| My Northern Friday 11 |

Been All Around This World – Pharis and Jason Romero (Tell ‘Em You Were Gold)
You Said Goodbye – The Slocan Ramblers (Up the Hill and Through the Fog)
At Least Pretend – Dan Walsh (Live at the Floodgate)
The Bag of Spuds Set – Dan Walsh (Live Session)
Games People Play – Dick Gaughan (A Different Kind of Love Song)
Soldier Blue – Buffy Sainte-Marie (Single)
Life’s a Long Song – Jethro Tull (Living in the Past)
Souvenir – Been All Around This World – Pharis and Jason Romero (Tell ‘Em You Were Gold)
The Great Salt Lake – Emma Gale (Single)
Easy Blues – Sunjay (Live Session)

Featured Album | Pharis and Jason Romero – Tell ‘Em You Were Gold | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings | Review by Allan Wilkinson | 10.06.22

When Pharis and Jason walk into their cluttered space in the video promo for this album’s lead song “Souvenir”, which itself contains the album’s title within its lyric, you get the distinct feeling that this is very much the duo’s comfort zone.  Jason is a builder of fine banjos and a workshop is very much home to him, a place where presumably many of these songs are born.  The sixteen songs and tunes sound relatively simple, but that’s the nature of good folk music, to make us feel it is flowing with little effort, when in reality, a lot of effort goes into making music sound this good.  For their seventh album, the duo take to their barn in Horsefly, British Columbia in order to record these songs in just six days and much of it sounds as live as possible, with little further embellishment, aside from the fuller band sound on such songs as “Sour Queen” and “Been All Around This World”, where the fiddles, pedal steel, mandolin and upright bass come out to play, courtesy of Grace Forrest, Trent Freeman, Marc Jenkins, John Reischman and Patrick Metzger respectively.  Pharis and Jason continue to make earthy American music, which feels like it grows right out of the ground beneath their feet.

Flick the Dust Off | Dick Gaughan – A Different Kind of Love Song | Celtic Music CM 017 | 1983

Coming after arguably Gaughan’s finest album A Handful of Earth, with the collaborative album Parallel Lines with Andy Irvine sandwiched between, A Different Kind of Love Song sees Gaughan taking a political stance with some fine song writing of his own, mixed in with some carefully chosen non originals, such as Joe South’s “Games People Play” and Ewan Maccoll’s “The Father’s Song”.  Once again Leon Rosselson’s songwriting is featured as on the previous LP, this time with the controversial song “Stand Up for Judas”, which effectively reversed the perception of the gospels.  The title song, written by Gaughan, is almost an apology for writing and singing songs of a more political nature, in fact I recall some reviewers at the time wishing for the Labour Party to be re-elected as soon as possible, so that Gaughan could get back to singing traditional material.  The album is also notable for its fatter sound, helped along by the inclusion of a full band including Dave Pegg’s familiar folk rock bass contribution.  Possibly the stand out song is Gaughan’s meditation on war, with the powerful “Think Again”, though the sentiment has soured slightly as the Russians definitely do want war forty years on.

Singled Out | Buffy Sainte-Marie – Soldier Blue | RCA2081 | 1971

As a 13 year old schoolboy, the hot topics of the day would usually centre around the movies some of the older looking boys and girls managed to get into the theatres and see, and wearing those triumphs very much on their sleeves in the school playground the next day.  One day it would be Candy, the next day Straw Dogs or A Clockwork Orange.  Some of these X-rated films became stuff of legend, usually for either its sexual content or its violence.  One such film was Soldier Blue, the American Revisionist Western directed by Ralph Nelson and starring Candice Bergen, Peter Strauss, and Donald Pleasence, which was inspired by events of the 1864 Sand Creek massacre in the Colorado Territory.  Up to this point, Western heroes had been typically portrayed by John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, cowboy heroes, whilst the noisy Indians galloped around collecting scalps.  Almost overnight I became aware of the plight of the Native American and that we had actually been sold down the river.  Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote and performed the theme song to the film, a moving performance with a strong message.  The American establishment declared the film anti-American and therefore the film and the song sank without a trace, however the Canadian singer managed to have a top ten hit with the song in the UK.

Fifty Years Ago | Jethro Tull – Living in the Past | Chrysalis CJT 1 | June 1972

Released between Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, in July 1972, the Living in the Past double album set is a kind of ‘story so far’ compilation release, not so much a greatest hits, but a hotchpotch of singles, outtakes, live cuts and obscurities.  Lavishly packaged for its time, the album is dressed in a fabulous gatefold sleeve complete with colour booklet, presented like a photograph album, with a variety of band shots either on stage, at play or at ease.  Some of the most memorable singles are included on the album, including “Witches Promise”, “Life’s a Long Song” and the title track, memorable for its “Take Five” time signature and infectious bass line.  Among the singles, there is a representative track from each of the band’s first four albums, notably “Locomotion Breath” from Aqualung and “Song for Jeffrey” from the band’s 1968 debut This Was.  Two extended live tracks are also included, recorded at a charity concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall.   

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