[originally appeared in Shindig! issue 111]
‘The French Girl’ is the musical equivalent of an Impressionist painting: sparse lyrical images weaving together to create an intricately detailed world. Three silver rings, a dark-haired woman, a cozy room, glasses of red wine…..and then she disappears, and no one knows who she was or where she has gone. It’s romantic, but with an underlying and somewhat unsettling sense of unreality.
Ian and Sylvia Tyson wrote the song in late 1965, during what Sylvia described to their biographer John Einarson as “a very transitional period for us”. As the duo of Ian & Sylvia, they were stars on the folk rock circuit, and had already released four albums on the Vanguard label. Songs like Ian’s ‘Four Strong Winds’ and Sylvia’s ‘You Were On My Mind’ had brought them acclaim as songwriters. But they were well aware that Continue reading
I interviewed longtime Capitol Records promotion man Dave Morrell for PopMatters. Dave has just released the book Run-Out Groove, the fourth volume of his memoirs of the music industry. You can read the interview here.
I was interviewed about my book Song Book for the All Music Books website’s “Deep Dive” podcast. Steve J and I had a great chat about the book and some of the stories in it. The interview is posted here.
I wrote an article for the Please Kill Me website on Beverley Martyn and Linda Thompson: two musicians who should be recognized for much more than their collaborations with their ex-husbands. You can read the article here.
Producer Ted Templeman, who has worked with dozens of artists – including Captain Beefheart, Van Morrison, the Doobie Brothers, and Van Halen – has finally written an autobiography. As you might guess, it’s wide-ranging and very interesting. I reviewed it for PopMatters; you can read the review here.
I wrote an article for the Please Kill Me website on the “women’s music” scene of the ’70s and ’80s. You can read it here.
I wrote an article for the Please Kill Me website on one of the oddest stories from pop music history – the fake Fleetwood Mac. You can read it here.
I wrote an article for the Please Kill Me website about the underappreciated ’60s singer Dave Berry. You can read it here.
I’m very pleased to announce that my new book, Song Book: 21 Songs from 10 Years (1964-74), has been released by New Haven Publishing. You can order it from any of the sites listed here.
The book includes extended and updated versions of some of the Shindig! magazine articles posted on this site, along with previously unpublished material.
I’ll be posting updates and news about the book on Facebook and on the “Song Book – the book” page on this site. There’s also a YouTube channel for the book, featuring playlists of the songs that are discussed in the book, as well as a promotional video.
I hope you’ll check it out!
(originally appeared in Shindig! issue #77)
Ask a Canadian to describe the city of Edmonton, Alberta, and the two words you are likely to hear are “cold” and “boring”. Edmonton is the northernmost large city in North America, sitting on roughly the same latitude as Moscow – and, as your correspondent discovered while living there, Edmonton can indeed be cold. Very cold. Like “outdoor temperature of -35C and windchill” cold.
However, despite its nickname of “Deadmonton”, Edmonton is not boring. Its winters are long and dark, but many of its residents grew up in small Prairie towns where, if you were bored, you made your own fun. So when Edmontonians get an idea, instead of thinking of reasons why it won’t work, they figure out how to make it happen. That adventurous attitude of “hey, this could be fun” led to the ’72 album Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra – a significant milestone in Procol Harum’s career, and a huge influence on the city where it was recorded.
By the late ‘60s, the potential for crossovers between classical music and rock music had already been demonstrated by Continue reading