst serious music collectors and gradually the few copies in existance became some of the most sought after items in music.Vashti was totally oblivious to the fact that her work was aquiring a cult following.One copy apparently sold on Ebay for $2,000.Her music reached the ears of a new wave of folk singers such as Devendra Banhart and Joanne Newsom and in 2000 her album was re-released and this time it was noticed by the public and it was acclaimed as a work of genius.Suddenly Vashti had become the god mother of a new genre known as Freak Folk

I had read enough now!.I knew i wouldn't be satisfied until i owned this album..A quick look on ebay and 3 days later the cd plopped onto the carpet through my letterbox.As soon as the opening eponymous song began i knew that i was in the prescence of something rare and precious .As Richard Thompson might say this record is a fine as a beeswing.Vashti's voice is so delicate you feel you could almost blow it away.There is no percussion on this record just tasteful guitar accompanies some tracks and there is some flute,whistle,piano,harp,banjo,mandolin and strings but any more instruments would be intrusive as this album is so intimate you can almost hear Vashti breathing inbetween the lines of the songs.The lyrics have a childlike simplicity and are like nature poems.I think John Clare or William Blake would enjoy this album.I can understand some people wouldn't like the album.If you like rap or heavy metal i dare say you would hate it but if like me you like folky records like Fairport, Nick Drake,String Band,Donavon etc then i think you will love it.The song i am listening to at this very moment 'Come Wind Come Rain' Clippity clops along just like the gypsy caravan,you almost feel like you are on it.

Unlike Annie Briggs who i mentioned earlier who has shown no interest in recording or performing again Vashti seems to welcome her new fame and finally got to record the album that was planned as the follow-up to Diamond Day.It is called 'Lookaftering' and after a 35 year gap since her first album this one was also hailed as a classic.I haven't heard it yet though but i will.Also in 2008 a documentary film was made which retraced Vashti's journey from London to the North of Scotland.It was called 'From Here To Before' and i'll have to watch that if i get the chance.So there you go,that is my story of the return of Vashti Bunyan. Wouldn't it be great if she was on at Glastonbury next year.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Otway And Barrett In Frome,Review

What a great year of music it has been.I have seen Van Morrison,Neil Young,Crosby Stills and Nash,Bruce Springsteen and now the gig to top them all,the legendary John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett at the Cheese And Grain in Frome.
We got to the pub just before 7.00 and Sash was already waiting as well as Mark,Angela,Chris, Chrissie,Big Mark and Curly.We met Phil later.I haven't seen such a gang of jolly boys and girls setting off for a gig in another town since i saw Hawkwind in Kings Lynn in 1974.Then Fred turned up,it was great to see Fred again because i have known Fred since we ran together on the mean streets of Peterborough back in the day.Sash,Kim and i piled into Freds car and he gunned that sucker down the highway towards Frome.We crossed the county line into the badlands of Somerset and arrived at the Cheese and Grain.This is an ancient market hall that was used in the the olden days for selling cheese and er grain.There was nobody there!

I tapped on the door and this man told me that they opened at 8.00.We were first in the queue.As soon as it opened we bagged our seats in the front row and headed to the bar.They had some real ale called 'The Usual'.I had a pint of 'The Usual' and who should i see at the bar but Otway himself.I introduced myself in my usual drunken manner and had a bit of a chat and then introduced him to Kim and we told him about the last time we spoke which was in the Argyll Pub in London before his 50th birthday party at the London Palladium and he said that night was one of his favourite moments of his career and showed us a film of it on his mobile phone.What a nice bloke he is.I got him to sign the back of my ticket and shortly after i met Willy Barrett and he signed Kims ticket,Willy Barrett is a really friendly person as well.
We went for a ciggy outside and when we returned the support band 'Sun Machine' we on stage,we listened to a few numbers,they were good for a local band.The girl singer was very good.We went back to the bar and ended up outside again chatting to some people, then it was show time!

Willy Barrett had enough instruments on stage to open a music shop.The first song they did was LOUISA ON A HORSE from their brilliant first album which i bought 32 years ago and still have.Willy excelled himself on violin on this one.I love this song with its references to Otways home area around Aylesbury.Then Otway sang the poignant GYPSY which is about how Otway in his youth saw a fortune teller who predicted his rise to fame,so she is the one to blame.Then they did their hit REALLY FREE in which Barrett played a musical wheely bin,i haven't seen Kim laugh so much in years.It was quite brilliant.BEST DREAM followed which is a great song and shows how Otway really is a great songwriter.One of my favourites followed, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS which has supurb lyrics about the days of punk and a girl who was the last in her town to have a mohican hairstyle.Another great song followed IF I DID from their eponymous first album.This was followed by their version of Alfred Noyes epic poem THE HIGHWAYMAN which was quite supurb.MURDER MAN was the next song which Otway said was originally called Lonely Man but he changed the title and ensured it got no radio play.

I went for another pint of 'The Usual' at this point and heard Otway doing BODY TALK with the aid of the theramin and also the Rolf Harris classic TWO LITTLE BOYS.'The Usual' was taking it's toll by now and i'm not sure what the next song was called, it might have been 21 DAYS,it was good anyway.The classic CHERYL'S GOING HOME was next which brought back memories of their ill-fated appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test( See Video).The evening came to an end with BLUEY GREEN,the fantastic BEWARE OF THE FLOWERS and JET SPOTTER OF THE TRACK.This was supurb and i told Willy afterwards that they should have dedicated it to Jenson Button who comes from Frome and might be world motor racing champion today.Anyway never mind.Wait, there was one final song GENEVA an Otway classic which ended with Barrett sawing up his guitar and smashing it with a claw hammer and then playing the bagpipes.
We drove back through the Somerset night, back to The Crown for a last one and then knocked it on the head and went home.What a great evening it had been.If you read this Otway and Barrett, thank you very much.


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Thursday, July 09, 2009

My Glastonbury 2009 Report,Part 8

I must pay special tribute to Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis who as a child used to camp out in the woods at Worthy Farm and wish he had some friends to share it with and ended up inviting 200,000 people to the farm.Every year he gives millions to Greenpeace, Water Aid and Oxfam and other charities.That is part of what makes Glastonbury the best festival in the world.Thanks Michael.

Monday morning arrived at Glastonbury to the sound of rain on my tent.It chucked it down but it only lasted about 20 minutes and then it was really nice sunny weather for the rest of the day.Our little band of brothers and sisters known as 'the rejects' had one more shift to do and as if by magic they had finally found us a team leader.He was called Andy and was a really nice bloke and he took us off to do the job that we had signed up for.It was great and put us in a really good mood.The stall holders were really friendly and one of them brought us out 9 cups of coffee and 9 bacon rolls.He was Welsh and the kindness of strangers is always welcome.Monday morning is the best time to go shopping at Glastonbury because you can haggle and get some really good bargains.I knew i had to get Kim a present and we got to a clothes stall and they were throwing away stuff they couldn't be bothered to take home.It was really good quality and i got Kim a really nice jacket, dress and skirt which saved me a lot of money.(I didn't tell her i got them free,so if you see her,mums the word!)

The shift past really quickly and was good fun apart from one dodgy moment.We were walking along and i wasn't paying attention and we met the Pyramid Stage Crew coming the other way and i looked up and suddenly i was lost in a crowd of 150 litter pickers all wearing the same T Shirt.Luckily Andy sent someone to find me and all was well.We finished early and helped another team and finally at 12.00 we all chucked our gloves in a black rubbish bag and we were finished.It was sad to see the end of our team that stuck together despite everything.

Bleary eyed revellers were leaving the site by the thousands every hour.Apparently there were 5 hour delays in the car parks to get out.I was in no hurry to go though and went to visit my friends who were all taking their tents down.I said i'd call back later and went back to camp and had a shower and a shave and put on my cleanest dirty clothes so i didn''t go home looking like a complete bag of s.....Then i used up the last of my meal tickets and went back and said cheerio to all my mates who were leaving.

Finally about 4.00 i started taking down my little home of 4 days and packed my rucksack and headed back across the site to the Bus Station.The elderly bus was waiting and as it creaked it's way onto the main road i took one last lingering look back at Worthy Farm.The magical kingdom was already fading once more into the mists of Avalon.Soon the Pyramid Stage and the fence would come down The clean up operation would go on for weeks and then field by field Daisy, Buttercup,Ermintrude and all the other cows would return and start munching contentedly on the lush pasture and peace would return to Worthy Farm until next year.when everyone would meet once again down by Avalon in the long grass in the summertime in England and the healing has begun!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

My Glastonbury Report, Part 7

Thanks very much to Katherine for the terrific photo's.They are brilliant Katherine.If you click on any pic it makes it even bigger.

It was Sunday morning at Glastonbury 09 and i woke up at 5.00 all bleary eyed and goopy.I had only about 90 minutes sleep,I really did not fancy work at all,i didn't have a hangover though ,just completely exhausted but still buzzing from the events of the night before.'The Rejects' were seconded to the team cleaning up the front of the market area's starting at the cider bus which was one of the filthiest area's of the site.I have got true grit though and got stuck in.A woman was in charge who tried to jolly everyone along."OK guys, we have a lot to do today and i am losing my voice,i've only had an hours sleep", "Your not the only one", i thought to myself.I made myself busy though, even pushing the wheelbarrow carrying the rubbish bags.It was especially bad around the litter bins which had overflowed and there was all sorts of crap to be picked up.Never mind, somebody has to clean up the mess and i don't mind doing it.Because we were so busy the time went really quickly.I met two really nice Australian girls who were back packers and somehow ended up at Glastonbury.We even got into one of the hospitality area's for drinks.When the shift ended i walked past the Pyramid and STATUS QUO were on stage.They were on at the first festival i ever attended at Lincoln In 1972.I didn't like them then and i don't like them now.Walking up the lane who should i meet but Dominic my nephew."Do you fancy a pint?",i asked and we headed for the bucolic surroundings of the beer tent at the Acoustic and met up with Margaret, Wayne, Katherine,Laurence, Bernadette and Mary.What a great little gathering it was,sitting on the grass in the sunshine and chatting about the events of the night before.In the background was the music of LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE,MARTIN HARLEY and KATIE WALSH.We weren't really listening though, having more fun chatting and telling jokes.

All things must pass and eventually i thought i better get back to base and have some grub and clean up a bit.I had been friendly with Danny,my neighbour in the next tent since Thursday when i lent him my hammer to bang his tent pegs in with and i got Danny to take my photo outside my tent and i took one of him.Then we had a stroll down and watched a bit of TOM JONES who was going down really well with the audience who were in the mood for a sing song to Delilah and all his other hits.Tom isn't my cup of tea at all but i quite enjoyed his version of You're Unbelievable,a hit for EMF i think.

Danny wanted to see MADNESS but i wasn't bothered about that so i just went for a walk and sat in various beer tents.I did catch the opening 20 minutes of NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS.They sounded really great and dedicated their set to Farrah Fawcett so no mention of Michael Jackson there then. I wanted to see ROGER McGUINN and met up with Margaret and Wayne again.I always imagined Roger as a real big headed arrogant git,i don't know where i got that idea from because he came across as a really nice guy.He started with You Ain't Going Nowhere and Pretty Boy Floyd from one of my favourite albums 'Sweetheart Of The Rodeo' when the Byrds and Gram Parsons invented the genre of Country Rock.In between the songs Roger told lots of interesting anecdotes about how the songs came about.He did Tambourine Man, All I Really Wanna Do,Eight Miles High, Chestnut Mare, Bells Of Rhymney,Ballad Of Easy Rider,Wasn't Born To Follow,Turn, Turn ,Turn and lots of other songs from the soundtrack of my life.I know he is really just a folk club act now but i really enjoyed the peace and quiet of the smaller stage away from BLUR and THE PRODIGY and all that carry on.

GEORGIE FAME was the last act on the Acoustic Stage and i can't remember what his first song was.He had his two sons on stage with him to start with.Tristram was on guitar, i can't remember the name of the son on drums.Anyway,the second song was Help Me, and Georgie sang'If you don't help me i'll get Van Morrison out here to help me, cos i can't do it all by myself'.I suddenly got really interested,"He's going to bring on Van the man",i said to Wayne."No he's not",Wayne replied."What odds do you give me?", i asked. "50/1".Wayne replied.One by one other band members came on stage.Alec Dankworth on bass, Guy Barker on trumpet,Alan Skidmore and a brilliant vibraphone player whose name i can't remember.There were at least 4 former members of Vans band on stage,but sadly i realised there wasn't going to be Van.Like Roger earlier Georgie told some interesting stories such as when in the 60's he was invited by Chas Chandler of the Animals to go along to Ken Colyers Jazz club to see a young guitarist who had just come over from America.Georgie took along his drummer.Half an hour later Georgie's drummer Mitch Mitchell had joined the Jimi Hendrix Experience.Tristram then did a brilliant version of Jimi's Red House.Georgie then said he was going to do a song by his former boss and still very good friend Van Morrison.The band then did a supurb 15 minute version of Moondance that veered into Blue Moon and a Paul Robeson song and finally returned to Moondance.It was a helluva lot better than many of the Van live performances of this song i have heard.Still, i was really pleased that the very last song i heard on stage at Glasto 09 was written by the singer i rate above all others.

Afterwards i tried to blag my way backstage with my All Areas wristband and my Site Crew laminate but the security wouldn't have it.It was worth a try though.Then i went back to my friends campsite.It was a bit subdued because we knew the festival was coming to an end but we had a bit of a sing song.Katherine sang a Fleet Foxes song and Bernadette sang a brilliant version of Delirium Tremens by Christy Moore which we all applauded.At 1.30 i decided to knock it on the head and went back to my tent.There was just one day to go...........

The final episode tomorrow.................................................

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

My Glastonbury Report, Part 6

Laurence led our way towards the front to see Bruce.The first obstacle to overcome was the sea of fold up chairs.This is another of the things that bug me as well as the flags.People are so soft these days.In the old days people didn't need chairs to sit on at festivals.They were happy sitting on the ground.I don't mind the chairs on the campsites but in front of the stage is out of order.It is a scathing indictment of modern day society.They sit there on their fat lardy arses, staring at video screens,stuffing their faces,and claim they have been at a festival.At my first festivals i didn't even take a tent,i used to just curl up around a campfire.
Anyway, i digress, we eventually arrived at a good spot to the right of the stage where the ground dipped away in front of us so we got a great view of the stage.We chatted away to pass the time.Sean was really pleased because his team South Africa had beaten the British And Irish Lions in the Rugby match which they had shone live on the Queens Head Stage.Sacha had a flask of Jack Daniels mixed with some fruit juice that was really lush,i think i had more than my fair share.We guessed what we thought Bruce's opening number would be.I said it would be Hungry Heart or Dancing In The Dark. Bruce eventually came on stage and i think Clarence Clemens was the only other.He sang a song called Coma Girl which just shows how thoughtful Bruce is because this song was recorded by Joe Strummer And The Mescalero's.Joe is a Glastonbury legend and there is a memorial to him up near the stone circle.The lyrics seemed really apt to festivals

I was crawling through a festival way out west,
i was thinking about love and the acid test
but first i got real dizzy with a real rockin' gang,
then i saw the coma girl, and the excitement gang
and the rain came in from the
wide blue yonder through all the stages, i wandered
oh coma girl,
The coma girl was beating with the oil drum gang
some fast food fanatic was burning down a burger van
Nobody was rippin the teen scene dead.

Or something like that,it was great anyway.The next two songs were Badlands and Prove It All Night which i think were from Darkness On The Edge Of Town.You will have to forgive me for any mistakes because i am not a Bruce expert.In fact i have only ever bought one Bruce album which was Born To Run.Lots of people have raved about his live shows though which i think is his forte more than the albums and i was beginning to see why.Apart from Clarence i didn't know who else was in the band except Nils Loftgren who i recognised and i used to have an album by him as well,Cry Tough.I listened to a few more numbers including The Ghost Of Tom Joad but i couldn't concentrate,i was desperate to go for a wee.When i couldn't bear it any more i took my bearings off a nearby flag and told the others i would be straight back.I could see where i needed to get to but it was hell getting through the jam packed crowd.The relief when i finally got to the urinals was something else.I decided not to even contemplate rejoining my comrades,it was just too much hassle so i headed to the Mandela Bar to get a pint.It was 20 people deep at the bar.I was tired and irritable now."I can't be doing with all this hassle",i thought to myself.Then i had a bright idea.

I decided to go to the Acoustic Stage and chill out.A quick bit of power walking and i was there in about 5 minutes.It was almost deserted except for about 200 people digging the Kilfenora Ceila Band. "Brilliant",i thought, "This is the life", and got myself a pint with no trouble,it went down without even touching the sides and i ordered another.The Kilfinora are from Clare and have been going about 100 years.I saw them here 5 years ago and they are supurb,all 11 of them and the small audience were having a great time dancing to them.I had a little jig myself but i kept spilling my pint so i sat down.When i went just outside the tent to have a smoke the strange thing was that you could hear Bruce as well from about 300 yards away.Wouldn't it be funny if the Ceili band had recorded a live album at Glastonbury with Bruce in the background.After about 20 minutes i thought "This is crazy, i am missing the greatest show on Earth sitting here", and headed back.This time i watched from a more sensible position and saw Bruce do,The Promised Land, The River, which was supurb,Radio Nowhere, The Rising,Born To Run, Hard Times Don't Come Around Here No More, which i love, Thunder Road, Land Of Hope And Dreams,American Land, Glory Days and Dancing In The Dark which i had a dance to as well.It was really great.

I can't remember a lot about what happened after Bruce except i think i left my friends at about 2.30.I bought some coffee on the way home and saw some people sitting around a fire and thought i'd join them.When i sat down though they cleared off which is the effect i have.I sat there on my own staring into the flames and i realised it was only one week to the night since i saw Van Morrison in Bristol.It seemed like a faraway childhood memory.I reflected on the events of the last few days and something Margaret said earlier quoting Dickens Great Expectations "Such larks Pip,such larks".

And there was to be more larks tomorrow !

To be continued...............................

Monday, July 06, 2009

My Glastonbury Report, Part 5.

Thanks a lot to Bev for sending me the picture of our recycling gang 'The Rejects'.I look terrible.Nevermind!

Saturday morning at Glastonbury i was awake at 6.00 and i knew today was going to be a hot one as there wasn't a cloud in the sky.I hadn't brought a hat with me so after breakfast i got myself a straw hat in the market area for £10.00 which i begrudged because i knew i'd never wear it again after Glasto.The morning past quickly and at 11.30 our team met up at the office to find out what had become of our leader.Bev had christened our group 'The Rejects' because nobody seemed to want us.We were assured that we were doing the rear markets area which was a relief and told to report back at 1.00 and we only had to work till 6.00 which i was pleased about because i wanted to see Crosby Stills and Nash at 6.00.While waiting for 1.00 to come around i managed to catch a bit of TINARIWEN who are a band of Mali tribesmen who sounded really good and must have felt at home here in the blazing sun and the Tuareg campfires.Finally at 1.30 they found someone to take us to the market areas.I think the other team members were really pleased when they realised what a good job this was because most of the stall holders were really good at keeping the back areas tidy and we just had to pick up a bit of garbage and tidy up he cardboard bins etc.Passing the Other Stage we heard some of THE SCRIPT's set.I had never heard of them,i think they are an Irish band but they didn't sound that great to me

A little later we leaned on one of the market gates and watched some of PETE DOHERTY's set.I think he was drunk as usual but who am i to criticise for that?.Walking along the roadway near the Pyramid Stage we we passed by this huge black bus and i am pretty certain on the front seats i spotted Graham Nash and Dave Crosby looking out of the window at the sights of the festival,they were smiling and looking really well.I found out later that Bruce Springsteen had already arrived and was soaking up the atmosphere.Bruce turned up at the John Peel stage and joined fellow New Jersey band GASLIGHT ANTHEM on stage and stayed to watch PASSION PIT.I couldn't wait to finish work that day!. At the end of the shift we we told to report for work at 6.00 the next morning.

As soon as i could i dashed to the Pyramid where CROSBY STILLS and NASH were already 4 songs into their set.It was still really hot and i stood by the mixing desk area because it's shadow gave some relief from the sun.The first song i heard was Rock And Roll Woman and it was great to see them on stage.I was especially pleased to see Dave Crosby because it is a miracle he is still alive after his liver transplant etc and Steve Stills looked well also,he looked a lot better than in photos i had seen and he is still a great guitarist.The next song was dedicated to Jerry Garcia,Uncle John's Band which was great.Then one of my favourite CSN songs Helplessly Hoping followed by a beautiful version of Guinnivere, 'had green eyes, like yours, milady like yours',i sang along as this music was just perfect for the sunny weather,terrific harmonies.Then a real surprise for me when they sang The Stones Ruby Tuesday which took me right back to the Melanie concert i had seen only 4 weeks before but seemed like a million years ago.Then Dave Crosby said "Steve Stills writes great Rock n Roll,Nash writes the anthems and i do the wierd shit".A great version of Deja Vu followed from their great album which they made with Neil Young and i thought what a shame it was that they were at the same festival as Neil but on different days.The heavy political message of Chicago followed and seemed as relevant now as when they wrote it all those years ago.A great Dave Crosby song,Almost Cut My Hair was next and made me decide to grow my hair again and let my freak flag fly,oh yes! Steve Stills classic Buffalo Springfield song,For What It's Worth followed and was quite brilliant.They left the stage and i could see Michael Eavis at the side of the stage giving them warm applause.Then they returned for Wooden Ships which Crosby wrote with the Jefferson Airplane and it took me right back to their historic appearance at Woodstock in 1969 and i wondered if this appearance was their biggest festival appearance since.They finished with Teach Your Children and i had a bit of a dance around on my own to this one.They really milked the applause but they deserved it.In some ways i enjoyed this performance even more than Neil Young, probably because i was sober as a judge and could recall it all.Neils performance seemed like a blurred dream because i was so tired and drunk and it was only by quizzing people that i could remember all the songs afterwards.

Back at the campsite i told Laurence that i thought CSN was one of the all time great appearances.After that i just chilled out for a while and then Katherine,Laurence,Sacha,Sean and i made our way towards the front of the stage.The stage was set,It was time for the man they call THE BOSS!!.

To Be Continued.....................

Sunday, July 05, 2009

My Glastonbury Report, Part 4

Margaret just sent me the photos of our gang.Thanks Margaret,keep the pics coming folks.I would rather have our pictures than google image pics.I'm the one in the red stripy thing by the way.

As i walked back down the lane in the evening sunshine i could hear THE SPECIALS on the Pyramid Stage who were going down a storm especially when they slagged off the BNP.I had nearly an hour to kill before Neil Young so i had a choice between THE DOVES on the John Peel Stage or FAIRPORT CONVENTION on the Acoustic.I opted for Fairport because it was nearer and also because they used to be one of my favourite bands.I arranged to meet Margaret by Info at the the front of the pyramid at 9.45 and dashed off to the Acoustic.FAIRPORT CONVENTION are one of the most important groups in British music history,they invented the folk rock genre and had such people as Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson in their golden era of the early 70's.They first played Glastonbury in 1971 when they were in their hey day.I think they still have two members from that era.I think i recognised Simon Nicol and Ashley Hutchings but i might be wrong.Like me they are a lot older now and i hadn't seen them for 30 years.I stayed for about 5 numbers including Walk Awhile from the Full House album which you can see in the video.The man who put the video on youtube has done some great video's at Glastonbury including Leonard Cohen last year so check him out.It was great to see Fairport after all these years but i wished they had a girl singer to do justice to the great songs of Sandy Denny.

I got to Info a bit early and got chatting to this youngster who was getting excited about NEIL YOUNG, "Neil is gonna blow this f***ing place apart",he exclamed.Thats one of the many things i like about Neil,of all the survivors of the 60's he is the one who continues to draw new fans.I suppose it is because of his influence on Kurt Cobain and Pearl Jam and being'The godfather of grunge'.I have been a fan ever since i first heard After The Gold Rush in 1971 and although i have lost track of his work in the last 10 years or so i still rate him up there with Bob Dylan and Van the Man as all time greats.Anyway, along came Margaret and we got right up close to the barrier.On came Neil and began with Hey Hey My My.It was brilliant and a real thrill for me to see Neil on stage because this was the first time i had seen him in nearly 40 years of being a fan.Mansion On The Hill followed and then Are You Ready For The Country? which was really appropriate on this beautiful summers evening. The sun was setting over Avalon as we stood in the west.Spirit Road followed and then the epic Words,Down Through The Line Of Age which was awesome.It lasted about 10 minutes,boy does Neil love that electric guitar.I'm not sure but i think he did Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere about now.

We decide to move back a bit and join the others near the mixing desk because at our angle we couldn't see the band so we headed through the vast crowd.As we were pushing our way through somebody said"Hello",it was Sharon from Trowbridge who i hadn't seen for donkeys years.I stopped to say hello and in a split second i had lost Margaret,i shouted but although she was only 3 yards away she couldn't hear me and disappeared through the crowd.When i reached where i thought the others were i couldn't find them.Lots of people bring flags so their friends can find them but those flags get on my nerves.During another epic performance the following night i could hardly see the stage for the bloody flags.I think they should be banned.

I was left to enjoy Neils epic performance on my own.Cinnamon Girl followed and then Mother Earth and a supurb acoustic The Needle And The Damage Done which Neil wrote for his friend Danny Whitton.It was like a tent peg through the heart.I was deeply moved.Comes A Time followed and then Unknown Legend, one of my favourite songs from Harvest Moon,"She rides a Harley Davidson",i sang along.Neils only UK hit single Heart Of Gold followed and the crowd sang along.Down By The River was the third song from the Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere album.Get Behind The Wheel was followe by the awesome Rockin' In The Free world.I thought this must be the end because he was due to finish at 12.15 and i wanted to get a drink before 100,000 people had the same idea.I stupidly missed A Day In The Life which back at the campfire they told me was supurb.It was a great song to end with because with the Michael Jackson news 'I read the news today, oh boy',it took on new meaning.I have seen some great performances at Glastonbury over the years and i knew this Neil Young show was right up there with the best of them.

It was 2.30 when i made my weary way back to my lonely little tent.I had been up for 22 hours,i was mashed.The next day i was to witness two more performances by North American acts that would rival even Neil for sheer brilliance.
To Be Continued.............................................