Martin Carthy: 9 September 2019

10 September 2019

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 10 September 2019

The Rose and Monkey Hotel is a new venue on the edge of Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter and right next door to the historic Band On The Wall. It’s a small venue and tonight’s sold out gig was nicely crammed.

Martin continued his recent exploration of his older back catalogue and gave further hints that a new album might be on the horizon. John Barleycorn, High Germany and The Bedmaking (a request) are quite familiar by now and tonight he included the slightly less familiar (in terms of recent gigs) Bruton Town to the list of resurrected songs from his ‘60s and ‘70s repertoire. It came with an amusing intro featuring Davy Graham breaking into Martin’s 1960s flat and Martin ‘teaching’ Davy the tune Moanin’, only to subsequently discover Davy had already recorded his own version.

I hadn’t previously realised that Martin actually wrote one of the verses to Mike Waterson’s A Stitch In Time, but that appears to be the case based on that song’s intro tonight. I’m not sure I’ve heard Martin sing The Taylor’s Britches since the late 1980s, although I have a niggling doubt about that – maybe I have heard him sing it more recently? Either way, it that was a nice amusing addition. Martin expressed his indifference towards the well-worn tropes characteristic of songs such as Harry Cox’s The Barley Straw, from which Martin cribbed the tune for The Foggy Dew.

Bendigo, Champion of England has been a relatively recent addition to his repertoire and the rest of the set was fairly familiar from recent gigs. Martin abandoned Young Morgan after forgetting the words and there were a couple of other touch-and-go memory lapses but nothing that came close to spoiling the night. The first set was pretty low-key and quite short but the second was much longer and a bit less restrained.

First set:
John Barleycorn
Her Servant Man
The Foggy Dew
Bruton Town
High Germany
A Stitch In Time
Bill Norrie

Second Set:
Don’t Go In Them Lions Cage Tonight
Bendigo, Champion of England
Young Morgan
Georgie
The Deserter
My Son John
The Bows of London
The Tailor’s Britches
Long John
The Bedmaking
Downfall of Paris
Ooh Hamlet

 

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Martin Carthy: 11 March 2019

12 March 2019

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 12 March 2019

It’s almost two years since my last Martin solo gig and this one was in the same venue. The Midway in Stockport is a proper old school folk club, with all the attendant pros and cons that come with grass roots music promotion. The seating was cozy to say the least, with people rammed into every available corner, and the lights took on a life of their own, deciding to stage a strike for at least 90% of the gig and only intermittently bursting into life at a few odd, unscheduled moments (see for example my Bows Of London video below at around 6:14).

The set was fairly familiar with only two items I’d not heard Martin sing before: Scarborough Fair has been back in his set recently in a version from Goatland originally learned for the BBC short drama Remember Me and there was a nice introduction referencing his experiences of that recording and his reaction to the finished version; Tea’s Made was one of only a handful of self-written songs regularly sung by Mike Waterson and it’s nice to hear Martin keeping this one alive and with Mike’s introduction/explanation pretty much entirely intact.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that Martin forgot the words to two songs during the evening: Bill Norrie missed a couple of verses (Martin stopped and gave a brief précis of the missing verses before carrying on) and The Devil And The Feathery Wife had to go without its last verse.

First Set:
The Bedmaking
Her Servant Man
Scarborough Fair
When I Was A Little Boy
Nancy Of London
Bill Norrie
A Stitch In Time

Second Set:
Don’t Go In Them Lion’s Cage Tonight
Bendigo, Champion Of England
The Deserter
High Germany
My Son John
The Downfall Of Paris
Invitation To A Funeral
The Bows Of London
Young Morgan
Georgie
The Devil And The Feathery Wife
Tea’s Made

 

 


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