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Up and Coming Gig

Yes folks, those of you who will be desperate to get out of the house by then, and are within travelling distance, should note that the annual Helensburgh kids charity gig goes ahead at Coopers, James St on Tuesday 28th.

Some great live music to set you up for the second half of the festive season.

Should be kicking off at about 8:30 – 9:00pm and Harmonica Lewinsky will be on around 10:00pm.


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Rory McLeod

Listening to Skip James reminded me a bit of Rory McLeod whose songwriting on occasion borrows some techniques from James. I’ve written about Rory before. He’s a fascinating character who has travelled and performed all over the world. The factoid that’s usually mentioned in connection with Rory is that he was once a fire eater (true apparently)

He now lives in Orkney and I found this fantastic clip of him on youtube. You may not have heard a harmonica like this before as it is tuned to a harmonic minor scale giving a real ethnic quality to any music played on it.

If you’ve never heard a performer calling upon Brahms Slavonic dances, perhaps a wee bit from Dvorak’s Symphony for the New World, Sonny Terry, the blues, the spoons and maybe some music played by a gypsy violinist at a restaurant in Hungary then give it a click.

A a bonus here is the track which introduced me to the music of Rory McLeod.

Rory McLeod – Love Like a Rock

The Blues Masters – Skip James

Born in 1902, Skip James was the son of a bootlegger turned preacher. James was later to follow in his father’s footsteps in both careers. He recorded a selection of blues and gospel, covers and his own compositions, in 1931 for Paramount after which he disappeared from the radar. In fact were it not for some blues enthusiasts tracing him to a hospital in Tunica Mississippi in 1960, his obscurity might have been his main legacy.

However by 1964 he was recording again and appeared along with fellow re-discovered bluesman Son House at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964. He played much of his material in an open D minor tuning. The film below is remarkable showing James at age 65 and only two years before his death from cancer.

Further info here