Look into my eyes my sweetheart, justice must be done

If you’ve spent any time reading this Blog over the last couple of years, you’ll have probably formed an idea that I mainly write it in order to garner as many free tickets and CDs as I possibly can. If you have indeed got this message, I congratulate you on your keen-eyed cynicism. It’s all true.

One of the reasons why I’m not currently using old CDs to light my cigars, however, is that I’m not all that good at the whole business. A case in point.

Last Harbour

I first wrote about Manchester’s country Goths, Last Harbour, here, and get occasional emails from them about new releases. In fact I got one last month but in the general half-assed way that I’m afraid has grown to characterize this Blog, I forgot about it, and thereby missed a chance to promote their new EP. Who knows what goodies a prompt plug might have harvested?

Anyway, turns out “My Knowen Foe” is actually pretty good (if by now a little past its original sell-by):

A trip to their site will also yield a few mp3s which are worth hearing, especially this one:

Science Song

Again apologies to all … Whadya gonna do?

Let’s Incorporate!

I know of at least one punter who’ll smile…

God bless you, FolkHero01!

(The Wiyos in Vermont…)

Can’t look back, as a matter of fact, all I wanna do is make it through the door

Well. Who’d’ve thought it?

Already almost a fortnight since Brighton…

Sound Sanctuary

We used to spend a lot of time in Brighton during the eighties, hanging out and spending money we didn’t really have. It was a great place, and I always liked it more than London. So twenty years later, and wanting to celebrate a bit of a milestone, it seemed about time to go back. It was a lot of fun and we were gratified to see a number of former haunts such as Food For Friends, Wax Factor, Grubbs and the Duke of Yorks all still there.

We also found our way to the rather cool Joogleberry Playhouse to see Sound Sanctuary

According to their Myspace page, Sound Sanctuary are from Sevenoaks, and are usually a four piece. (I’ll not bother going through all the details – you can read the Biog here.) The night we saw them playing, though, they were missing their special effects man, so the set was a completely acoustic one. I’d heard some of the samples from their webpage and I was a little disappointed about this, not least because my concentration levels are not always good. (I like gadgets, basically). It was a good gig though.

On the Myspace page there is a free download, “Polarity”, but to be honest it’s not one of my favourite songs and I see from their site that it’s quite an old one – they didn’t play it in Brighton. But, you can get it here.

On the night, however, they were pretty damn good (even a man down) playing strong, well crafted songs which zinged along quickly enough to keep this punter occupied. Managed to make a few recordings which I think are quite successful in catching their simple guitar, bass, and really busy drum sound, but also how lively and engaging the performance was.

Lonely Fishes

Collapsed Lung


(It is that Regulate. I know. I’m not so keen on sensitive types “doing” hip hop, but actually it kinda works…)

Oh, go on then …

Just one more.

Les Ongles Noirs

This is Les Ongles Noirs, another team of Breton ragamuffins playing the streets of Paimpol while we were en vacances.

I narrowly missed videoing their previous song which involved a man attacking some small children in the front with his bass saxophone, but this one’s still pretty wild. If you’ve been following this thread of posts, it’ll scarcely need mentioning that I’ve no idea what the song is called or what it’s about. (I should also apologise for the woman who keeps edging her way into shot from the left…)

(Street flavour).

J’ai pas deux coeurs…

I’ve got a few things to post in the next few days, and to be honest, there’s a bit of queue forming…

I have more street recordings from Brittany to upload, and although I fear your attention may be beginning to wonder, I reckon that these ones are probably the best of the lot. In fact this particular set are just great.

These ones are again taken from our trip to Paimpol, and were again recorded literally round the corner from the last lot. It was an embarrassment of riches, I’ll tell you.


We’d actually seen this lot wheeling a real collection of idiosyncratic instruments and… well… boxes through the cobbles of the town, and thought they looked fun. We were fortunate enough to catch them later, and they didn’t disappoint…

I’ve watched this so many times now I’ve lost all sense of perspective on it, but I hope it does convey the effortless sense of fun and cool that surrounded their performance.

Fatras are from Rennes and get their name from the French word for a jumble or hotchpotch. Hopefully, you’ve watched the video and can see why I got so excited about seeing them – in fact at one point in my recordings you can hear me frantically telling Michael to go and get some money off his mother so that I could buy the CD. I loved the brass section, the drummer banging on a box and the general collection of cries, cheers and claps from everyone. Best thing I’ve seen in ages.

As I’ve said, I managed to make a few recordings, of which these three are the best. The first track is Coquin D’Hiver, the one they sing in the video, but I’ve no idea what the names of the other two are, as they are not on the album. As you’ve come to expect, each recording is marred slightly by an endearing collection of fumbles and mumbles, but remember “street flavour”…

Coquin D’Hiver


Unknown Song

Streets of Paimpol

One of the things that I loved about our stay in Brittany was the amount of music going on all around and good stuff too – it was quite a contrast to some of the fairly lame efforts you come across on English streets. It was a real thrill and in Paimpol, particularly, you just didn’t know what you were going to come across around the next corner. In all I recorded four acts playing on the street (and bought two CDs).

The first people I saw were these three players who set up outside the junk shop I was poking around in. I was still getting used to this videoing mullarkey and there were one or two comedy moments as I tried to make this recording (the first one involving a van reversing slowly across the shot and another where an elderly woman walked across the screen with her fingers in her ears…). But eventually I got this. The lady in the middle is playing a bombarde, and her two partners are playing the Breton pipes which I think are known as “biniou”.

To be honest, at first it’s a bit of a hard listen to our American educated ears, but stick with it, there’s something rather haunting about it.

(I should say, these are street recordings, and I am notoriously cack-handed about these things, so you’ll have to put up with general murmurings, background interference and camera wobbles. Think of it as additional “street flavour”, I say…)

I also came across this trio of musicians, quite literally around the next corner, who had a distinct Breton sound but had mixed into it tinges of Irish music, jazz and Klezmer. The feller in the hat looks like he’s playing another bombarde but obviously there’s something different about it, he’s getting a completely different sound out of it.

After this song, the fiddle player explained that they called themselves Kornigell, which is apparently the Breton word for a seabird and also some sort of Breton dance step. I can’t find anything about them on the Internet, so I guess I can claim this as some sort of exclusive. You heard it here first!

The fiddle player also asked me to send him a copy of the video, I hope this suffices. Many thanks for the performance and for patiently explaining everything in English, after my French had let me down so miserably…

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