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

Category: Eric Andersen

Pete Seeger – tributes

A few good tributes to Pete Seeger here – one recent one written by Tom Paxton:


And the other an old piece by Dave Van Ronk, which, given that it was written before Seeger’s death, is, perhaps, even more telling:


It is also worth checking out the liner notes to The Essential Pete Seeger by Eric Andersen – which shows something of the respect which the Greenwich Village songwriters of the early 1960s had for Pete Seeger.

Seeger was very important to me personally as my interest in folk music really stems from a documentary that I saw about him as a young boy of about eleven.

He sang ‘Where have all the Flowers Gone’ on it and it was a revelatory moment for me. I was also impressed by what the programme showed about Seeger’s environmental work, at a time when such concerns did not receive anything like the same publicity that they do today…

Soon afterwards, I pestered my father to get me the album, The Best of Pete Seeger, which I proceeded to play to death for a number of years. Indeed, unlike most people of my generation (those born in the early 1960s) I first discovered Dylan through my interest in Pere Seeger and not vice versa…

Surnames and Placenames: More Songs about Cities, Towns & People

I know I said the last one was the ‘final’ themed post, but due to widespread popular apathy, have decided to add another.

1. Will start with The Blasters< 'Marie, Marie":

2. Dave Alvin, 'Gary Indiana 1959":

3. Orange Juice, 'Felicity":

Living in Australia, had to include a few Sheila's
4. Eric Andersen, 'Shelia':

5. The Smiths, 'Sheila, Take a Bow':

6. Kevin Coyne, "Marlene":

7. Elton John, 'Daniel': Can take or leave a lot of Elton John's music, but have always liked this:

8. Gilbert O'Sullivan, 'Claire": Classic pop from the best Paul McCartney wannabe:

9. The Beatles, 'Julia":

10. Bob Dylan, 'To Ramona":

11. Paul Clayton, 'Geordie'
Sample here – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geordie-Georgie/dp/B001HCL5ZE

12. Chuck Berry, 'Memphis, Tennessee':

13. Johnny Duhan, 'Molly':
Sample here: .amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_srch_drd_B0012E4AIQ?ie=UTF8&field-keywords=Johnny Duhan&index=digital-music&search-type=ss

14. Ralph McTell, 'From Clare to Here':

15. Sean Keane, 'From Galway to Graceland":

16, Randy Newman, 'Marie':

17. Randy Newman, 'Baltimore":

Shadows & Light – A Theme Time 45 Minutes or thereabouts

Have decided to include colours in the definition of ’light’, so here goes…

Will start with Bob Dylan’s favourite Lightfoot song…

1. Gordon Lightfoot ‘Shadows’:

Will follow it with another ‘Canadien Errant’:

2. Joni Mitchell, ‘Shadows and Light”:

3. Rory Gallagher, ‘Shadowplay’:

4. Joy Division, ‘Shadowplay”:

5. Rowland S. Howard, ‘Autoluminescent’:

6. REM, ‘Green grow the Rushes O”

7. Orange Juice, ‘Blue boy’:

8. Bob Dylan, ‘Its all over now, Baby Blue”:

9. Roy Orbison, ‘Blue Bayou”:

10. Eric Andersen, ‘Blue River”:

11. Michael Martin Murphey, ‘Red River Valley”:

12. Joe Heaney, ‘Roisin Dubh’:

133. Christy Moore, ‘Black is the Colour”:

14. The Pogues, ‘A Pair of Brown Eyes’:

15. Lal Waterson, ‘Red Wine Promises”:

16. Jimi Hendrix, “Purple Haze”:

‘On the Road…again’: a Theme-Time 30 minutes – Part 2

Of course, after finishing the first post, I began to think of a large number of other songs that included the word ‘road’ in the title.

Hopefully, these are some of the best of those

1. Jonathan Richman, “Roadrunner”

2. Ray Charles, ‘Hit the Road Jack”

3. Johnny Cash, ‘Wide Open Road”

4. Robert Earl Keen ‘The Road goes on forever’

5. Luke Kelly, ‘Raglan Road”:

6. Mary Gauthier, ‘Same Road”:

6. Eric Andersen, ‘Today is the Highway’:

7. Schubert, ‘Der Wegweiser (‘The Signpost’) Fischer-Dieskau/Billing:

8. June Tabor, ‘The Turn of the Road’:

‘Home Before Dark’: A Theme Time 15 Minutes – Part Two

Should add that I named the original post after one of my favourite books of all time, Susan Cheever’s great memoir about her father, John Cheever. In my opinion, Cheever is, perhaps – along with Raymond Carver and Richard Ford – the best American short story writer.

Have been thinking about songs with ‘Home’ in the title or as a theme and have come up with these additions to the list:

1. Rory Gallagher ‘Philby’ – Rory’s great song about not having a home:

2. Robert Johnson, ‘Sweet Home Chicago’:

3. These are, I think, alternative versions of the same original song (the ‘folk process’, as it were), but they show clearly the differences between these two fine artists:
Paul Clayton, ‘Home, Dearie, Home’:

There is a sample of this song here:

Luke Kelly, ‘Home, Boys, Home’:

4. John Martyn, ‘Baby Please Come Home; – from his greatest album…

5. Mary Gauthier, ‘Can’t Find the Way’ – a great, great song about homelessness:

6. Eric Andersen, ‘Feel like Coming Home”
There is a sample of this song here (it is track 12):

7. Bert Jansch, Running from Home’:

8. Bob Dylan.’I was young when I left Home’: Dylan’s great re-working of ’99 Miles”

9. Eric Bibb, ‘New Home’:

Eric Andersen’s Thirsty Boots

Have been listening quite a lot recently to Bob Dylan’s fine version of this song, which can be heard in full here:


Would add here, however, that my favourite version of the song remains that by Eric Andersen himself included on the complilation cd ‘So Much on My Mind’ :

A sample of that version can be heard here:

Would also add that I am am a big fan of Andersen’s later work (from about the time of ‘Ghosts on the Road’ onwards). His voice especially has taken on an added grit with age which gives a new edge to his work.

To my mind at least, his last two live albums (‘Blue rain’ & ‘The Cologne Concert’) are among the best work he has ever done – and both feature musicians whose alertness and responsiveness put Bob’s current band to shame…

Striking really as ‘Blue Rain’ features a virtually unknown young Norwegian Blues band.

Here is their superb version of ‘Runaway’ where Andersen does a great Lou Reed impression:

One of the great enjoyments of listening to Blue Rain is hearing how Andersen feeds off the freshness and effervescence of the band. For them, it must have been like a Grimsby player getting a game with United..

By the same token, one of the reasons why the ‘Cologne Concert’ is such a fine record is because it sounds so little like ‘Blue Rain.’ Here is a taster:

Will finish up with Rick Danko’s great version of what is probably Andersen’s best song, ‘Blue River’ (the original features a great background vocal by Joni Mitchell):