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FOLK FOR ALL: From the Bury Free Press of January 22

Somewhat surprisingly, it was Lulu who inspired me to ponder upon the power of great songs and songwriters.

The BBC had searched its archives for artists covering Bob Dylan songs on television and it was so successful they decided to do a second programme called “Bob Dylan too.”

There were some decent covers included, but it quickly became evident that most of the classic versions had been shown in the first programme and the nadir came as a group of brightly dressed male dancers on the Lulu Show jumped around clutching tambourines, to – just in case you didn’t know the song title – “Mr Tambourine Man”

Dylan’s songs have been covered by a multitude of artists including Nina Simone, The Counting Crows, Rod Stewart, Jimi Hendrix, Nanci Griffiths, George Harrison and Johnny Cash. All of whom put their distinctive individual stamp on the songs, while the songs remained identifiably as Dylan’s.

Dylan himself was of course hugely influenced by Woody Guthrie, whose prolific output of memorable songs have been covered by numerous artists. Indeed, one of the standout albums in the Folk/American genre of the last couple of decades was Billy Bragg and Wilco’s “Mermaid Avenue.”

A pile of Woody’s lyrics and song ideas that he’d never managed to record, were given by his daughter, Nora, to Billy Bragg with the idea of him writing music to accompany the lyrics.

The powerful, moving and sometimes quirky nature of the songs that resulted is a testament not only to the musicianship and empathy of Billy and Wilco, but an enduring reminder of how great songs and songwriters live on.

Possibly my favourite album in this genre in the last year was a double CD of Ewan MacColl songs covered by contemporary artists including Eliza Carthy, Steve Earle, Jarvis Cocker and Christy Moore.

The highlight for me, though, is the opening track as Damien Dempsey, in his strong Northside Dublin accent, sings “Schooldays Over.”

So, the next time you hear an artist say “Here’s a new song” keep your ears open, you may just be listening to something that too will echo down the years!

Here is a link that Roger Young from the Wolf Folk Club has sent: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MmuW7xHnlM.


As can be seen by the restricted events calendar this week, there haven’t been many requests for listings for 2016.

It is always a good policy to review old listing information as venues, timings, admission fees, etc. need to be updated and relevant.

It has just been discovered that three regular listings of last year were unnecessary as they didn’t exist.

To have your event included please ensure your information is with me via the email address above at least two weeks before the event.


MONDAY, JANUARY 25 – GARDNERS. Tostock. 8.30pm. Free. Traditional sing around. Contact Dave 01359 241554.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 26 – POETS ALOUD. Bay Tree Cafe, St John’s Street. 7.30pm. £2 on door. Offers a sympathetic platform to local poets.

First-time readers very welcome. Contact Rob www.poetryaloud.org.uk 01284 701947

THURSDAY, JANUARY 28 – OAKES BARN. 8pm. Free. Steve’s Blues Night.Wired with p/a. Real ale. Recommended.


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