Posted by Kevin Boyd, 8 December 2013
The Gift Band returned to the road in December 2013 and I caught their show at the Met Theatre in Bury on 7 December. Here are a few shots from that show.
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 7 December 2013
Here are a few shots from recent solo gig in my old hometown of Doncaster. I took a couple of test shots and decided the lighting was just too poor so didn’t take any more. However, a week later I decided to upload them and see if I could retrieve anything. With a bit of judicious tweaking it turns out that they’re just about okay… ish! They’re not the best shots you’ll see by any means but I thought they were worth sharing anyway.
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Posted by Kevin Boyd, 18 November 2013
On 20 October 2013 Smooth Operations Productions, through their offshoot Delphonic Music of Oldham, Lancashire, released the final in their trilogy of Martin Carthy live archive recordings. Whilst the first and second of this set dated from the early and late 1970s the new release was recorded in Whitby in 1984.
The trilogy has provided us with a total of 20 previously unreleased live recordings, several of which feature arrangements that differ froam those on Martin’s studio recordings. Two of the songs have not been previously released by Martin while a further four have only been available outside his core discography.
The Crafty Maid’s Policy and Funeral Party (aka Invitation To A Funeral) are previously unreleased by Martin in any form.
Johnny Sands (on Live in St Albans, 1973) was on the 2011 live album The January Man: Live in Belfast, 1978 and appears on an obscure BBC transcription disc from 1978.
The False Lover Won Back (on Live in Sidmouth, 1979) was a bonus track on the 2005 Castle Music reissue of Shearwater in a version from a 1972 John Peel session.
Green Wedding (on Live in Whitby, 1984) was sung on an unreleased Peel session on 3 October 1974 and appeared on the 2011 live album The January Man: Live in Belfast, 1978.
Oor Hamlet (on Live in Whitby, 1984) has long been a live favourite and was released on the 2001 Carthy Chronicles box set as well as the limited edition Live at Ruskin Mill CD.
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 26 October 2013
As mentioned in an earlier post, Martin has recently been playing his new PRS guitar on tour with Dave Swarbrick. I got a chance to see the pair at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and, as usual, took a few shots of the gig. Afterwards Martin was kind enough to sit for a moment while I took a few shots of him playing the new instrument and some close-ups that I’ve used to update the earlier post.
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 27 September 2013
Updated: 26 October 2013
In a previous post I wrote about Martin Carthy’s signature model 000-18MC Martin guitar which replaced the 000-18 model he’d been playing almost exclusively since he bought it in the mid-sixties. The new version has continued to be his everyday guitar since he debuted it during the first 4 Martins UK tour in 2002 and if you’ve seen him play live at any point in the last 50 years you’ll almost certainly have seen him play one of these two guitars. Only occasionally is he seen playing anything other than a Martin – the blue Fender Telecaster from his time with Steeleye Span springs to mind and he still travels to virtually every solo gig with his trusty Roger Bucknall Fylde, even if he rarely uses it for more than two or three specific songs.
However, audiences on the current Carthy & Swarbrick tour will have seen Martin playing a quite different guitar. The immediately obvious difference is that this new model features a slightly larger, rounder body with a cutaway section at the top of the neck. This is in fact a Martin Simpson signature model Paul Reed Smith (PRS) guitar that has been specially adjusted to suit Carthy’s playing style. The guitar is based on the PRS Angelus model but what sets it apart is that it’s one of the ‘private stock’ builds, which means it’s made from Paul’s best woods and is only available at a premium or to his friends.
The guitar was a gift from Simpson himself to Carthy and before he handed it over he asked an old friend of mine, respected luthier Stuart Palmer, to make the adjustments necessary to accommodate Martin’s unique turning. There is no zero fret on the PRS, unlike the unusual adjustment that was built into the Carthy signature model 000-18MC (unique for a Martin Guitars model) but Stuart did recut the nut to allow for the heavier strings. He also replaced the machine heads and gave the guitar a ‘general tweak’.
The photograph below is of mine and Stuart’s friend Mick Swinson giving the guitar a trial run in the back room of Stu’s workshop at Electro Music in Doncaster, South Yorkshire in October 2012. Mick explained to me the significance of Stuart’s changes at the time, “To put things in perspective, the most common gauge of top string is probably a 12, though thats a bit heavy for some. Carthy uses an 18 – the man’s a beast! Curiously he also uses an 18 on his second string as well, which is just plain weird.”
A month after this post was first published I saw Martin in Manchester and he was kind enough to sit for a moment while I took a few shots of him with the guitar and a few close-ups which I’ve now added to this post.
Thanks to Mick and Stuart for the photograph of Mick and for providing additional information on the guitar and thanks to Martin for his time and patience.
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 15 June 2013
As reported in an earlier post, Delphonic Music are releasing three download-only albums of exclusive live Martin Carthy material. The second of these albums is released on Sunday 16 June. Live in Sidmouth 1979 follows on from the recent 1973 live set and contains seven more previously unreleased tracks.
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