One of the reasons I began to play guitar and sing folksongs is James Taylor. His brilliant composition, interesting melodies and virtuoso guitar work captivated me in the 70s... well, the great news is that he is back!
His brand new album entitled Before This World, released in the summer, has had fans from far and wide rediscovering the talents of this troubadour.
Surprisingly, Taylor has never had a number one album in any chart worldwide. This new album has gone to number one in America - not even Sweet Baby James did that - and is being heralded as one of his great works.
On the album, Taylor sings many wistful love songs, which is not surprising, but alongside these he sings of rights of passage, odes to spring fertility and folk songs (yes, folk songs), some of which would make even the diehard, sandal wearing, bearded folkie put down their real ale and nod in approval.
You will usually hear a rendering of a J.T. song at folk clubs. This new offering will bring a new wave of interest in his work from a new generation of audience. Watch out - the great folk scare of the 60s is making its return!
One of the great things about folk music is the way it celebrates and connects the past and present of an area. Local stories, historical and fantastical, may feature – King Edmund and the wolf, Black Shuck, Woolpit’s green children – but the people who are given a voice in the songs are even more likely to be unknown. Part of the ‘us’ in the ongoing saga between ‘them and us’. The same could be said of many poems, as can be heard at Poetry Aloud, Bury’s poetry café, which meets on the last Tuesday of each month at The Bay Tree Café in St John’s Street.
This month, on September 23, there is an opportunity to enjoy Dean Parkin’s Poem for Suffolk at the Hyndman Centre in Hospital Road. Dean was born and raised near Lowestoft and has recently toured the county collecting contributions - from schools, old people’s homes and all age groups between - which he has moulded into an entertainment of words and music for all to enjoy.
He said: “The very best Suffolk word is SQUIT. I suggest a campaign to get people to use it nationally. I have never found a better word for what it describes.”
The definition in Claxton’s Suffolk Dialect of the Twentieth Century is ‘foolish utterances, nonsense’. You know the sort of thing - puffed up, fiddle-faddling old rubbish. You hear it in advertising, at conferences, most meetings, overheard conversations, cold callers. The sort of thing that makes you raise an eyebrow and sigh, and the only response is turn away, shake your head and say to yourself, “What a lot of old SQUIT.”
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 – MILKMAID FOLK CLUB. Constitutional Club. 8pm. Members £5, non mems £6. Showcase. Dryad, supported by Robert Casrellan.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 – THE DOVE P.H. 8pm. Sing-around. Everyone welcome, young,
old and others. Real ale. Pork scratchings and birdseed.
SOHAM FOLK CLUB. The Fountain. 8pm-10.30pm. Contact Terry Stoodley.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – HORNINGSEA FOLK CLUB. Plough and Fleece. 8pm-11pm. Contact Phil 01638 741 743. Check before going.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 – MILKMAID FOLK CLUB. Constitutional Club. 8pm. Friends £10, non £12. Artisan, supported by Stef and Ron.