Day Three and we arrived just in time to catch Wizz Jones. A new name to me I’m ashamed to admit but someone’s who’s been a bit of a legend amongst musicians for the odd 50 years or so. I was chatting to a nice chap from Acoustic Guitar magazine who was there to take some shots of Wizz and he put him right up there with the likes of Bert Jansch. I can see why. There are some guitar players who make it just look so natural and Wizz is one of them. Employing a bluesy picking style his fingers were as every bit as fast as Pritam’s on Day Two, although I’m guessing Wizz is just a year or two older. He did one track about a bloke who raced pigeons (basically all his mates said his pigeon would die ‘cos the race was from Italy and there was a big storm which killed most of the other birds, but his bird made it…kind of the pigeon version of Rocky) which I found strangely moving. It was nice to catch up with Jim Moray again after not seeing him live for a few years. He’s doing a lot to keep folk moving in the right direction, often using (close your eyes here trad folkies) computers and stuff to make his music. Today was a much more traditional set though, mainly Jim and his guitar…although he did manage to work in some nice feedback looping at the end of his set which woke up more than a few members of the audience who were enjoying that Sunday stupor.
Ade 'Bad Shepherd' Edmondson
If Jim woke them up, The Bad Shepherds got them dancing, or pogoing at least. The brainchild of Ade Edmondson (in his words ‘the twat off the telly’) they basically take such punk and new wave classics as 'London Calling' and 'Once In a Lifetime' and do them in a folky style. It sounds awful but it somehow works brilliantly. Ade keeps the level between comedy and respect for the music just right, neatly avoiding falling into a Barron Knights style of parody that would quickly become oh so tiresome. I thoroughly enjoyed trying to guess the intro’s even though I failed miserably on most counts and am now cursing myself for not getting a signed album after the show. The key moment of the set for me was their rendition of Steeleye Span’s ‘All Around My Hat’ in which they replaced the traditional lines with ‘And if anyone should ask me the reason why I’m wearing it, mind your fucking business, it’s my fucking hat!’. Genius.
The rest of the afternoon passed by far too quickly. Carthy and Swarbrick were as awesome as ever (folk gods amongst men) and I was astounded to read that Dave Swarbrick was pretty much dead and buried a decade or so ago after battling emphysema (it appears that The Telegraph even printed his obituary). After a double lung transplant, whilst he’s clearly not as fit as a fiddle, his fiddling’s certainly fit enough to accompany Martin Carthy in an hour long set of lush trad folk.
'Tull' rocking after all these years...
Before we knew it the Tull were on stage. I’m not as familiar with their stuff as I should be really. I sense a good session on Spotify looming. 'Heavy Horses' and 'Aqualung' I knew though and they were given rousing renditions by the band, some of whom are now well into their 60’s. Ian Anderson still does a little bit of that one legged business and plenty of Pete Townsend style windmilling using his flute as a substitute guitar. I’m not sure that the voice is as strong as it once was but the playing was spot on. I’d have liked to have heard ‘Living In The Past’ (NB: due to bus related issues we left after the first encore, so if they did play it I curse West Midlands Transport and their rubbishy service), but I guess true Tull fans were happy enough for it to be left out of a rollicking set of folk rock gold.
To keep my inner train spotter happy I also saw, Mary Hampton, The Pastels and Tenniscoats, Jackie Oates, Vetiver, Wolf People, Kelli Ali, Hunter Robinson (an awesome American dude with a banjo and voice like thick dark chocolate...make of that what you will... who did covers of old blues numbers from the 20's), Cara Dillon, Ella Edmondson and Mama Matrix…all good but if I carry on writing I’ll never stop.
Congratulations to all concerned for another cracking Moseley Folk Festival.