Kodiak Island ‘The Sooner’

Myself and the band made our debut as Jo Bartlett & Kodiak Island on Friday in Brighton. It was magnificent. We played a handful of new songs all of which sounded amazing.

Our debut single, ‘The Sooner‘ is coming out in May on the Musical BEAR label. More news when I have it.

 

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Wonderful Music – Dirt Dress ‘Revelations’

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Dirt Dress are from L.A.

Noah- guitar/vocals Jose- bass Sasami Ashworth- guitar/synth Tabor Allen-drums.

I love this track.

John Renbourn / Pentangle and Green Man.

John Renbourn‘s name and that of his band, Pentangle, were always there in the back ground as I grew up in Frimley Green in Surrey. John’s parents were friends with my parents and as my interest in music and playing guitar grew, my Dad would often mention Pentangle. The first time I heard them was when I played Dad’s old copy of ‘Basket of Light‘. I’ll be honest, the complex guitar interplay of Bert and John fell on musically immature ears of this 13 year old. I was just getting into The Jam and The Undertones and Pentangle would have to remain on the back burner for a few more years.

Dad wrote to John and said his daughter wanted to be in a band and did he have any advice. He very kindly wrote back suggesting I listen to my favourite records and see if I could work out the guitar parts. He enclosed some copies of ‘Guitarist’ magazine for me.

Years go by.

I’m living in Highbury with Danny and we form a band called J.D. & Bob and start listening to folk. People who I was aware of but had never really delved deeply into, until now. Nick Drake, John Martyn.

Danny and I befriend The Beta Band and end up recording ‘Lank Haired Girl To Bearded Boy‘ as It’s Jo and Danny.

We move to Wales and listen to more folk. I play Pentangle for this first time since I was 13. Wow! bloody hell, that blew my mind.

We started the Green Man Festival in 2003 and Bob Stanley wrote this wonderful, full page in The Times the weekend before the first festival took place. ‘Now’t As Queer As Folk’. He mentions Nick Drake, John Martyn and Pentangle.

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Stephen Cracknell from The Memory Band, who played that first ever Green Man sampled the first notes from ‘The Pentangle’ album on his wonderful 7″ single released on Hungry Hill.

A scene was developing and Pentangle were a huge part of it. Folk was hip again, not least because of the second hand vinyl that could be picked up of classic folk recordings adding rarity and collectability to the scene. Avoiding the Cambridge Folk of middled aged real ale drinking men and adding samples and modern production to a world of DADGAD tuning and double basses. Green Man grew by word of mouth.

Pentangle’s classic line up had split in the early ’70s and we were told relationships between the individual musicians were strained to say the least.

Danny and I had a dream that one day we would get them back together and they would play our festival.

I got John Renbourn‘s address from my Dad and wrote to him. I told him that it had taken a while, but at last Pentangle’s music had blown my mind. All stuff he’d heard many times before I’m sure. I told him about Green Man and invited him to come and play. It took a few years to come together but in 2006 we had both John Renbourn and Bert Jansch play Green Man. On different days.

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The 2,000 capacity tent was packed when John played. My Dad, now in his 80s had come along and was delighted to see his daughter and son in law host this John Renbourn moment. Dad and I went to see John after his performance and they laughed and shared memories, Dad in his wellies, possibly the oldest person on site.

And so, the folk rejuvenation continued with pace and by 2008 the original Pentangle line up had reformed. I spoke to John a few days before they were due to play the BBC Folk Awards – their highly anticipated return – and he said they hadn’t rehearsed yet, but were due to get together over the weekend!

Danny and I were so proud when we at last booked Pentangle to headline the Sunday night of the 2008 Green Man Festival. Our dream of five years previously had come true. Our desire to mix and match the folk boundary pushing artists from the ’60s and ’70s with the new generation from both sides of the Atlantic was growing every year under our Green Man moniker. 2008 also saw The National, Iron and Wine, Caribou, Richard Thompson, Laura Marling, and a very early slot for Mumford and Sons all on the bill along side Wales’s own Super Furry Animals.

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Rest In Peace John. Thanks very much for being a part of my family’s life musically and personally. You helped make some of my dreams come true and gave the world such wonderful, wonderful music.

Kurt Cobain – Montage of Heck

Looking forward to seeing this when it comes out.

‘Summer Rain’ at The Union Chapel

It was a great gig on Saturday courtesy of Daylight Music at The Union Chapel in Islington, North London.

Here’s ‘Summer Rain’

Next gig will be in Brighton in April – more news soon.

Spiritualized 1991 live recording from The Buzz Club

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I had my ipod on shuffle the other day and this live gem from The Buzz Club came on and sounded pretty darn fab.

 

From 1991 Spiritualized, ‘Run‘ live at The Buzz Club

 

 

Seems we had at least two hand-held tape recorders in that night:

 

 

It was a busy night; the N.M.E. were there too.

 

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There are loads of live recordings from The Buzz Club on our soundcloud page, including Blur, The Happy Mondays, The Manic Street Preachers, The Charlatans, Primal Scream and many more. Plus fliers, posters, photos from even more Buzz Club nights including The Stone Roses, Suede, Elastica and more over on our Tumblr page.

Unearthed Bluetrain live photos from 1988 Buzz Club

Thanks very much to Malcolm Wyatt who got in touch recently to say he had found some black and white negatives of photos he had taken of Bluetrain playing live at The Buzz Club.

Malcolm kindly posted them to me and I had them transferred onto disc. They look great! I’m fairly sure it was us supporting The Wolfhounds in March 1988. We had a few guitarists over the years and the fact that these pics feature Richard Handyside (who happens to be playing guitar in my band again these days) makes me realise this was 1988.

 

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Me with my Epiphone Semi Acoustic and very short hair. Baggy Levi 501s with turn ups and probably a pair of blue deckshoe / plimsolls out of sight.

 

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Richard Handyside with his lovely semi acoustic Telecaster.

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Danny Hagan seems to be wearing a tie! It was the 1980s after all.

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Kevin Moorey on drums.

 

Dave Driscoll was in the crowd that night and made one of his celebrated live recordings, so here we are playing ‘Twenty Years’

This is a flier for the gig, I think one of the support bands (maybe Crash?) couldn’t make it, so we stepped in at the last minute.

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Thanks as ever to Dave for the live recordings and to Malcolm for the pics.

You can check out Malcolm’s fantastic blog here

Oh, and here’s a freebie, this is how The Wolfhounds sounded on that night….if you ever bump into Dave Driscoll, ask him about the fight that broke out during their set…

You can hear loads of live recordings from The Buzz Club at the Soundcloud page here

 

 

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