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fRootsenanny!, The Roundhouse, London, January 22nd 2010

January 25, 2010

fRoots magazine – the bible for traditional folk and world roots music in the UK – celebrates its 30th birthday this year and the occasion was marked by a ‘star-studded’ concert at the Roundhouse. Host and long-time fRoots editor and all-round folk-booster Ian Anderson (no, not the Tull one) kicked off the evening by introducing Ian King and his soul-dub horn section (all mixed by Adrian Sherwood). The blend of traditional songs and ‘modern’ sounds worked fine, even though I’m not normally a fan of ‘world fusion’. To my ears, it can be interesting but is often gimmicky and limiting. This time, though, it worked.

There were too many performers on the night to do justice to here, but the highlights for me were Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri, who have certainly matured their sound and their songwriting, the Martin Simpson Band, and the Oysterband with June Tabor. These last did a splendid dirge-like rendering of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, which drew appreciation from even some of the diehard folkies in the audience.

Jim Moray was good, as was the bewitchingly eccentric Pamela Wyn Shannon, but the evening tailed off somewhat with the last two scheduled acts, a re-formed 3 Mustaphas 3 (to which news my uncharitable response was ‘meh…’) and Billy Bragg and the Acoustic Blokes.

Unfortunately, this was one of those occasions when Bill refused to let the songs do the talking and instead took the opportunity to rant on his usual subjects (English patriotism, reform of Parliament, hatred of the Tories etc etc). By this time, I was getting a little irked, so when he berated us to support Labour in the next election, I shouted something about the War Party. He ignored me… Oh well, it would be nice to feel as righteous as Bill, but that’s not a privilege I try to allow myself.

Things picked up at the end, though, with the whole assembly encoring with Hard Times Of Old England and White Cliffs Of Dover and the audience trailed out into a chill Camden night feeling nicely folked up.

For no particular reason, here’s a fine video of Jim Moray covering XTC’s All You Pretty Girls

One Comment leave one →
  1. Paul H permalink
    March 3, 2010 1:52 pm

    I shall be returning again to read more of your ramblings Guy, even though I am deeply envious of your ability to get to gigs in general and your seeing Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt in particular.

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