Friday, 14 January 2011

the cuckoo's nest

It was 1978. I seem to remember that at some point at a Rainbow gig during a brief break - ie just before R&L Thompson came on-stage - Barry Dransfield went out for a breath of fresh air.  Okay, for most of us at a certain age, "a  breath of fresh air" meant a cigarette.  However, I digress. BD wasn't on the bill, oh no, he was on the guest list. We spoke for quite a while about the state of folk rock and the cul-de-sac it quickly became.  Much of the legacy it left has stayed with many of us.

Barry Dransfield is one of our great secret stars of the folk (and, particularly, Folk-Rock world superstars).  This happens to be bubbling up at this particular point for various reasons - synchronicity, mostly.

On New Year's Eve, for instance, I welcomed the New Year in by singing Meet On The Ledge as, I'm sure most of you did,  nowadays it has become our traditional song (none of us are Scottish).  After that, my best mate and me decided that we should carry on by singing the "old songs". After a complete (and excellent, may I point out) version of Cuckoo's Nest* we eventually listened to the rest of Morris On and obviously enjoyed the experience -as, indeed, you would.

However, what's this got to do with the price of fish?

Well, obviously, nothing.  However, back to meeting Mr Dransfield.  What a wonderful, lost talent this man is. He wasn't over happy with the direction RT took but he was more than happy to stand and talk about his memories of making this particular album. Even more effusive about Morris On and that amazing gig at Hatfield Poly (as was) where The Albion Band played and a man walked out after vocally berating the band for playing Cuckoo's Nest ("I find that utterly sexist"**)

I somehow find myself having to teach a lesson tomorrow that involves Robin Hood. So, I'll say now that visually I tend to prefer the 1980's Richard Carpenter tv series.  I will use that. I will also play the Barry Dransfield version of Robin Hood and the Peddlar from his great lost 1972 album.  Ah who cares that they won't QUITE get it?- we can indulge our own whims this way!

Anyhow -  a great talent like BD should never have ended up as a manic depressive who currently mends violins.

What a waste - a huge talent.  But, like Steve Ashley and others, men out of time.

A bit like myself, I guess.

*the story of Henry Ford & The Luddites is forthcoming
** There's a well-reported story of this moment - I and many friends of mine were there at this particular gig - and the RT gig I mentioned above was where we as audience members compared notes with BD who was performing on stage at that moment.  They just thought he was a prat.  We, however, as audience members thought that he was a complete prat.

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