' I've lost the power I had to distinguish between what to ignite and what to extinguish' – Rowland S. Howard

Month: June, 2013

Clancy Clayton and the Singing Leprechauns

Speaking of Paul Clayton, it is good to say that Justin Timberlake takes a ‘method’ approach to acting, intensively researching every facet of the life of the character he is playing.

This comes throughly strongly in a recent interview:

‘Joel and Ethan [Coen] and I talked about a look for [my character] Jim. We found this picture of Paul Clayton who was an Irish folk singer…’


Of course, Clayton was a hugly important American folk Singer & collector, who was born in New Bedford, Mass. Not sure if he was ever in Ireland in his life.


Well, Clancy/Clayton…close enough, so who cares?

Phil Ochs’ Last Stand

A link to Phil Ochs singing ‘The Blue and the Grey’ at Gerde’s in 1975 –

This was his last public performance, I think. Bob was also there that night – and part of this gig is in Reynaldo & Clara (there is a short clip showing Ochs taking the stage & borrowing Bob’s hat here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOg5dK6EnuE).

The existence of this clip may also mean that Ochs’ performance of ‘Lay Down Your Weary Tune’ on the same night is out there somewhere…

Mary Gauthier, Steve Earle and Goodbyes

Have recently been listening to a lot of Mary Gauthier recently, who, I think, must be reckoned among the great songwriters of recent times.

There is a honesty about her music, which is enormously appealing in an age of so much manufactured garbage. Her songs also pack a great deal of emotional weight. This one, perhaps, most of all:


The song this one brought to my mind is Steve Earle’s Goodbye, perhaps his most perfect song and one of the saddest songs I have ever heard. The harmonica solo on it is the sound of complete loneliness (sez he):


And to round it off, here is ‘Invisible’ from Earle’s new album – another song which proves the continuing relevance and potency of a good ‘topical’ song: