I was resident musician on Terry Ferdinand’s Folk Show on Bishop FM, last Monday night. I was joined by The Pearson Clan, a lovely couple who sing a variety of new and old tunes, as well as playing some great mandolin and dulcimer pieces. Geoff and Linda had a lovely mix of guitar and vocals – they played a lovely Gillian Welch tune “Orphan Child” that I’d love to have sung harmonies on – if I’d known the words. A Tom Paxton song “Getting Up Early” was good too. I particularly enjoyed the song written by a friend of theirs, Stan Graham, too.
I seem to have got into a habit of playing songs I’ve never played before, both on Terry’s show and at Crook Buskers. This week was no exception. After opening with my old favourite “Know You Rider”, I had a go at “The Highwayman” by The Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson). I’ve heard the tune before, of course, but it got stuck in my head last week after I took a rare trip around the audio-visual department of our local Tesco. They were playing a Johnny Cash Greatest Hits selection through one of their home theatre systems. When this song came on I sat down on one of their sofas and listened – it was great!
After it rattled round my head for a few days I decided I’d use the power of the WundaWeb and find the chords and words. I did this about one hour before heading out of the door to go to BishopFM, so only had time to listen to the song once and play through it at the same time. Having said that, I enjoyed singing and playing it, and of course the millions of listeners out there in radio land didn’t have a clue that I had the words and chords right there in front of me – don’t tell them, will you!?
I took a similar approach to the other new song that I sang- though once again it is a song I’ve been listening to for a long time, by artists as diverse as Marty Robbins and The Grateful Dead – the gunfighter ballad “Big Iron”. My father used to listen to Marty Robbins a lot, as well as other singers of cowboy songs, so I guess that is where my interest in such songs started. Then at some point Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead started covering Big Iron and El Paso too. I used to play the song, sometimes, when I was in the Bob Allison Country Band, but only when Bob wanted to show the audience that our modern (and at times self-written) country music was very similar to the old standards that they insisted on listening too.
So I sang Big Iron for my dad, who always used to say that I should just go out there and do music with me and my guitar rather than in a band. He might have been onto something. I hope he’d have been proud of me.
I also sang Warren Haynes’ “Soulshine” and the night ended with me and the Pearson Clan on Little Feat’s “Willin'”, with some lovely mandolin from Geoff.
I’ve been promised some CDs of the last 2 weeks shows – I’ll edit them viciously and then let you listen to the one or two seconds that aren’t too bad. If you can’t wait until then, the show will be repeated on bishopfm on Saturday at 8:00pm.
Next Monday I’m joined by my good friends Phil Graham and David Platt – the 3 of us are Tri and we’ll be giving our own slant to various songs – some of them might even be folk songs! Tune in!