Monday, April 16th, 2007
So here are some of the albums that I have been listening to and am meaning to write about:
- Olé! Tarantula (2006) -- this is the record that re-alerted me to the existence of Robyn Hitchcock. Bought a copy at the Knitting Factory show.
- Spooked (2004) -- I learned about this record when I was watching the documentary, the night before the show; and bought it at the show.
- Perspex Island (1991)
- Moss Elixir and Mossy Liquor (both 1996) -- when I was listening to this show I heard Deni Bonet playing fiddle on some of the songs -- immediately took a look at her web site and found that she is on one of his records; this be it. Also her two solo cd's, Acoustic, OK? and Bigger is Always Better are on my list.
- Robyn Sings (2002) -- a double album of Dylan covers by Hitchcock. And look at the track listing!
- I Often Dream of Trains (1984) -- classic Hitchcock. I bought the cd at the KF show.
Tuesday, May 8th, 2007
A bunch of records that I had ordered from various places showed up in the mail yesterday, which I'm happy about. They include Mossy Liquor, an alternate cut of Moss Elixir, which I am meaning to give the same treatment I gave Perpex Island -- it is equally great an album. Also two records by Deni Bonet, who playes violin on Moss Elixir and who toured with Hitchcock for a while in the late 90's. And Volume 4 of the Suzuki method -- I have decided to try re-learning the Seitz concertos therein.
Deni Bonet has put up some videos of herself with other musicians on YouTube. Audio and video quality is a little spotty; but I particularly liked Driving Aloud and Arms of Love, with Robyn Hitchcock, and Phillip Larkin, with Kimberly Rew. And if her web site is up to date, she is broadcasting a "Duets with Deni" show every Sunday at 10 pm, at Manhattan Neighborhood Network (Channel 56).
Friday, September 7th, 2007
It is lovely to watch Robyn Hitchcock's interactions with his backup singers and musicians I am watching him sing "Cynthia Mask" with Grant Lee Phillips right now and see a similar vibe to what I have caught going on watching him with the Egyptians and with Captain Keegan. (A different species of interaction between him and Deni Bonet, a less overtly sexual one I think.)
If you count yourself among the few readers of this blog and I have not yet raved at/to you about Robyn and the Egyptians performing an acoustic version of "Birds In Perspex (Come Alive)", well, I am doing so now by implication. Go watch it, really I can't imagine your thinking the time poorly spent unless you are Sifu Tweety Fish, whose musical tastes are a cipher to me. (And talk to me about it -- regardless of what I said above I would really like to know what reactions people have to that song, including those reactions that are less wholly enthusiastic than my own.)
Thursday, June 18th, 2009
So I heard a while back about this tape of a John Wesley Harding concert which featured some performances by Robyn Hitchcock, called "A Bloody Show: Live at Bumbershoot 2005" -- and I had kicking around in my consciousness some occasional recommendations that I listen to Harding, and of course the obvious Dylan tie-in. So I put it on my NetFlix queue and forgot about it until it came in the mail yesterday.
Popped it in the player without much idea of what to expect -- I guess I was expecting some Dylan-influenced singing with guitar kind of thing. But wow! This thing is nothing like anything I could have expected. It is completely sui generis and is touched with brilliance. Harding is singing ballads that he has written (strongly and clearly derivative from particular folk ballads) with two other singers, either a capella or accompanied by a string quartet, sometimes Harding is playing guitar;* Robyn is narrating the performance reading excerpts from Harding's book Misfortune -- I had not known he was a novelist -- and great stage patter, from various of the performers.
The ballads are beautiful; I cannot find any recordings of them on the web so can only recommend that you watch the concert tape. Two lovely Harding performances are on YouTube, though. The song "Misfortune" is the first track on this concert tape, and is kind of what I had been expecting ("Dylan-influenced singing with guitar kind of thing"), and is just great:And this performance, on "Duets with Deni", just takes my breath away:
Looks like I've got some catching up to do with this guy's career!
* And more instrumentation -- a hurdy-gurdy is featured on "The Lady Dressed in Green"! And there's a full rock band on a few tracks at the end!
Friday, July 10th, 2009
Exciting! Tomorrow night I'm finally going to see Deni Bonet live. I've loved her music ever since I heard Moss Elixir but I keep not being able to make it in to the city when she's playing. Well tomorrow night, Chris of the Notes From Home house concert series in Montclair is bringing her out here! We're going as a family, with a couple of Sylvia's friends in tow too. Should be a great time.
Saturday, July 11th, 2009
So the show was just great. Deni played a lot of songs I recognized from her first records and some new ones. It was a small enough space that the acoustic sound really filled it up and you could see and feel exactly what the musicians were doing. (Though I sometimes wished her voice was amplified.) The two musicians backing her up, Austin Donohue and Kevin Moon, were just great musicians and Austin in particular, a very fine vocalist. Austin is also a songwriter, in the second set they played a couple of his pieces -- I was sorry we had to leave before the end of the show, we brought Sylvia and two of her friends to the show and they were getting pretty tired. Here is the song they closed the first set with:
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