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

Month: March, 2015

John Renbourn

A small tribute to the late great guitarist, who died this week. Along with Bert Jansch and Davey Graham, he was one of that great trinity of brilliant guitarists whose like will not be seen again.

His great version of ‘Lindsay’ can be heard here:

All was Numbered

Ten songs with numbers in the title:

1. Frank Sinatra, ‘One For My Baby’ 9sorry Bob, but there are certain songs that when Frank sang them, they stayed sung’:

2. Paul Clayton ‘The Twa Sisters’ or ‘the Two Sisters’:

3. Planxty, ‘Three Drunken Maidens’:

4. The Clash, ‘Four Horsemen”:

5 Blue Rodeo, ‘Five Days in May’:

6. Don Baker, ‘Six Days on The Road”:

7. Bob Dylan, ‘Seven Curses”:

8. The Byrds, ‘Eight Miles High’:

9. George Harrison, ‘Cloud Nine”;

10. The Dubliners, Three Score and Ten:


Another Place, Another Time

Great picture of Dave Van Ronk and Paul Clayton – not sure where it was taken:


Voices Part III: ‘The Death of Queen Jane”

To conclude my discussion of the way in which rock, folk and country music deal with the topic of the deaths of close relatives/friends, have included a few more songs here which deal with the topic. Most of these come from the latter two genres, which, it seems to me, are far more comfortable with discussing death than are rock and pop music with their emphasis on youth.

Will begin with The Bothy Band’s fine live version of ‘The Death of Queen Jane’:

Next up is Joe Heaney’s ‘Song of the Drowned’ or ‘Curachaí na Trá Báine:

This can be heard here at

Will follow this with two songs by Paul Clayton, who had a special talent for covering melancholic songs:

The first is ‘The Seaman’s Grave’:

A sample can be heard here at http://www.pandora.com/paul-clayton/bay-state-ballads

and the second is ‘The Dying Stockman”;

A sample can be found here at http://www.pandora.com/paul-clayton/folk-ballads-of-english-speaking-world/dying-stockman.

Will finish up with two country songs. The first one is Roseanne Cash’s superb ‘Black Cadillac’

The second is ‘Peace in the Valley” from Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s excellent cd of covers of classic country songs, recorded as a tribute to his father:

A sample can be heard here at http://www.pandora.com/jimmie-dale-gilmore/come-on-back/peace-in-valley

Voices Part II – Today’s The day

Carrying on from my previous post, here are some other rock songs which deal with the issue of the deaths of close friends/contemporaries and the passing way of close family members.

Will begin with two songs from recent albums by Kevin Hewick, which included fine tributes to close associates of his like Tony Wilson of Factory fame and that much under-rated songwriter, Jackie Leven.

The first is ‘Fac501’:

A sample can be heard here at https://pro.beatport.com/track/fac-501-original-mix/3488421

Next up is ‘A Young Man’s Dream of Revolution’ from his excellent Heat of Molten Diamonds cd:

That album also features the excellent song, ‘Elegy For Jackie Leven’, but there doesn’t seem to be even a sample of it available on the net.

To conclude this post, here are some of my favourite songs dealing directly with the death of a parent.

Will begin with Lucy Kaplansky’s beautiful song about her dad:

and follow it with Guy Clark’s beautifully crafted song about his father, ‘The Randal Knife – another song which proves his mastery of the ‘story’ song;

Will conclude for today with Johnny Duhan’s superb, ‘The River Returning”;

A sample can be heard here at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GOAPI8/ref=dm_ws_sp_ps_dp