Tuesday, 8 September 2015

EVENSONG. Jackie Oates • One Minute Lullabies #3 : Sleepers Awake

This is an abridged version of a Mike Heron song written before-before, in the days of the Incredible String Band. I had never heard of Jackie but trawling through her youtube stuff found re-workings of fine English folk songs, tastefully arranged, gently tendered.

It is good that young performers eschew the imperative of singer-songwriting, the culture is rich in what was once, before Billy Bragg and the rest of the vermin, properly called folksong and it should have new life breathed into it.

Anything, by the way, which included the exhortation, Sleepers Awaken, would, in my view, usefully replace the infantile tedium of Long to reign over us......


the noblest prospect said...

Excellent, cheers Mr Smith. That's a lovely stroll round Addison's Walk. You'd struggle to get me in a fucking punt, mind. tnp

Bungalow Bill said...

Great thanks Mr I, just the ticket.

call me ishmael said...

I could talk, gentlemen, until Kingdom Come, about the Incredible String Band, a bright, sparkling gem which never dulls, never fails to gladden my heart, but I will try not to.

Heron and Wiliamson wrote several hugely complex songs which changed time and key and instrumentation yet were of a piece, riffs, reels and ragas merging seamlessly, whole and satisfying - Cold Days of February, Darling Belle and A Very Cellular Song I may have posted or recommended over the years, and I believe that in some cases my suggestions have been well-received, mr Richard in Ulster and yourselves come to mind though there are others. Mike Heron, post-ISB had some success with a couple of bands which he led, Mike Heron's Reputation and Heron. By this time he was writing mainly rock songs for a more or less standard line-up augmented occasionally by a bit of dance, here and there; everybody played on these recording sessions, even Lady Sir Reg, IBS having influenced everyone active in the so-called Summer of Love, the Stones, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Family, Fleetwood Mac, Richard Thompson and on and on. His later albums I treasure similarly, nearly every song is of a vastly superior quality, Singing the Dolphin Through, Residential Boy, Stranded in Iowa, Do it Yourself, recorded by bigger commercial names these would have been huge, Notwithstanding all this, Heron and the IBS's 1969 Sleepers Awake is a bit of a turkey, containing a break which is wholly incongruous, it makes lyrical sense but aurally, for me at any rate, it grates and I think Jackie was wise, considering that she calls her collection Lullabies, to omit it from her version, You will find it on youtube Sleepers Awake, the Incredible String Band, from Hard Rope and Silken Twine, I believe, avoid the version recorded a few years back, at the Lowrie, by a revived-but-not-quite ISB. I did see that tour, when it came to Inverness, a hundred and forty miles from me, with a sea crossing, and Mike Heron was as gracious, modest and charismatic as when I had first met him in Birmingham's Locarno, in 1977.

As I said, I had never heard of Jackie Oates until a week or so back; she won't be a big star but she makes very pleasant, authentic music. If she comes my way, I will go and see her. If you see her, say hello.

I have done that walk, myself, mr tnp, and share your aversion to punts.

Good to se you both; songs of hope, that's what we need.

Bungalow Bill said...

Yes, songs of hope and songs of innocence. Looking at them when they were young is very poignant. Liquid Acrobat As Regards The AIr, just reading and saying those words is uplifting.

call me ishmael said...

Be glad, mr bungalow bill, as we stringies say, for the song has no ending.