Roy Harper – Freak Street

This was the first track off his second album. Produced by Shel Talmy. A song about Greek Street in Soho where the young freaks used to hang out – a place of tacky sex shops and dives.

Roy Harper – Committed – a track from the first album

For all those who think of Roy as an acoustic folkie, this clearly demonstrates the folly of that view. Roy utilises a full spectrum of styles. On this first album, there is an example of psychedelia as well as this mad romp.

I’m not sure who is playing on this. Ritchie Blackmore is in there! If anybody knows – let me know!

This always makes me laugh. It is about Roy’s experience in a mental hospital where he was treated with drugs and given ECT.

it obviously worked!

Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – Buffy St Marie

Buffy a full-blooded Native American Indian who came out of the New York Folk scene. She has recorded in a variety of styles though.

She has produced some of the strongest lyrics I have ever read – lyrics concerning the genocide of the Native Americans and their present-day plight. She is so passionate and forceful

I think ‘My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying’ is one of the strongest songs ever written.

I’m still angry over Cummings, Maitliss and Johnson’s incompetence. I’ll play Buffy and seethe.

Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – John Renbourn

I remember buying John’s first album way back in 1966. He and Bert Jansch and Davy Graham were leading the British contemporary Folk scene. I used to go up to Les Cousins and Bunjies to see them. Mesmerising.

A little later, when Pentangle were off the ground, I used to go to the basement of the Three Horses pub on Tottenhan Court Road, where Pentangle would meet up for a free concert. Fabulous days.

John was a master guitarist and a charming, self-deprecating man.

I went to Leeds to see Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and John was there. After the gig we were both standing in line to get albums signed and I was chatting to him. He was in awe of Jack. A little while later I went to see Roy Harper at the Royal Festival Hall and John was one of the many performing guests. As I was coming out I bumped into him and we had a little natter about Jack and Roy. Shortly afterwards he sadly died.

Today I will play some delightful music by John and think about the good times.

Music to keep me SANE during Isolation – Bert Jansch

Every day I go out for a walk of about two hours. It helps keep me fit and sane. I’m incredibly fortunate to be out here in a village in the countryside. There are some beautiful walks.

As I’ve been wandering along up hills and down lanes I’ve found myself whistling and even singing (yes I know) various tunes that come into my head – Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land is one that often presents itself. Another is Bert Jansch’s Strolling Down the Highway.

It certainly seemed to suit the vibe. A warm sun, big skies and a pleasant stroll. Busy going nowhere.

So today I’m going to be playing some classic Bert Jansch and mellow out!!

Play it again Bert!

Bert Jansch – I Have No Time

Back in 1965, when I was a lad of sixteen, this song on Bert’s first album was a revelation to me. It blended poetry, philosophy and social comment with music.

I have no time to spend with you
You talk of nothing, what can you do?
You live like kings and you know it’s true
That if famine crossed the waters that’d be the end of you

I’ve heard of people who till the earth
Who sow their seeds for what they’re worth
Who cry for rain all summer long
And weep for the day when winter’s passed and gone

If cherry trees bore fruit of gold
The birds would die, their wings would fold
They’d sing no more their song of love
Nor await the morning sun that lights the sky above

If war returns like it did before
A kiddy’s penny would be no more
They’d cry for love and their candy too
But a kiddy’s wants are nothing ’till killin’ days are thru’

So drink your fill, be happy now
The times will change and you’ll wonder how
A man could die from lack of food
But you don’t give a damn, no reason why you should

Today’s Music to stop me going mad in Isolation – Bert Jansch!

Bert was an amazing acoustic guitarist and songwriter who came down from Scotland to be part of the London Scene in the mid-sixties.

The contemporary Folk scene had exploded in the mid-sixties owing to the Dylan effect. It had catapulted people like Donovan into the Pop Charts.

The London scene was focussed around places like Les Cousins in Soho and Bunjies near Charring Cross Road. It was where people like Roy Harper, Al Stewart, Jackson C Frank, John Martyn, John Renbourn, Davy Graham and Bert Jansch cut their teeth. A lot of Americans also dropped in – like Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.

I’d been introduced to John Renbourn and Bert Jansch by a school friend – Neil Furby – in 1965. I was already into Donovan and this first album by Bert seemed more authentic. I loved it – particularly the more political stuff like – Do You Hear Me Now.

I was sixteen and had my first motorbike which had given me the chance to get up to London. So I was able to go to see these guys live. It was at a Bert Jansch/John Renbourn concert at Les Cousins in 1967 that I first saw Roy Harper.

Later I’d go along to the Three Horseshoes pub basement on Tottenham Court Road to hear Pentangle play for free! Imagine that!! What would we pay for a dose of that now?

So today I’m going to reacquaint myself with the music of Bert Jansch!