Better never than late, but I've never let that stop me. Yes, before leaving the good folk of Moseley Folk alone for another year I particularly wanted to pick out a few highlights that may have slipped under the radar. The Bohemian Jukebox tent was a goldmine. Friday night saw both Gemma Quarterman (see Sound Bar review below this one) and the delightful Lucy and the Caterpillar. I missed Lucy's set at The Great Escape in May (damn those tricky set clashes) but caught the full experience this time round. She reminds me a little of that woman from Ab Fab...Bubble I think it her name was (Jane Horrocks...star of Little Voice)...crossed with Regina Spector. Cute as a button and sweet as a treacle pudding she sings songs about Baked Beans and Crisps and Red Wine. Sounds like my perfect meal. If you like your anti-folk quirky, perky and every so slightly murky (what else was I going to rhyme with quirky and perky eh?) you'll love Lucy and the Caterpillar (that's just Lucy btw...the caterpillar is the name of her guitar...obviously).
Saturday at the Boho Jukebox tent saw two festival highlights for me. First up Albino. I described them to Lady B as sounding a little bit like the classic soundtrack to Bugsy Malone. Lead Albino, Ben, has a wondefully rich vocal which seems to be mellowing nicely as he gets older. Musically there's some jazz, anti-folk, Bonzo Dog Doodah band nuttiness and lounge band sophistication in there. Their live take on Bon Viveur (you can hear a recorded version on their My Space page) was quite brilliant. You don't get the phrase 'bon viveur' used enough these days do you. I 'spose there ain't many of 'em left. The world seems quite happy with bright blue alcopops and frozen turkey gonads dipped in E numbers. Ahh well. Like a nice foie gras (the goose friendly version naturally), Albino are there to be enjoyed by those of us who appreciate the finer things in life. Full marks for including the lyric 'ectoplasmic slag' in a song by the way.
My next Boho treat were Kinkajou - gothic folk meets Jacques Brel...and every bit as good as that sounds. During more than one moment I found myself mouthing a silent 'wow' to Lady B. Lead Kinkajou Polly is a spine tingingly lush vocalist and the songs are populated with wrong 'un's, sex in graveyards and all kinds of other dark, delicious stuff. Just listen to Nocturne. As a huge fan of Marc Almond's masterpiece Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters (think about it...) this really hit the spot. I loved 'em so much I bought TWO CD's, both of which I can heartily recommend to anyone with ears. Can we get them back up to Birmingham again soon. Pretty please? Away from the Boho Jukebox tent the Main and Lunar Stages kept up a pretty high standard for the whole three days. Tuung tinged (and featuring their songwriter Sam) The Accidental were the pick of Friday night. Gentle without being too fey, it's the sound of an Autumn wood as the sun sets.
Saturday started off with the honey voiced king of Soul Folk (that's another of my new genres) Vijay Kishore (pictured). Why the hell Vijay ain't knocking the James Blunt's of this world into the bargain bin I'll never know, but he has a voice to die for. He was swiftly followed by Ben Calvert, who blends Nick Drake with Belle and Sebastian and adds a healthy dash of 21st century realism to boot. Just check out his new album The Broken Family Daysaver...it's artists like Ben who'll keep folk alive and meaningful. Peter Moren (of Peter, Bjorn and John...Young Folks...the whistling song) fame played an all too short set, including a Elvis Costello flavoured take on A-ha's Take On Me. Brilliant. The Destroyers (pictured at the top of this review) blew the place apart (once again), with Paul Murphy adding his mad Uncle on acid magic and the day's closer Jose Gonzales divided the audience with an 'he's brilliant' / 'he's boring' set. You can't doubt his talent but, as a live performer, I'd say he's probably more suited to a smaller, intimate venue like The Glee.
Sunday (unlike the other two days) was a lot more 'pure folk'. I've mentioned the magical last ever show by Ian Campbell - a true folk legend, long due some serious reappraisal. I can't find a MySpace page for him. Over to the fans to set one up? Waterson: Carthy (pictured) - the closest you'll ever get to folk royalty - briefly stopped time. Standing there in the park listening to Norma Waterson you got that spooky feeling of connection with generations past. The whole thing was wrapped up by our Seth. You can't knock the guy. He plays fiddle like Hendrix played the axe, it's almost part of him. Whilst he respects the history and culture of 'folk' he's doing plenty to bring it into the modern world and in front of a new audience. And, most important of all, despite the fame and fortune, he seems like a bloody nice bloke who's as at home playing in his local pub as he is in front of thousands of people at Glasto.