Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Boo Hewerdine

boo hererdine

Boo Heweredine is one of the many great undervalued songwriters.

At the end of the month he has a new album out which hopefully will address the problem and return him to the public spotlight

Here is a track from the album “God Bless The Pretty Things”, despite the familiar title the song is an original composition.

“Muddy Water” – Boo Hewerdine

Don’t know what I’m gonna do
Everything is broken in two
I miss my wife, son and daughter
I can see them now in the muddy water
Never underestimate
Those of us who dream and wait
I don’t wanna go, but I think I outta
You can get lost in the muddy water.

Who said anything about love
We’re animals after all
And everything we feel can be explained
Who said anything about time
It’s not yours and it’s not mine
Just different ways of getting through the day.

Did not do what I should
I nearly lost it good
But the CCTV camera never caught us
All that time in the muddy water

Who said anything about love…

Don’t know what am gonna do
Everything is broken in two
I miss my wife, son and daughter.
I can see them now in the muddy water.
Gonna leave you here in the muddy water
Gonna leave you here in the muddy water.

The song was originally recorded by Eddi Reader for her 2007 album “Peacetime”

god bless the pretty things

Boo Hewerdine (b. 1961, London) as Mark Hewerdine is an English singer-songwriter. His work includes lead singer and creative force behind The Bible, formed in the 1980s, and reformed in 1994, as well as solo recordings and work for film. He lives in Ely.

Hewerdine (born Mark Hewerdine) moved to Cambridge as a child, but returned to London in his late teens, and worked in a record shop. Suffering from agoraphobia, it was not a happy time of his life, and he was fired from his job after being wrongly accused of theft. Returning to Cambridge, he teamed up with a friend with similar experiences and started to write songs. They formed the short-lived Placebo Thing. He left Placebo Thing to join The Great Divide. They were heard by Mike Scott of The Waterboys, who recommended them to Ensign Records, where they cut three commercially unsuccessful singles. In 1985 Hewerdine, working once again in a record shop in Cambridge, formed The Bible, recruiting jazz drummer Tony Shepherd. They released an album of songs through the independent Norwich label Backs Records called Walking The Ghost Back Home.

The Bible became a fairly successful independent band, with a cult following spread mostly through word of mouth and live performances. Two tracks from the first album, Graceland and Mahalia were released as singles, but did not achieve very significant sales. The album however was very well received by music pundits, and this brought the band to the attention of Chrysalis Records. Signing to Chrysalis, Graceland and another track, Honey Be Good were (re)released as singles, and reached the lower end of the UK singles chart. A new album, Eureka followed, but failed commercially. In 1988, Hewerdine decided to leave the group and pursue solo projects. Calum MacColl and Neill MacColl from the group went on to form Liberty Horses.

At around this time Hewerdine met US “new country” singer Darden Smith, and this set him off in a new direction. Working together, he and Smith released a collaborative album, Evidence. Hewerdine also worked simultaneously on new solo songs, largely based on his earlier traumatic experiences in London. Eventually these were distilled down to produce the Ignorance album, released in 1992. Invited by Tori Amos to play support promoting these songs, Hewerdine managed to find a new audience and Ignorance and a single from the album, History, did relatively well commercially.

As Hewerdine’s star rose, he started to write for other artists, among them Eddi Reader, Clive Gregson and Christine Collister. The Bible reformed for a tour in 1994. Further solo album releases followed, such as 1996’s Baptist Hospital and 1999’s Thanksgiving. Meanwhile Hewerdine was asked by long-time friend Nick Hornby to contribute music to the soundtrack for the movie version of his book High Fidelity, whose subject (working in a record shop) was also very close to Hewerdine’s experiences.

 

To buy the music of Boo Hewerdine click HERE

October 14, 2009 Posted by | Folk, New Music, Video | , | 3 Comments

The Unthanks

the unthanks

There seems to be a rise in interest in both old and new music of the “traditional” genre, often termed “alt-folk” by the media ,it has to date gathered much critical acclaim without commercial return.

The Unthanks may be about to change that.

Here is a review of their album “Here’s The Tender Coming” from Uncut.

Playing both sides against the centre is one way to describe the approach that has brought Rachel Unthank and the Winterset success, the two sides in question being hardcore Northumbrian folk, and cutting-edge neo-classical arrangements.

Of more customary ways to update folk tradition – the electric guitars and muscular fiddle of, say, Seth Lakeman, or the electronica of Tunng – there has been no sign. Instead, the group have stayed resolutely focused on the sibling vocal harmonies of Rachel and sister Becky, delivered in the saltiest of Geordie accents and framed by backings that range from string quartets to minimalist piano codas reminiscent of Erik Satie.

First heard on 2005’s debut, ‘Cruel Sister’, the combination was brought into mournful majesty on 2007’s ‘The Bairns’, an album as bleak but bracing as a North Sea downpour, which won the group a Mercury Prize nomination and converts from way beyond the folk community (few of their peers can boast Radiohead and Robert Wyatt among their fanbase).

The expansion of the Winterset’s female quartet to a nine-piece lineup that includes bass and drums, along with their rebranding as The Unthanks, suggests a move towards the mainstream, but this third album follows seamlessly on from its predecessors. Not much has changed; piano duties pass from Stef Conner (herself a replacement for Belinda O’Hooley) to producer Adrian McNally (Rachel’s husband) and multi-instrumentalist Chris Price has also joined. The further four members, says McNally, are as much about giving the group extra oomph onstage as changing their sound.

The group have, however, lightened up a little. The intensity of ‘The Bairns’, with its songs about poverty, drunken wives and lost children, is still in place, but leavened by numbers like “Betsy Belle” and “Where’ve You Been Dick” that owe much to the jaunty traditions of music hall. The one original song here, “Lucky Gilchrist”, likewise celebrates a fallen friend in a style as sprightly as his character (“full of glee, a bit like Freddy Mercury”). The record is, as Rachel puts it, “a warmer shade of sad”.

There is, nonetheless, a wintry eloquence to much of Tender; “Sad February” grieves over drowned sailors, “The Testimony of Patience Kershaw”, a 1970 song by Frank Higgins, relates the gruelling role child labour in Victorian coalmines, and Ewan MacColl’s “Nobody Knew She Was There” honours a cleaning woman driven to suicide in “the writhing foul black water”.

Nor is the mood of desolation much altered by the eight-minute epic “Annachie Gordon”, a ballad learned from Nic Jones, in which a maiden is forced to marry a lord and forsake her true lover, a humble fisherman who arrives to find his love dead from a broken heart. Nor by “Flowers Of The Town”, their version of the much covered Scots lament, “Flowers Of The Forest”.

Yet it’s in the nature of the blues – and what is Britannia’s folk tradition but our islands’ version of the same? – that redemption is always lurking. That promise is held within both the tender vocal harmonies of the Unthank sisters, and the inventive settings to the songs. “Nobody Knows” chimes with bright autoharp, while Lal Waterson’s “At First She Starts”, whose stately strings cast a doomy mood, is actually about finding one’s personal voice.

The title track plays against the grain in the opposite manner, at first coming across as a cheery love song but in reality describing the arrival of Nelson’s navy – the tender in question is a boat – intent on press-ganging Geordies into the Napoleonic wars.

It’s an often exquisite mixture of light and dark, instinct and artistry, that honours both the power of old songs and the stoicism of the lives that shaped them. Rarely has the deep past sounded so stirring, or so modern.

NEIL SPENCER

here's the tender coming
“Because He Was A Bonny Lad” – The Unthanks

the unthanks 2

 

To buy the music of The Unthanks click HERE

October 14, 2009 Posted by | Folk, New Music, Video | | Leave a comment

   

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