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March 18, 2020


and hope to get back to it ourselves eventually.

Amen. And I loved both links, particularly the flatfooting!

and hope to get back to it ourselves eventually

Amen. And I loved both links, particularly the flatfooting!

One of the more interesting, to me, developments in country music was the arrival of the Bering Strait Band and their bluegrass, red grass?, music.

"THE BALLAD OF BERING STRAIT is a cinema-verité documentary following seven Russian teenagers who come to America to become country music stars. In July 1999, the Bering Strait Band entered the United States and began recording their first album in Nashville. The film charts the band responding to the twists and turns of the recording industry, rehearsing for their tour, and preparing for their debut concert at the Grand Ole Opry. Journeying back to their homes in Obninsk, Russia, and to their music conservatories in Moscow, we discover how two girls and five boys became so adept at playing American country music."
The Ballad of Bering Strait


CharlesWT -- looks fascinating.

GftNC, we have duelling Danny Boys: Diana Krall with the Chieftains.

I see your Diana Krall, and raise you a Sinead O'Connor (although I don't recognise the last verse she sings):


By the way, I totally agree with what Marianne Faithfull says at the beginning of that link I posted at 05.08. I never understood Danny Boy until I had experienced true pain and loss. I used to think it was a pretty but schmalzy song. What a fool I was.

I had never heard Sinead's extra verse either, and when I went looking for it I found a set of lyrics, associated with her, with yet another verse after that. Maybe she wrote those last two verses herself, I dunno.

Huh, interesting. It looks like a republican addendum - given that the great migration, which the main lyric is often supposed to be about, had a distinctly anti-English element to it because of the famine, I suppose that's possible. And I see from googling that Sinead O'Connor is a vocal supporter of a united Ireland, so you're right, she may have written it. Or at any rate if it's older, she would have sympathised with it.

Marty -- yes, Kilkelly is awesome and I guess the most powerful song of sadness I know, with Danny Boy (without the extra verse(s), which I think weaken it...) a close second.

Maybe Kilkelly is more powerful for me because it's clearly about family, and not about the loss of a love. Well duh, I suppose, because I'm single, and I lost the person I would call the love of my life to a break-up, not to death. For reasons I don't understand, I've become a bit obsessed with books and stories where parents and children are separated without any hope of being reunited, and Kilkelly obviously fits that pattern.

But that's a topic for another time.

There's some discussion of the added verse here. It's not by Sinead O'Connor herself.

Pro Bono -- thanks for that link. I didn't read the whole thing, but I got a big kick out of the Laredo verse:

Yuucccchhh. Bad idea all round. I await the 3rd Irish verse of "Streets of Laredo" --

"As we were all standing and mourning our cowboy,

He rose from the grave, and he brushed off his hat

Saying, I'm off to Kilkenny to belabour the British,

And Ireland will be free, and that will be that!"

I can see a whole new industry....
yours, Peter T.

Also, I couldn't figure out what Sinead was saying at one point, but one on-line lyric site had it as "this Island." That would have been clunky enough, but "Sireland"? I mean, seriously. ;-)

Haven't read Pro Bono's link yet (will do soon, but Janie I loved that Laredo verse!).

But what I wanted to say, further to Janie's 10.17, is this. I think I've known, for ages, that Danny Boy is probably supposed to be the voice of a mother, saying goodbye to her son, who is leaving Ireland probably for ever. And, FWIW, when I said I only truly got it after experiencing real pain and loss, I was in fact talking about the catastrophic series of strokes my father had in the 90s, after which he lasted in a hugely impaired state for 5 years. It just so happened that he was in very many ways a remarkable man, and the change was really extraordinarily stark and distressing, but nonetheless I think the experience of pain and loss was almost certainly no more than many people experience in similar circumstances. But it was unprecedented in my life, and in many ways my sibs and I have never fully recovered from it (nobody needs to tell me that this is fucked up). But my point is that despite having experienced pain and loss in the past in my earlier romantic life, and more recently the loss of my husband, what I was referring to when I agreed with Marianne Faithfull was very particularly the intensity of my experience during my father's illness.

More musical distraction for those with a taste for heavy psychedelic blues. If Kingston Wall had been from Texas, they would have been legends, but instead they are legends in Finland and mostly unknown in the rest of the world. They epitomize the classic power trio format - incredible guitar playing over the top of one of the tightest pockets I have ever heard.

Here's a taste of them in top form at one of their shows from about a year before the guitarist took his own life.


An American Tune.

Some more American tunes.

and another one

I dig the family style vibe on the last couple, especially the end of the last one where everybody hangs out and works out the harmony parts.

Can't explain Woody, but he sounds OK, so it's all good.

American Tune....another favorite. The birds tweeting in the background are a nice touch.

russell: all fab. Thank you.

Thasks russell. I saw this as I was watching those. Three incredibly talented guys playing to an empty Grand Ole Opry house saturday, a touch of remembering Kenny Rogers mixed in. I'm about half through.


Even for people who dont like country.


nous, I did a bit of reading about Kingston Wall after watching some of the video. A wild and tragic tale.

Marty, loving that gig from the Grand Ole Opry. Thank you very much!

I'm continuing on the assumption (until told otherwise) that it's useful to post items to interest, divert, amuse or give pleasure. I may well repeat things I've told before, in which case please forgive, my memory is not what it was!

I remember when Dylan won the Nobel prize we had lengthy discussions about it. I'm not sure this is true, but my impression is that Marty and I were the only diehard, out-and-out superfans (if such a word is appropriate to Dylan).

I was talking to a very close friend of mine, around then, who told me that when he was at Cambridge about 40 years ago, one of his professors (in the UK this term is only applied to heads of department etc, unlike in the states) was Christopher Ricks, who was famous at that time for, among other things, contending that Bob Dylan was as great a poet as Keats.


We were laughing because apparently Ricks asked my friend, at some event or other, which of Dylan's albums he considered the greatest, and my friend (somewhat bemused) replied "Well, Professor Ricks, I'd say Blood on the Tracks, to which Ricks replied (hilariously) "Correct!".

So not long ago, when my sib and I were on a long motorway drive, Like a Rolling Stone came on the radio, and I (the sib was driving) texted the said friend to say "We assume that you agree that the greatest of Dylan's songs is Like a Rolling Stone". He immediately replied to say he didn't and went on to name about 7 (overtly political) songs, to which I was finally able to send the one-word reply "Incorrect."

This isn't much of a story, but it made us laugh, and so today I sent him the following link to Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Dylan Tracks of all Time, drawing his attention (FWIW) to number 1:


Music to the Fears:


538 has an interesting article today on the prospects for remote voting in Congress. I was struck by this bit

“You can imagine a circumstance where one party actually gets a majority because the other party is more affected,” said Hemel, which could create concerns about the long-term legitimacy of votes taken in such circumstances.

Case in point: All five senators currently quarantined are Republican, which has reduced the GOP’s edge in the Senate from 53-47 to 48-47

And, of course, it's no surprise that those most likely to have downplayed the virus initially are most likely to have come down with it.

This might get buried but:

GftNC, The Dylan stuff was interesting. Here is a songwriters circle with Crowell, Guy Clark and John Prine with a few others. Its an old Austin city limits episodes.


Thanks Marty, have saved for later.

I was listening to this podcast, The Working Songwriter, with a Todd Nyder who was a protege of John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker. East of Eden is quoted and it was fascinating.


Marty, wrong link. Check that!

Oh well here's the snyder link.


It would be a favor if the other link was taken down.

[ed. done]


Marty, I just listened to the Austin City Limits link: great! Thank you. Can't listen to the Snyder thing because I don't have spotify, but I already consider myself well ahead in the enjoyment stakes!

GftNC, The podcast is called The Working Songwriter there's a few good interviews, Snoder is just the latest. I'm sure it's on the internet. I just get everything through Spotify.

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