Home' Rhythms Magazine : November-December 2018 Contents 70
LOST IN THE
By Keith Glass
In the 60’s/70’s/80’s major record labels
worldwide maintained a massive album
release schedule. Only a comparatively few
artists scored a hit, others became ‘cult’
classics. Beyond that exists an underbelly of
almost totally ignored work, (much never
reissued) that time has been kind to. This is
a page for the crate diggers.
The Fiddler’s Dream
Barry and Robin Dransfield were fixtures
of the English folk scene of the mid-1960’s.
Although the same age as peers who
moved on to Beat then Prog or Folk-Rock
they stuck to their guns mixing old-time
tunes with similar period based originals.
Barry a prodigious fiddler, fine lead vocalist
and multi-instrumentalist while Robin
- solid guitarist and wonderful harmony
singer with a spine chilling, uncanny
synchronicity of performance some
fortunate siblings possess.
In 1969 the duo resisted an offer to join an
embryonic Steeleye Span instead deciding
go their own way recording two albums on
the small Trailer label run by the legendary
Bill Leader – so influential in the U.K folk
scene, the imprint his label specifically for
“folk revival” acts. Leader’s close association
with the burgeoning Transatlantic label,
home for a time to Bert Jansch, Ralph
McTell and Billy Connolly eventually led
to the brothers switching to the latter in
1976 apparently no longer able to resist the
wider appeal of more amplified Folk Rock.
Particularly tempting could have been
Transatlantic owner Nat Joseph inking
a deal with Yorkshire television network
Granada to purchase and fully fund his
label. Visions of competing with Island
or Chrysalis were not unreasonable and
augured well for the fledgling act. In fact
the label went on a signing spree, and filled
lots of office space with new employees.
The group Dransfield with the addition of
bass player/keys/vocalist Brian Harrison
and (for recording) drummer
Charlie Smith looked like a
sure thing. Especially because
Barry’s ambitious vision was a
‘concept’ album based around
the foibles of a mythical
hypnotic fiddler (write what
you know) and a semi-abstract
tale of temptation and
redemption. In one fell swoop
the brothers had gathered up
the ‘progressive rock/folk’ tag they had
previously only dabbled in as sidemen and
apart from much electric guitar (just a tad
played by Barry) made the style their own.
The album’s opener ‘Up To Now’ is both
an invocation and a declaration of intent
with the chorus line ‘we’re coming down
to help ourselves’. It is also a bloody great
song up there with some of the best in the
genre. Featuring a spare, on the money
jaunty rhythm section with a killer groove,
mighty mid section riff, sing-along chorus,
the magical brother harmonies and above
all the lead vocal of Barry, this should
have been a hit. By year of U.K release
however there were other things brewing
and that folky thing man, was pretty passé’.
Transatlantic’s potential also withered
with ‘too much, too soon’ expansion and
a drifting of attention from their driving
roots label wheel.
This album however remains a deep
delight. 40+ years on I am still hearing
new things; songs that rise in estimation
such as ‘It’s Dark In Here’, which seems
more and more like a medieval Everly
Brothers on every listen. Barry’s solo fiddle
interludes segue the conceptual ‘parts’ of
the work, listed as Losers And Winners/
The Fool/The Beginning Of The Never
Ending – maybe early tepid reviewers
deemed this pretentious and/or arty. The
somewhat lackluster packaging painting
of a bricked in violin over an ocean sealed
the albums fate to be largely overlooked. I
believe this is in contention for the top five
British Folk Rock albums of all time – but
I’m not going to attempt to name the other
Barry Dransfield by anyone’s estimation
is a fantastic fiddler and for my money
in a female dominated genre (Sandy
Denny, Maddy Prior etc), the best male
singer in the brief but glorious years when
U.K folkie sounds maybe didn’t rule but
certainly were a major force. The group
Dransfield had a slight life but Barry and
Robin remain iconic in upper echelons of
the British folk scene. How often they got
to play all, some (if any) of the material
live on this album is anyone’s guess. It was
re-released on vinyl and CD by Castle UK
in the 90’s with extra tracks. I love just as it
is. Pretty much perfect.
By Billy Pinnell
Nineteen sixty nine looked like being another immensely
successful year for The Doors,beginning with a sold out show
on January 24th at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Their latest single ‘Touch Me’ released in December the year
before had peaked at number one on the Cashbox Top 100 in
early 1969 while their fourth and most experimental album
The Soft Parade, a total departure from their first three albums
with its brass and string arrangements was steadily climbing
the album charts.
However, things changed dramatically on March 1,1969 at the
Dinner Key Auditorium in the Coconut Grove neighbourhood
of Miami, Florida during the most controversial performance
of their career, one that nearly caused the band to disintegrate.
The venue, a converted seaplane hangar with no air
conditioning on what was a hot night, had the seats removed
by the promotor in order to boost ticket sales.
A restless, uncomfortable crowd of 12,000 - packed into an
auditorium designed to hold 7,000 - were forced to wait more
than hour for the concert to begin due to Jim Morrison’s late
Drunk and antagonistic, Morrison taunted the crowd. He
removed the hat of an on-stage police officer throwing it into
the crowd. A member of the audience jumped up on to the
stage and poured champagne on Morrison who took off his
soaking shirt while inciting the audience to take their clothes
off. What happened after that is open to speculation.
The Dade County Sheriff’s office saw it this way: on March
5 they issued a warrant for Morrison’s arrest charging him
with being drunk at the time of his performance, shouting
obscenities at the crowd and with “lewd and lascivious
behaviour” when he allegedly exposed himself to an audience.
Morrison turned down a plea bargain that required the Doors
to perform a free Miami concert. He was later convicted
and sentenced to six months hard labour and ordered to
pay a $500 fine. He remained free pending an appeal of his
It that wasn’t enough for the band to deal with, numerous
concerts were cancelled due to Morrison’s arrest, before the
singer once again found himself in trouble with the law
when he was charged with “interfering with the flight of an
international aircraft and public drunkenness”.
If found guilty, Morrison could have faced a ten-year stint
in federal prison. Fortunately, on this occasion on April of
1970,charges were dropped.
Once it became clear that The Doors wouldn’t be playing live
in the States for some time, their management accepted an
invitation to perform at the five-day Isle of Wight Festival held
between August 26 and 31.
It was the last of three consecutive music festivals to take
place on the island between 1968 and 1970 and is widely
acknowledged as the largest musical event of its time attracting
600,000 people, exceeding the number attending at
Woodstock the previous year.
The eclectic line-up of acts included Bob Dylan is his first
performance since his 1966 motorcycle accident, Miles Davis,
Supertramp, Chicago, Tony Joe White, Joni Mitchell, Jethro
Tull, Terry Reid, Jimi Hendrix, Tiny Tim, Free, Sly & The
Family Stone, Procol Harum, Family and Leonard Cohen.
The Doors were scheduled to perform at 2.00 am on the
Saturday between Emerson, Lake & Palmer and The Who.
Their 66-minute set, now available for the first time in its
entirety on the DVD component of this new release, is unlike
any other Doors performance I have ever seen.
Morrison, facing a jail stint if his appeal against the charges
stemming from the Miami trial was unsuccessful, was - to say
the least - subdued. His dour demeanour was exacerbated by
the stage lighting.
Because of a communication stuff up, the band were
reportedly told not to supply their own lighting for the show,
so the stage is quite dark and lit solely by a red spotlight.
Ray Manzarek once said this of the performance, “We played
with a controlled fury and Jim was in fine vocal form. He sang
for all he was worth but moved nary a muscle.”
In the absence of Morrison’s histrionics, the roles of Manzarek,
John Densmore and Robbie Krieger were enhanced. During
a long instrumental segment in ‘Ship Of Fools’, they sound
at times like a jazz trio, tapping into the spirits of Jimmy
McGriff, Elvin Jones and Wes Montgomery.
Listening closely to Robbie Krieger improvising during his
solo on ‘Light My Fire’ revealed inclusions of bits of ‘Eleanor
Rigby’ and ‘My Favourite Things’, possibly inspired by the
version on John Coltrane’s 1961 album, a favourite of many
While Morrison is not singing during the longer songs, ‘When
the Music’s Over’ and ‘The End’ (performed without the
Oedipus section), the camera catches him looking down at
Krieger’s fingers during a guitar solo. Other images are of him
gripping the mic stand, motionless, as if his mind was on other
Instances such as these made the performances, for me,
entrancing and unforgettable.
The DVD also has a bonus feature that includes interviews
with the surviving members, long-time Doors engineer/
producer Bill Siddons and the film’s original director Murray
Lerner. This was the last Doors concert to be filmed.
They only played a handful of shows after the Isle of Wight:
a couple of sets in Dallas and what would be their final show
with Morrison in New Orleans on December 12,1970.
In March 1971 Morrison left the US to spend time in Paris
where he died, aged 27, on July 3 that same year.
LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL 1970
LOST IN THE
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