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What's New This Week

Nottingham Record Fair 30/12/16

I'm delighted to confirm that Sounds Quite Reasonable records will be 'on the road' in December, namely, manning a table at the new Nottingham record fair at the Masonic Hall on Goldsmith Street near the Theatre Royal, Friday 30th December. I hope to be selling quite a wide selection of 45's, albums, books and memorabilia, but if you require any further information in the meantime please get in touch. That said, I hope to see you there between 09.00 and 15.00!

All the best


Dave Swarbrick, R.I.P.


Much has been and will be written about the man who was surely Britain's greatest ever fiddle player and one of the leading figures in the second British Folk Revival. I offer the following brief tribute based on my recollections of several meetings with this extremely talented man.

Fairport Convention had got to know mutual friends of ours, Neil and Lesley Cutts, the then tenants at The White Bear Inn located in Masham, North Yorkshire, having called in at the pub on several occasions whilst 'on the road'. Dave had a great liking for Theakston's Old Peculiar strong ale and made the most of his visits, drinking ale and sharing numerous 'Bombay Bensons' with some of the locals. After one particularly tiring session in the Bear's tiny tap room, he played the fiddle lying on the floor with his head in the still lit fireplace. Particularly notable visits included him playing at the Bear on his own and with Simon Nicol and Baz Barker, (a leading violinist with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra) on Masham's market day; at the time (1981) pub opening hours were very restricted and most closed at 2.30 or 3.00 for a few hours. The White Bear had a special license to stay open for the afternoon to enable visitors to the livestock market to avail themselves of the pub's hospitality. 2 regular local visitors were a rather taciturn character called Rex, perhaps in his 60's at the time, and his pal, a local semi-retired farmer who rejoiced in the name of Rabbit. Rabbit himself was known to be rather tight-lipped until loosened by a few glasses of ale. He certainly looked the part in ancient overcoat, flat cap, neckerchief and gnarled features; a picture taken of him on that afternoon adorns the rear cover of the "Bear" album. He became most animated when, having been introduced to Swarb, the latter started playing his fiddle. Simon joined in on guitar occasionally but Swarb held 'centre stage' in the Bear's intimate tap room and the afternoon was lifted to new heights when Rabbit started singing the introductory verses, before Swarb and Bas joined in, of "If you were the only girl in the world". A magical moment.

That visit was to record the "Live At The White Bear" LP that was issued privately on White Bear records; it had been recorded in the pub lounge (I think Fairport's then drummer Bruce Rowland was also present) and contains some absolute gems, notably Scott Joplin's "Temptation Rag" with Swarb on mandolin and "Lord Haddo's Favourite / Lady Mary Hayes' Scotch Measure". In the preamble to one number he asked the audience (with reference to his instrument) to 'bear with me, I've gotta go up the dusty end on this one'. Sadly missing from the album was their utterly captivating version of Turlough O'Carolan's "Si Bheag, Si Mhor" (Big Fairy, Small Fairy). This was, thankfully, recorded for posterity on Fairports' "Expletive Deleted" album of 1986.

His performances at the annual Cropredy festival were the stuff of legend. For many years, Neil Cutts and many of the locals from the Masham area (and myself) ran a Theakston's ale bar at the festival (latterly the beer was provided by Wadworths of Devizes). He was a very generous man in many respects (perhaps less so in others?) and we enjoyed a very fine afternoon at his house one year after the festival closed. His then house, not far from Daventry, was, I understand, one of only 2 designed by the famous landscape gardener Capability Brown.

One of the musical highlights of my life was in the early 1980's when Fairport played at Masham town hall. Having had a sing-song in the pub the previous night I was then honoured to be asked to sing a rock & roll medley onstage with them that evening. When it came to my spot, I wandered rather casually onstage only to be ushered off sharpish by Swarb who said "Get off, get off - we've got to give you the big build-up"! Thanks to them and the 400+ audience who gave me a great welcome.

On record, his contribution to the groundbreaking "Liege and Lief" often overshadows his other work with Fairport, but 2 songs that will always best sum him up for me are the lovely and wistful "Rosie", title track of their 1973 album, and "Lay Me Down Easy", co-composed with Dave Pegg and featured on 1976's "Gottle O' Geer".

As jovial as he could be in public, I often thought that there was a latent sadness within; I think the death of Sandy Denny affected him deeply, and in my view he never got over her passing. Sadly, relations between he and Fairport deteriorated over the recent past but they, the current and former band members will, I am sure like countless others, raise a glass in memory of an extraordinary talent, an extraordinary character, in the British folk scene. Indeed, Fairports played on Wednesday last at Lowdham village hall and in the preamble to "Meet On The Ledge", Simon Nicol made an analogy between Fairports and a ship, experiencing changeable seas and losing and gaining crew members during the course of a long voyage. In Swarb's case, absolutely fitting. We shall not, as they say, see his like again.

God Bless You Dave.

(This article will, in the fullness of time, be transferred to the McIpedia section)

What's New This Week, 8th February 2015

Howdy folks, more 45's have gone onto the database this week, including European issues by The Monkees (EP), The Tornados (German issue with lovely p/s), Love Sculpture and Strawberry Alarm Clock, UK issues by Cliff Bennett, Lord Rockingham's XI, The Fall, Dobie Gray, Chris Clark, Howlin' Wolf, Gene McDaniels and a 2012 EP by The Pretty Things. Hope that's a varied enough selection for you!

What's New w/c Monday 07.03.2016

Howdy folks

Some nice items have been recently listed including originals of The Stones' "Sticky Fingers", the "Ready Steady Who" ep and "La-La-La-Lies", a few more 60's / 70's European issue 45's (suitable for jukeboxes of course) and the second Free album on pink Island. More stock being added all the time.

W/C 01.01.2016

Hello folks

Just a brief note to wish you a very happy new year - I hope 2016 brings you health, happiness and prosperity.

Don't forget to let me know of any specific vinyl wants you may have - I'll help if I can!

All the best


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