Results for Fairport Convention

interviews

Joe Boyd

The guest this week is Joe Boyd. Boyd recently wrote a book, White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s, about his experiences as a producer, manager and club owner in London during that psychedelic era. Jim describes Boyd as one of rock's most fascinating behind-the-scenes characters. He has worked with Pink Floyd, The Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention and Bob Dylan just to name a few.

As an American living in England in the '60s, one of the ways Boyd made a name for himself was through his club UFO. The venue only lasted less than a year, but Boyd explains that those few months in 1967 were remarkable. UFO wasn‘t anything more than a basement, but it featured light shows, films and“happenings,”and was home base to Pink Floyd. The title of Boyd’s book gets its name from track "My White Bicycle," by Tomorrow, one of the many bands to perform at UFO. The song is about the free white bicycles that were passed around in Amsterdam at that time, and Boyd explains that by the end of 1967, most of those bicycles were stolen and re-painted. The result is a“heavy-handed metaphor”for the changing times according to the author.

One of Boyd's major contributions to music is that he is credited with“discovering”Nick Drake. During a meeting with John Cale, Boyd played some of Drake's music, and immediately Cale wanted a meeting with the rising talent. The next day, Cale abandoned his studio date with singer Nico and told Boyd that he wanted to record Drake by that afternoon. The music they made that day and in the years before Drake's tragic death propelled him into this romantic, cult status that grew even bigger after his song "Pink Moon," was used in a Volkswagen commercial.

Go to episode 73

Shirley Collins

Of all the English folk revival artists, Shirley Collins was perhaps the most devoted to rural folk traditions. But at the same time, her records were incredibly innovative in their approach. Her 1964 album Folk Roots, New Routes with guitarist Davey Graham fused ancient songs with jazz arrangements, paving the way for bands like Fairport Convention. In collaboration with her sister Dolly, Shirley Collins also recorded with early music instruments and Renaissance ensembles. She even went electric with her acclaimed 1971 album No Roses. After developing a vocal condition known as dysphonia, Shirley gave up recording in 1978. Since then, she's become an inspiration to a new generation of artists, including The Decemberists' Colin Meloy, who covered one of her songs live on Sound Opinions. Now, after a nearly 40 year hiatus, she's returned with a new album, Lodestar. She joins Jim and Greg to explain why she returned to singing and how she chose her rather bloodsoaked repertoire.

In addition to her own recording career, Shirley Collins played an important role in music history when she accompanied legendary musicologist Alan Lomax as he traveled through the American south in 1959. Together, they collected field recordings of traditional working-class artists on farms, prisons, and churches. Their tapes of musicians like Mississippi Fred McDowell, Almeda Riddle, and Hobart Smith were huge influences on generations of artists, including Bob Dylan.

Go to episode 584

Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson is a rock survivor, and with each decade comes a new successful era—whether it's Fairport Convention in the 1960's, with Linda Thompson in the '70s or as a solo artist. (You can check out producer, Joe Boyd, talking about Thompson & Fairport Convention here.) In fact, he's one of only a handful of artists, along the likes of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, who have sustained a high level of artistic intensity and integrity since the '60s. And to further set him apart, he's one of few guitar heroes from that generation without an obvious debt to the blues. Instead, you'll hear blends of Eastern tones, jazz, Scottish balladry and Celtic folk. Jim and Greg agree he's one of the most underrated guitarists and songwriters in folk history and would urge acts like Mumford & Sons to“Listen and Learn.”The first step would be to study his live performance, which includes a gem from the "Capitolyears," the yet to be released "Fergus Lang," and the Richard and Linda classic "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight." Plus, check out the bonus track, Greg's request, "Dimming of the Day," which may be his most beautiful love song to date.

Go to episode 446

Joe Boyd

nickdraketributecover

For the most part we think that rock ‘n’ roll artistry and commercials don't mix, but in the case of Nick Drake, it worked out. A 1999 TV commercial featuring his 1972 track "Pink Moon," made the English singer/songwriter a household name. It was success Drake couldn‘t enjoy in his lifetime. He died at age 26 of an overdose on anti-depressants after only releasing three albums. But the small catalog lives large today, with Drake’s work influencing R.E.M., Elliot Smith, Beth Orton and many more. He's remembered on the new tribute album Way to Blue, produced by the man who discovered him, Joe Boyd. In addition to working with Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and the Fairport Convention, Joe Boyd produced Nick's first two albums, Five Leaves Left in 1969 and Bryter Layter in 1970. Jim and Greg talk to him about Nick Drake's own influences, his style and his legacy.

Go to episode 387
reviews
StillStill available on iTunes

Richard Thompson Still

Still is the 25th solo album from folk rock guitarist, Richard Thompson. The former Fairport Convention musician collaborated with Wilco frontman and producer Jeff Tweedy. Greg wasn‘t exactly disappointed, but a little let down after Thompson’s ferocious 2013 album, Electric. In Still, he explores some darker and more serious themes like loss of faith in humanity. However Greg was happy he balanced those tracks with lighter and more humorous songs like "Guitar Heroes." He gives it a Buy It. Jim actually found“Guitar Heroes”cheesy. He also doesn't think Tweedy added much in his production. But because of wins like "Josephine" and "Long John Silver," Jim says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 499
Within These WallsWithin These Walls available on iTunes

Damon and Naomi Within These Walls

Husband and wife duo Damon and Naomi also have a new album out called Within These Walls. The two were founding members of the "slowcore" group Galaxie 500, and fans will hear that same dream-folk, Fairport Convention-inspired sound here. But, Jim and Greg explain that the duo have branched out more on this album by including a brass and string section. Jim, who says that he loves pretty much anything Damon and Naomi have ever done, is impressed by the experimentation. It led to even more beauty and lushness. He gives Within These Walls a Buy It. Greg would also encourage listeners to get the album, but takes issue with some of the other instruments. In particular, he says that this album would get a much more enthusiastic rating with the omission of jazz great Bhob Rainey's soprano sax, which Greg describes as horribly "Kenny G"-like. That said, it gets a Buy It from both critics.

JimGreg
Go to episode 105
Dream AtticDream Attic available on iTunes

Richard Thompson Dream Attic

On the other end of the music spectrum is veteran folk rock musician Richard Thompson. After releasing 5 albums with Fairport Convention, he went on to form a duo with former wife Linda Thompson, and then launched a solo career. His latest solo release is Dream Attic, which is a collection of live performances of new songs. As Greg explains, live is where Thompson is at his best. It's where audiences really get to experience his tremendous guitar skills. Previous releases focused more on Thompson's songwriting, so for Greg, this is one of his best. He gives Dream Attic a Buy It rating. Jim agrees, and would tell listeners who haven‘t experienced Thompson’s music to start here and work their way back. The songs are full of wit and wisdom and deserve a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 250
The Crane Wife (10th Anniversary Edition)The Crane Wife available on iTunes

The Decemberists The Crane Wife

Finally, we move to the literate, fantastic world of The Decemberists. Lead-singer Colin Meloy (a former guest of our fair show) has always been wordy, but with lyrics like“affix your barbs and bayonets, the curlews carve their arabesques,”and song titles like "The Island: Come & See/The Landlord's Daughter/You'll Not Feel The Drowning," he is taking it to a new level. The Decemberists' new album, The Crane Wife, is based on a Japanese folk tale — but despite these lofty inspirations, both Jim and Greg love this album. Jim has never denied his fondness for epic prog rock, but commends Meloy for taking the genre into the present, without sacrificing the hooks. Sound Opinions can vouch for Jim's praise of this record; he beams every time he mentions it. In the past, Greg has given the Decemberists (and Jim) a hard time for being too“twee.”But, he found this album to be the most ambitious of the band's career. He compares much of Meloy's writing to that of English bands like the Fairport Convention and explains that he is“developing into one of the most important songwriters of our time.”So this episode of Sound Opinions ends on a high note (literally, if you listen to Jim's sing-a-long). The Crane Wife gets two Buy Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 46
dijs

Jim

“Alive”Dumptruck

It's Mr. DeRogatis' turn to visit the Desert Island Jukebox, and he ties the show up nicely with a selection from the band Dumptruck. Steve Wynn played with one of Dumptruck's founders, Kirk Swan, during the segment. Swan and his partner, Seth Tiven, put out their debut album D is for Dumptruck in 1994. It was heavily influenced by what Paisley Underground bands like The Dream Syndicate had been doing on the West coast. Dumptruck incorporated more folk rock and power pop into their music than contemporaries, and were also influenced by Big Star, Fairport Convention (who also count Greg Kot and Sound Opinions guest Colin Meloy as fans), and the band Television. Like Dumptruck, Television was comprised of two guitarist-vocalists: Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. Jim explains that outside of Television, he has never seen two guitarists work as well together as they did in Dumptruck, as you can hear in Jim's DIJ pick, "Alive." Listeners desiring more Dumptruck should check out Haul of Fame: A Collection, for which our host provided liner notes.

Go to episode 21

Jim

“The Calvary Cross”Richard Thompson

After Mumford & Sons, Jim was sorely in need of a folk-rock palette cleanser. So for his DIJ he chose one of the great folk rock musicians of all time, Richard Thompson. A founder of Fairport Convention, Thompson went on to make music with his wife, Linda Thompson, and as a solo artist. Like Marcus Mumford, Thompson has a yen for the biblical. But unlike Mumford, he used Bible stories to spine-tingling affect. Case in point, "The Calvary Cross," a track he recorded with Linda on their 1974 album I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight. Listen for the drums echoing Jesus's footsteps as he climbs the hill where he will be crucified.

Go to episode 358

Greg

“I'll Keep it With Mine”Sandy Denny

Greg gets to pop a quarter into the Desert Island Jukebox this week, and his choice is Sandy Denny's cover of "I'll Keep it With Mine" by fellow folk rocker Bob Dylan. Greg explains that Denny is best known for her appearance on the Lord of the Rings-inspired Led Zeppelin track "The Battle of Evermore." That's a shame, according to Greg. In addition to her work British folk-pop outfit Fairport Convention, Denny composed and performed many great solo songs, including this week's DIJ.

Go to episode 9
lists

Songs About Time

Ready to rock around the clock? This week, Jim and Greg play their favorite Songs About Time.

Go to episode 537

Murder Songs for Halloween

With Halloween looming large, Jim and Greg are feeling a bit morbid. They've got Murder on the brain. Here are their favorite“killer”tunes:

Go to episode 412

Desert Island Jukebox

All year long Jim and Greg hog the Desert Island Jukebox and play you songs they can't live without. In this episode, they flip the script and hand over the jukebox quarters to some of their musical guests. Slayer, LCD Soundsystem, Wild Flag and more took on the age-old rock question "What record would you take with you if stranded on a desert island?":

  • Troy“Trombone Shorty”Andrews - Louis Armstrong, "On the Sunny Side of the Street"
  • Alexei Perry of Handsome Furs - Doctor Alimantado, Best Dressed Chicken in Town
  • Dan Boeckner of Handsome Furs - Sonic Youth, Sister
  • Sam Beam of Iron and Wine - Harry Nilsson, Nilsson Schmilsson
  • Naomi Yang and Damon Krukowski of Damon & Naomi - Fairport Convention, Liege and Lief
  • Lily Allen - Squeeze, "Up the Junction"
  • Kerry King of Slayer - Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard of Ozz
  • Dave Lombardo of Slayer - Amy Winehouse, Back to Black
  • Rebecca Cole of Wild Flag - Bill Withers, Just As I Am
  • Janet Weiss of Wild Flag - The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main St.
  • James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem - Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
Go to episode 317