Sunday, 6 October 2013

the world is a wonderful place

You live and you die
There's no reason why
The world is a wonderful place

I was sitting quietly in the staff room a few months back when the question was raised as to who - if anyone - knew of the name of a Bassoonist. Any Bassoonist, not just a famous one. I, of course, was able to supply the name of one to everyone's chagrin amazement. I chose to mention Brian Gulland of Gryphon fame mainly because I had met him a few times (see here) but a few minutes ago was immediately aware that I should have mentioned the wonderful Lindsay Cooper  who I have just read has died at the ridiculously young age of about 62. That's no age - Christ, that's a year younger than my dad.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I didn't want to just write about dead people but I can't help but mention the passing of some fellow travellers. Lindsay Cooper was a great musician as the obit from the Independent will testify. She played on some great albums - I may not love Slapp Happy etc but via Henry Cow, I was introduced to Dagmar Krause*, Peter Blegvad and the occasional album Cooper played on. Not forgetting, of course she played on the much-maligned Mike Oldfield album Hergest Ridge.

More importantly, I suppose, is the fact that she played on this a great rare track by Richard and Linda Thompson. I think - and quite happy to be corrected - it was recorded for I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight but remained unreleased until R&L became vaguely famous enough to release. This was before his conversion to Sufism and shows Thompson's dark world view to good effect. Lyrically and melodically it has echoes of Brecht & Weill and Cooper's bassoon helps no end in creating that effect.

And then she was diagnosed with MS and left to cope in ignominy for years. And now an obituary. So, she wasn't famous or particularly important but she was a great talent. And a famous Bassoonist. Remember that in your next quiz.

* Dagmar Krause: Supply and Demand: Songs by Brecht/Weill and Eisler (1986, LP, Hannibal Records) is well worth spending a few hours with. Has Thompson on it in case you're not sold . . .

12 comments:

zythophile said...

"The World Is A Wonderful Place" appears as a "hidden" track on a compilation of RT songs sung by other people called, indeed, "The World Is A Wonderful Place" and released by the Hokey Pokey people in 1993. That CD also includes the marvellous and far too little known "It Don't Cost Much", co-written by RT and Marvin Etzioni and sung by Marvin Etzioni.

Martyn

Dave Leeke said...

Yes, it's an excellent tribute to RT. There's a great "Galway to Graceland" and the opening "The Knife Edge" is great too.

I always thought it was Mark Eitzel - and you're right, of course, it's Marvin Etzioni. I know absolutely nothing about him. I was going to tell you that Mark Eitzel is touring this country but you obviously couldn't care less.

Thanks for that. I'm going to have to play the album through again this weekend - the "Night Comes In" is suitably bizarre too.

Brendini said...

Lindsay Cooper also played, very atmospherically on an R & L Thompson track called Restless Boy.

Dave Leeke said...

Oh yes, the one about an Autistic kid. I thought about writing a Sci Fi book where they were called "Auties". Very PC of course.

I'd forgotten about that.

For mildly interested RT fans (or "latecomers") it was only available on a rare cassette (Yep!) for fans only. Sorry. Bloody great song - you should have heard it . . .

Brendini said...

You can hear it on Linda Thompson: Give Me a Sad Song. A retrospective compilation CD.

Dave Leeke said...

Er, that's interesting, because I've just checked my iPod version and it's not on there. Of course, I remember that you bought your cd copy a long time before I bothered to get mine. What track number is it? Disinterested parties can start finding something hidden in their ears at this point . . .

Dave Leeke said...

Checking it out, Brendan, does your version also have "The World is a Wonderful Place" on it? Mine doesn't.

My copy has 15 tracks whereas it seems that some versions had 17 on.

Bugger.

Brendini said...

Restless Boy is track 10 followed by The World Is A Wonderful Place.
Seventeen tracks in all.

Dave Leeke said...

Thanks. I'll have to copy that from you - I only have it on the "Doom and Gloom From the Tomb" cassette album. Don't seem to play cassettes much these days!

eeyorn said...

Ooh can we get into swaps?. I have some serious replenishment needed wrt RT's stuff, as I lost my collection a few years ago.

Dave Leeke said...

Hi eeyorn,

I'm happy to oblige but I don't want either of us to publish our email addresses on such an open forum. I'll see if Mike will perhaps forward an email from you? I'll ask him nicely.

eeyorn said...

sounds good thx Dave