Annotated iPod Shuffle, April 2018

1  Saucer Eyes : Eric Dolphy

from Where? (1961) Dolphy (flute) w. Mal Waldron (p) Ron Carter (bs) Charlie Persip  (dr). Great,fluent flute from Dolphy and scintillating brushwork from Persip.


2 Slider : John Stewart

from The Day the River Sang (2006) one of Stewart’s final albums prior to his death two years later. The voice, even with some handy reverb, isn’t what it was, but it does take on a deep, bluesy feel that’s appropriate for this song about a wayward young woman, reminiscent in some ways of the sad and lovely Crazy [”I will drive you, Crazy”] from the 1971 album Lonesome Picker Rides Again. Some nice licks by Stewart himself on electric guitar, too.

The Day The River Sang

3 Milk Shake Stand : The Three Barons

from Still Stomping’ at the Savoy, a fine selection of Jazz & R&B tracks from the 50s & 60s, including Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Errol Garner, Art Pepper, Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, H-Bomb Ferguson, Joe Turner, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, Little Esther and this track by the Three Barons, a doo-wop group who are still performing, in one guise or another, and will to travel to gigs up to ten miles from their base in Stamford, CT – well, you gotta slow down some time.


4 Shostakovich String Quartet No. 6 – Allegretto : Emerson Quartet

What can I say … ?

Shostakovich_ String Quartets [Disc 1]

5 Just One More Chance : Alex Welsh Band

Featuring Alex’s trumpet, more broad-toned than usual, on this BBC Sounds of Jazz broadcast from 1981, just a year before he died; Roy Crimmins is on trombone, back in the band after a long break, Al Gay on tenor, Fred Hunt at the piano.


6 Sandwood Down to Kyle : John Renbourn

from Live it Italy (2006) about which Renbourn had this to say …

 Anyway one place that still holds fond if blurred memories is Roma’s Folkstudio – a basement club that reminded me of the Cousins, only funkier. I’d go over and play there for a week or so, staying in a room down a little alley leading into the square of Santa Maria in Trastevere. The square at night was utterly beautiful and even the bare room had a certain charm. With the pleasure of good company and the wine from Sacrofano it was a productive time for me.

How this recording came to be made I honestly have no idea. To describe the p.a. in the Folkstudio as a curiosity would be charitable in the extreme. It wouldn’t have been out of place in Frankinstein’s laboratory. Somehow the benign boss Giancarlo Cesaroni engineered it on the quiet. And the result is documented evidence.

Live In Italy

7 As Tears Go By : Rolling Stones

The Jagger/Richards song their manager Andrew Loog Oldham passed on to Marianne Faithfull for her 1964 hit; Mick himself recorded it with the Stones a year later [sounding oddly like Marianne].



8 Right Moves : Josh Ritter

from The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (2007). Has a great chorus, which my daughter, Molly, and I sang along to heartily at his Kings Place gig a few years back.

The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

9 These Foolish Things : Thelonious Monk

Recorded in New York, on December 18th, 1952, with Gary Mapp (bs) & Max Roach (dr)

Thelonious Monk Trio

10 $1000 Dollar Wedding : Gram Parsons

from Parson’s second solo album, Grievous Angel (1974), with James Burton on guitar and Emmylou Harris on harmony vocals and close to keeping Gram in tune. I remember buying my copy for £1.00 from a student at the Stevenage school where I was teaching; she’d got it as a freebee at the Gary Glitter show at Stevenage Mecca the night before.

Grievous Angel

John Renbourn 1944 – 2015


We were on holiday in Cornwall and wandering around the back streets of Penzance when we saw the poster outside the Acorn Arts Centre, announcing an appearance by folk guitarist and singer John Renbourn in just a few days time. This was August of 2013. Now I hadn’t seen Renbourn live since the heady days when he was an integral part of Pentangle and, one or two pieces side, such as his perfectly understated version of “Lord Franklin”, I had listened to little of his music in a good while. Besides which, when I’d gone to see his former sparring partner, Bert Jansch, at the Acorn, just a few years before, I’d been sadly disappointed. But we talked it over with a pair of good friends who are more into the British folk scene than ourselves, and decided to give it a go.

The hall, set out with tables and chairs, was more or less full when we arrived – surely a good sign – and when Renbourn was introduced the applause was warm and heartfelt. The first sight of him, though, as he made his way, bulkily, almost warily, to the centre of the stage, as if uncertain of his balance, did not augur well. But then he sat down and proceeded to play. Little if any of the dexterity that had always been a hallmark of his playing seemed to have gone – a lengthy improvisation around Randy Weston’s “Little Niles” was as breathtaking as watching a man expertly walk a high wire – and the voice – that almost ghostly whisper – has lost little of its immediacy; and as the evening went on, you could sense him warming to the audience’s very real appreciation of his music, his very presence.

It was, simply, one of the best, most richly enjoyable  events of its kind I’ve been privileged to attend, and, at its end, we were all staggered to hear that, rather than spending the night there in Penzance, Renbourn was going to drive himself all the way from almost the furthest point in the south-west, to where he lived on the Scottish borders. It beggared belief. But, seemingly, that’s what he did. All the time. Drive himself to gigs and back in his little green van.

Just a few days ago, March 2015, due at a gig in Glasgow, the little green van failed to arrive. Friends found Renbourn dead at his home, having suffered a heart attack.

There’s an excellent piece by Pete Paphides


Those Not Busy Being Born …

What a terrible week it has been. A week that began with 149 people being flown to their deaths against a mountainside and ended with the deaths of three men who, in their various ways, have brought a great deal, not just to my life, which they each illuminated in a number of ways, but the lives of many others – guitarist John Renbourn, born 1944, poet and Nobel Prize winner Tomas Transtromer, born 1931 and artist Albert Irvin, born 1922.

John Renbourn
John Renbourn
John Renbourn
John Renbourn

Tomas Transtromer
Tomas Transtromer

Albert Irvin
Albert Irvin

I shall attempt to write more about each of these three men later …

McMinn and Cheese

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A blog about music by Richard Williams

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Writers & writing: books, movies, art & music - the bits & pieces of a (retiring) writer's life

Woody Haut's Blog

Writers & writing: books, movies, art & music - the bits & pieces of a (retiring) writer's life


Writers & writing: books, movies, art & music - the bits & pieces of a (retiring) writer's life