Saturday, 30 November 2013

A Glint At The Kindling and Other Music For Autumn and Winter Evenings

I love this time of year, preferring Autumn and Winter, and here is a small selection of music that evokes an autumnal or wintry atmosphere in some way, that have some essence about them that suits this time and are ideal for cosy Autumn evenings, in front of the hearth.
 
 We will begin with the rustic countryside themes of 'Songs From The Wood' by Jethro Tull, a long favourite album, and difficult to even try to describe this album of a highly superior standard.    I still remember the effect it had on me when I first heard it, as I had never heard anything like it before and was stunned by its brilliance and from then on wanted to write songs.  Here Ian Anderson lyrically indulges in some jaunty and even naughty country-mood cleverness, all done in a refreshingly witty way, with the songs having a more folkloric inspiration.  This is the album that introduces some new elements of instrumentation, using such instruments as lute, mandolin, portative organ and medieval percussion.  Listen to this unique, brave and masterly work and remember it was released in 1977, when Disco and Punk were at the fore.
 
The Whistler
 
'Heavy Horses', the 1978 album that followed 'Songs From the Wood', continues the countryside and often autumnal tone, yet with a more contemporary theme.  It is another favourite album and great inspiration, like the previous one, and everything about it is wonderful, including the fine lyrics.  Songs about creatures such as horses, cats, mice and moths are in the mix.  I'm fortunate to own the large promotional posters for both these albums, and even the rare Heavy Horses songbook.  I could into much greater depth about these albums, but I intend to write about them separately at a later time.

   
 
'A Glint At The Kindling' by Robin Williamson & his Merry Band, is an enjoyable album and reflects Robin Williamson's turning to making more traditional, Celtic-based music.  He is a very talented and creative man, from singing, songwriting, poetry, painting, playing an endless number of instruments, etc... Some notable songs on this album include 'The Road The Gypsies Go', 'Me and the Mad Girl', 'The Woodcutter's Song' and 'By Weary Well'
 

 I also recommend Robin's various storytelling cds: Gems of Celtic Story series, Five Humorous Tales, Four Gruagach Tales, etc...which are a delight to listen to.  He is one of the finest storytellers you will ever hear, a true bard, using different voices and accents;  with some tales he will mesmerize you, with others make you laugh out loud.  His 'Legacy of the Scottish Harp' records are particularly lovely, but I've lost track of his releases, as there are so many.
 

 
'Suite Irlandaise' a set of Irish tunes played by master Breton musician Alan Stivell and band in 1972:
 
 
Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Breton fiddle ,harp and acoustic guitar music always suits this time of year very well, bringing a comforting, peaceful atmosphere.
 
Here is a lovely clip of an Irish tune, played by Jackie Daly and Alec Finn
 
 
Next are two of my favourite Genesis albums: 
 A Trick of the Tail
 
 'Ripples'
 
 
'Wind and Wuthering' with an evocative cover painting that conveys the feel of the music
 

 
There are many more pieces that could be added here.
 
 
  
 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Dizzy Man's Band - The Opera

I happened upon this music performance of 'The Opera' by the Dutch band Dizzy Man's Band (on the German music programme Musikladen in 1976) a few nights ago and really like it; it is just loony, funny and very silly!  If you need cheering up, watch this!