CDs by Mal Brown

Some years ago now, I reviewed for this site an excellent CD by Mal Brown called Sharp Stones and Tender Hearts.

He recently sent me a couple of his earlier CDs. Rule Changer is another music CD, and it’s just as good as the later album, with a generous 19 tracks, most of them written by Mal (including his setting of Walter de la Mare’s ‘Trees’ and the co-written ‘Johnny Jones’ Rabbit’, plus the traditional ‘Angels’. Mal’s excellent lyrics are supported by some fine tunes, some sounding almost traditional, some leaning towards music hall, but all good singable songs, with some sympathetic instrumental backing and classy harmonies.

Poems, Pies and Peas is a collection of poems and monologues, mostly without music. Not usually my thing, but this includes some hilarious content. I was particularly gratified to learn the real story of the Mona Lisa. 🙂

Prices and contact details as follows.

1CD – £10
2CDs – £15
3CDs – £20

Plus post and package.

  • Email – malbrownace@gmail.com
  • Phone – 01743 861159.

David Harley

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CD review – HANZ ARAKI & KATHRYN CLAIRE

Last in a series of reviews for Folking.com of a series of CDs on a seasonal theme. While this one is loosely linked to summer, it’s largely focused on work and emigration issues.

HANZ ARAKI & KATHRYN CLAIRE – The Emigrant’s Song/The Laborer’s Lament (The Celtic Conspiracy CELCON003)

David Harley

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CD review: Hanz Araki & Kathryn Claire (again)

Yes, it’s another CD from their seasonal series, reviewed for Folking.com:

HANZ ARAKI & KATHRYN CLAIRE – As I Roved Out: Songs Of Spring (The Celtic Conspiracy CELCON002)

Just one to go…

David Harley

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Folklife West magazine

I’m no longer writing for Folklife West, but it’s well worth checking out for folk-related venue information as well as its articles..

David Harley

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An interesting resource for folkies

Recommended to me by my friend Andi Lee (The Ashen): a Mixcloud podcast series by Jon Wilks at The Old Songs Podcast. Here’s the current listing:

  • Ep12 – The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Banks of Green Willow’, ft. Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne
  • Ep11 – The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Lord Gregory’, ft. Burd Ellen
  • Ep10: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘The Leaving Of Liverpool’, ft. Jim Moray
  • Ep9: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Myn Mair’, ft. Owen Shiers (Cynefin)
  • Ep8: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Hal-An-Tow’ ft. Lisa Knapp
  • Ep7: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Dives and Lazarus’ ft. Nick Hart
  • Ep6: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Hard Times Of Old England’ ft. Billy Bragg
  • Ep5: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘An Acre of Land’ ft. Paul Sartin
  • Episode 4 – “The Sweet Nightingale” The Old Songs Podcast with Jackie Oates & Jon Wilks
  • Episode 3 – “On Humber Bank” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Ben Walker
  • Episode 2 – “Tam Lin” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Jim Moray
  • Episode 1: “Henry Martin / Lofty Tall Ship” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Nick Hart

I’ve been dipping in and out of UK and Irish folk music for many decades now, and am well-acquainted with most of these songs, but still found much to enjoy here.

David Harley

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CD review – Dan Penn

Another review for folking.com, of an album by Dan Penn. Southern Soul isn’t really my thing, but it’s a pleasant CD.

David Harley

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‘Silk & Steel’ – video for Collective Aid in Penzance

I don’t normally promote my own material on this blog (and yes, I did say further posts here would be rare if they happened at all), but it’s for a good cause…

Here’s the link to a video I recorded for Global Jamming St. Ives in support of Collective Aid, in Cornwall.

Here’s a link to their Just Giving page, if you care to contribute: they’re raising funds for a new van to help their operations in Northern France, supporting displaced people in Calais, Dunkirk and the Balkans.

Words and Music (c) David Harley

Here’s an MP3 recorded at Centre Sound, London, in the 1980s.

And here are the lyrics.

Rapid-fire repartee, quicksilver conversation
Tongues that stroked and struck, caressed and clashed.
I remember all too well the arching of your eyebrows
When you pruned my self-importance when you saw that I’d been rash
And left my lines over-extended, and my flanks undefended:
Tactically, I never could compete with you.
But you always held back from the coup de grâce
So finally you met your Waterloo.

In the long years since I left you, I could never quite forget
Through all those other beds and battlefields.
It’s been so long since we crossed blades, and I forget the finer shades
Of the skirmishes where we laid steel to steel.
But the silk of your caress, and your blazing red-haired temper
Left a scar that never really did quite heal.
Like your after-midnight tenderness: somehow across the years
I never quite pull free of silk and steel
And I never quite cut free of silk and steel.

Silk and Steel is actually a type of guitar string with silk wound round steel. The song isn’t about guitar strings…

(Why would you use strings like that? Because they’re a bit easier on the fingers, though the tension is quite different to what you find on nylon strings, so the tone isn’t any more ‘classical’. In my experience, they didn’t last very well, so I didn’t use them for long.}

David Harley: vocal, acoustic guitar.

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A fond farewell…

After discussion with Fliss Burke, who originally launched the Sabrinaflu site, it’s been agreed that it’s not really practical for us to continue to keep this resource adequately updated even after the Covid-19 crisis abates. I will, for the moment, leave the regular events page as it is, and if I’m contacted directly about changes/corrections, I’ll do my best to flag them here, but the page is inevitably going to be less and less accurate as time goes on. The Events Listings/Resources page does list some alternative resources, though I won’t be continuing to maintain that page either. I’m leaving some other pages up, but again I won’t be adding to them.  However, I will for the moment be making corrections to any pages if advised via the Contact form.

I’m not in a position to go through checking links at this point, I’m afraid, so don’t go to anything without checking with the organizer or venue. But then, that was always my advice!

It’s been a pleasure maintaining this resource, and I’ve learned a lot from it. Unfortunately, issues with age, health and (in my case) geographical location make it impractical to continue to maintain it. However, Fliss and I will continue for the moment to maintain the Sabrinaflu Facebook Group and you’re more than welcome to post relevant links and other material there. It doesn’t take a lot of moderation, and if anyone is willing and able to help out with the administration – preferably someone younger! – we’d be very happy to hear from you. Again, you can use the contact form here if you’d rather not contact us via the group.

Best wishes

David Harley

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Closing/suspended events

Because of the Covid-19 health crisis, a large number of regular events have already been cancelled or at least suspended. I’m afraid I can’t promise to keep on top of all the events listed here as they go offline and (hopefully) resume further down the line. Of course, I’ll remove anything I know to have stopped happening altogether in due course. Where I can, I’ll continue to repost any relevant information on the Sabrinaflu group page on Facebook. Whether you decide to go to events that are still running is up to you, of course, at least until the government decrees otherwise: for the moment I’m leaving the list intact with contact details – where I have them – so that you can check on current status.

David Harley

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New session in Bishops Castle

News from Trevor Hedges:

“Since the demise of the popular folk session at The Sun Inn in Clun we’ve been looking for a new home – and it looks as if we may have found one. You probably know that The Six Bells in Bishops Castle is in new hands and Mandy, Keith and the team have already made big improvements to the place. There used be a great session in The Six Bells twenty-odd years ago and we’re hoping that with Stuart Altman and Scott Zwetsloot in the chair we’ll be able to resurrect some rather excellent traditional music. The first session is on March 25th – we hope you’ll come along and give it a whirl!”

Added to the Regular Events page.

David Harley

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