Featured Album | Jocelyn Pettit – Wind Rose | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | 03.06.22
The third album by this Canadian singer, fiddle player and step dancer begins with two strong instrumentals, both of which demonstrate an equally strong sense of arrangement and musical intuition. The melody to the opening title tune is a stirring reminder that a good tune is just as important as a good song. If it’s songs we crave, then we can’t go wrong with Dougie Maclean’s “Ready for the Storm”, which comes out to play once again, continuing where Kathy Mattea’s memorable reading of the song left off back in the 1990s, stirring up transatlantic memories of Scottish retreats and stormy highland coastlines. Pettit’s roots are indeed Scottish, but also Irish, French and Malaysian, which gives the musician plenty of scope in terms of musical ideas. Recorded over two continents, with the help of a select few hand-picked musicians in both Duncan, British Columbia and Glasgow, Scotland. The distance between the two locations hints at the main theme of Wind Rose, that of home and travel, with each heartfelt melody faithfully rendered. One one side of the Atlantic there’s Adam Dobres on guitar, Erik Musseau on whistle, Siew Wan Khoo on piano and Lauri Lyster and Joel Pettit on percussion, while over in the old country Pettit is joined by Martin O’Neill on bodhran, Ali Hutton on guitar, Chris Gray on piano and whistle and Ellen Gira on cello. It’s quite possible that these songs and melodies will take you to all the places in between. Gorgeous.
Flick the Dust Off | Loren Auerbach and Bert Jansch – After the Long Night | Christabel Records CRL 001 | 1985
Loren Auerbach recorded her debut LP in 1985, with future husband Bert Jansch by her side. I first heard the record during one of my initial delves into a friend’s healthy record collection around the same time, a fellow Bert fan, whose generosity was crucial at the time, not only for loaning me much of Bert’s recorded output, but also actually giving me several LPs to keep, many of which are prized items in my collection today, including Jack Orion and Rosemary Lane. I knew little of Loren Auerbach back then and not much more today, other than the fact that Loren married Bert in 1999 and died from cancer just a couple of months after Bert’s untimely death in October 2011, the couple being quite sadly ill together. When Bert played his final solo set at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2004, my son and I were there right in front of the stage, hugging the safety barrier and I recall Loren helping Bert set up, supporting him as she always did, and at one point as she knelt beside him, looked out over the crowd, our eyes eventually meeting and giving me the same smile she wears on the cover of this LP.
Singled Out | Prelude – After the Goldrush | Dawn DNS1052 | 1973
Prelude were, and still are, a vocal harmony group from the North East of England, originally consisting of husband and wife team Brian and Irene Hume, together with Ian Vardy on guitar. Despite only reaching number 21 and number 22 respectively in both the British and American Billboard singles charts, the a cappella version of this Neil Young song remains one of the song’s most memorable versions and is still played regularly on radio today. According to Brian Hume, the single came about by accident after the group sang it while waiting for a bus. It sounded so nice that the band added the song to their live set and almost as an afterthought, put it on their debut album, which in turn led to a sort of novelty single. Hume claims that the version that the band perform in their set to this day, sounds no different to the song they sang in that bus stop back in the early 1970s.
Fifty Years Ago | Bridget St John – Thank You For… | Dandelion 2310-193 | JUNE 1972
Bridget St John’s third album and her last for John Peel’s Dandelion Records, saw the husky-voiced British singer songwriter mix her own originals with one or two covers, such as Bob Dylan’s “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” and Buddy Holly’s “Every Day”. Joined by members of the band Quiver, who would later join forces with the Sutherland Brothers, together with friends John Martyn, Rick Kemp and Dave Mattacks amongst others, Bridget delivered what could be described as her first folk rock album, yet maintaining some of the pastoral feel exemplified in her previous two records. The LP also features versions of the traditional “Lazarus” and “Silver Coin”, penned by Hunter Muskett’s Terry Hiscock.