Tuesday, September 06, 2005

That place of note and fame

SHIRLEY COLLINS "The Bonny Irish Boy"

Still reeling from events in the Gulf but I feel that everything is being said much more eloquently elsewhere. With news of the murderous incompetence that greeted the storm's aftermath unfolding by the minute, I almost feel bad that things seem to be going well for me right now. My health seems better today; I'm in a productive phase as to work which is a very welcome change; this publishing venture feels very good indeed and things appear to be really coming together; and my heart remains light and happy thanks to this girl I'm hanging with every weekend (she lives two hours away, in Eugene, OR which is sort of a National Preserve of Hippies in the worst and occasionally best possible ways).

This song--one of a thousand tunes from the Anglo-Celt tradition that tell tales of rakish dudes who break hearts, what's with those dudes?--is from Shirley Collins' first album, Sweet England. Co-produced by her "then-partner" Alan Lomax with Peter Kennedy in 1959, the album was critically thrashed when it was released according to AMG. And it's not that hard to see why. Her maudlin approach on these recordings is bound to make the listener uncomfortable. The vocals are in some weird netherworld between naive and learned, 'twixt "real" folk and folk-revival folk. Same goes for her banjo accompaniment, which is a touch rudimentary. I kind of love this album a lot but can never listen to much at one time.

PS: Congrats to Antony!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have words for how much I love Shirley Collins, so I have to just say thank you for spreading the love.

8:29 PM  

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