A blog from Chris Bartter, trade union writer and communications expert in Scotland,
This blog is a small contribution in opposition to the right-wing consensus in the media, and will. hopefully, campaign for working people and public services.
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Thursday, 25 August 2016
Songwriting Talents Old and New(ish). Edinburgh Festivals 2
My first compilation piece from Edinburgh is in the Morning Star today. It includes the Angel review in last Thursday's blog, and also a review of Road - Jim Cartwright's slice of Lancashire life under Thatcher (to be posted later) - and two reviews of singer songwriters. Rab Noakes has been around for a little while now. and made a triumphant return after a break fighting cancer. While Roy Harper's son Nick, is not a callow youth (he first recorded in 1994 for f***'s sake!) his live set now has the kind of range and depth that deserve bigger audiences than Edinburgh's Jazz Bar can provide. The full reviews of both artists are below.
Noakes – Acoustic Music Centre - August 14 – (*****)
Noakes returned to the fringe after a year out – fighting tonsillar
cancer – and delivered a superbly
Rab Noakes. pic by Alan McMillan
polished and sparkling solo set.
Although he understandably concentrated on his newest album – I’m Walking Here – for the largest
number of the tracks, he also went back into the history for Branch (his best-known single) and Jackson Greyhound – a reflection on the
civil rights fight in the Southern States.
As must be an occupational hazard with songwriters, Noakes has used his
fight against cancer to inspire new songs – in particular the defiant, That won’t Stop me! And the more
reflective Water is my Friend.
Add in some treatments of other songwriters’ material – like Michael
Marra’s The Guernsey Kitchen Porter –
and you have a full picture of a singer-songwriter back on top of his game.
It’s good to see him back! He's got a show in Cupar in October.
Nick Harper. pic by Mark Hunt
Harper – The Jazz Bar – until August 27 (then on tour) (****)
Harper’s unique guitar playing ensured his talents as musician and
writer are displayed to the full.
Son of singer-songwriter Roy, Harper uses a finger-picking style all of
his own. As his song Simple
proclaims, he has ‘everything he needs, no drums, no bass’ to produce
intelligent, articulate songs.
A short set nevertheless marked both the passing of Prince (Purple Rain) and Evo – his tribute to Bolivian President Evo Morales.
His undoubted talent deserves a bigger venue than this.