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

 

 


Rarities: ‘Byker Hill’ South Korean mini LP replica CD

7 May 2017

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 7 May 2017

Byker Korea 06

Mini album CDs are scaled-down reproductions of albums that were originally issued as 12” LPs and are perhaps most popular in Japan. Packaging reproduces that of the original vinyl LP rather than any later CD reissues and will often include any inserts or inner sleeves that may not be included in the standard CD.  A paper insert with additional information in both English and Japanese may also be included and an ‘obi strip’ – a small strip of paper or card wrapped around the cover – is a standard feature.

This is an August 2015 release of Martin’s 1967 Byker Hill album from Media Arte Records and rather than being from Japan this was issued in South Korea. It’s something I picked up around a year ago but have been reluctant to post here as I wasn’t sure if it was a legitimate release or one of the many available pirate/bootleg issues. I was recently reassured by David Suff of Topic Records that this was indeed a legitimate issue so I’m happy to post some detailed pictures here.

As you’ll see, reproduction of the original Topic LP sleeve and label are of a high quality and while the mastering on some Japanese albums gives a notoriously ‘brittle’ sound, the sound quality here is at least as good as the standard issue Topic CD of the same album.

There are now a number of Japanese mini album CDs of Martin’s solo and duo albums available – just last week a pirate version of his first album was released – but this is the only issue I can confirm as a legitimately licenced product. As it’s also the only one I actually own I can’t vouch for the quality of any other releases in terms of the overall packaging or sound quality so I guess a general ‘buyer beware’ warning should go along with any of these items. And of course, it goes without saying that neither Martin nor Topic Records (or any of the other relevant artists or labels) will receive the necessary royalties from pirate releases.


Martin Carthy, 24 April 2017

27 April 2017

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 27 April 2017

Here are a few shots from when I caught up with Martin in Stockport a couple of days ago. The Midway is a regular venue that probably seats less than a hundred and has a classic folk club feel. This was a re-arranged gig after Martin had been too ill to perform two weeks earlier.

He again made a comment about “leaving things behind”, this time when introducing High Germany. The set was very similar to recent gigs but with the unusual addition of Bows Of London, played on guitar for apparently only the third time in public (as an attempt to ‘challenge himself’).

There were noticeable cracks in both his Martin and Fylde guitars which he reported were made at the hands of airport baggage handlers. I’ve tried to highlight the damage on these cropped images but they’re not very clear. All but one of these are of the Martin guitar:

First set:
Her Servant Man
High Germany
The Trees They Do Grow High
The Downfall Of Paris
When I Was A Little Boy
Sir Patrick Spens
Bill Norrie
A Stitch In Time

Second set:
Long John
The Heroes of St Valery
Oor Hamlet
Bows of London
Willie’s Lady
The Devil and the Feathery Wife
Harry Lime Theme (encore)


Martin Carthy, 21 January 2017

22 January 2017

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 22 January 2017

Here are a few shots from Martin’s gig at the historic Band On The Wall in Manchester last night. An interesting gig in that he mentioned during the second half that he’s not made an album in ten years (actually, it’s closer to 13!) and that the frustrating thing about making albums is that you end up “leaving things behind” so he’s been actively revisiting some older material in recent times. This led to him playing Bruton Town, which I’ve never heard him play before, and High Germany, which he’s had in his current set on-and-off for a couple of years. None of this is new as he revisits old material consistently but I also recall that he played Streets Of Forbes (which he named ‘Ben Hall’) at his 2015 Band On The Wall gig so I wonder if this is a long preamble to some sort of recording project where he revisits older material. I could ask him of course, but where’s the fun in that?

First set:
Her Servant Man
John Barleycorn
The Trees They Do Grow High
Sir Patrick Spens
The Downfall Of Paris
Bill Norrie
A Stitch In Time

Second set:
Don’t Go In Them Lion’s Cage Tonight
Long John
Young Morgan
Georgie
Swaggering Boney
Bruton Town
High Germany
My Son John
Funeral Party (Invitation To A Funeral)
Prince Heathen
The Devil And The Feathery Wife (encore)

 


Martin Carthy: “The Bonny Lass of Anglesey”

2 October 2016

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 2 October 2015

Here’s another video of the Crosley Cruiser record player. This is the single version of “The Bonny Lass of Anglesey” from 1976.

Martin Carthy: Vocals, guitar
Tony Cox: Synthesiser

Trad/Arr. Carthy

7″ single
b/w
Palaces of Gold

Released in the UK 1976 by Topic Records STOP 7002

Also on the album “Crown Of Horn
First released in the UK 1976 by Topic Records 12TS300


#MC50+ Martin Carthy: Live in Yorkshire, 2012

1 January 2016

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 1 January 2016

As an addendum to my 2015 #MC50 posts and a thank you to everyone who has supported this site during the last year by commenting on my posts or by sharing and retweeting my videos and comments on Facebook and Twitter I’m posting a bonus clip just in time for the new year. Or rather, to keep things more manageable I’m splitting the audio and posting two clips!

These two videos represent the entire first and second halves of Martin’s solo set at the now-defunct Rock at Maltby folk club in South Yorkshire in 2012. From some of the comments and emails I receive I’m aware that not everyone visiting this site has an opportunity to see Martin live on a regular basis (or ever, in many cases) so hopefully this will give a flavour of the live experience in extended form. The two clips are a fair representation of his recent solo sets, with a selection of songs spanning the entirety of his career, a handful of instrumentals and a couple of so-far unrecorded oddities

The recording is straight from the mixing desk so the sound quality is excellent (with very little audience audio) and I’ve left it more-or-less intact so you’ll hear complete introductions, the odd false start and Martin’s characteristic tuning up. In fact, you may notice that this is the gig from which I sourced the audio for my earlier video “Martin Carthy Tunes Up”!

Incidentally, the Rock at Maltby may be no more but it’s replacement in the form of the Roots Music Club, Doncaster is still going strong. Find details of their upcoming gigs here.

Enjoy the clips and have a great New Year.


Recorded live at the Rock at Maltby, 2012
Martin Carthy: Vocals, Guitar

First set:
Jim Jones
Green Broom
The Downfall of Paris
The Trees They Do Grow High
Sir Patrick Spens
Swaggering Boney
Limbo

Second set:
Don’t Go In Them Lions Cage Tonight
Lofty Tall Ship
The Royal Oak
Farewell Lovely Nancy
Princess Royal
The Lochmaben Harper
Johnny Sands
The Heroes of St Valery
Ruffled Park Poachers
The Devil and the Feathery Wife

Live sound: Stuart Palmer


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