Richard Dawson and his music
February 17, 2015 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Black Dog in the Sky; Final Moments of the Universe; The Vile Stuff; Wooden Bag; Poor Old Horse: some songs by the English (specifically Geordie) singer & guitarist Richard Dawson. ‘[A] distinctly English folk equivalent of Captain Beefheart’s deconstruction of the blues,’ opines The Guardian, of his recent album Nothing Important. ‘Syd Barrett’s freewheeling poetry teamed with the guitar strangle of Eugene Chadbourne or Derek Bailey’ hazards Rolling Stone. Of his own work, Dawson has said ‘I have come to think of it as ritual community music. Perhaps you could call that folk music, but it is certainly not in the folk tradition. I hope it belongs to part of a wider tradition of north east artists, people like Jospeh Crawhall, Jack Common, Basil Bunting, John Martin and Peter Beardsley.’
posted by misteraitch (13 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I read the title, and I was sure I was going to read a post about "Apples and Oranges." This guy's music is probably better.
posted by zorseshoes at 6:45 AM on February 17, 2015 [5 favorites]

He's even better with guitar! q
posted by octobersurprise at 6:47 AM on February 17, 2015

I'm really excited by Richard Dawson. He's supposed to be wonderful live, but I haven't managed to see him yet.

His lyrics are really incredible. His recent interview with The Quietus makes it clear how much work goes into them:
RD: [SIGHS] I’m pretty happy with the lyrics on the album but there’s just one that I didn’t get right and for me it throws the whole surrounding minutes into disarray. It’s really all out chaos surrounding this lyric.

That’s the trouble with creating anything though isn’t it? Everyone else can see this thing that they think is amazing and all you can see is what you perceive to be a flaw. Isn’t it always going be like that when you’re songwriting?

RD: I think so yeah. I don’t even mind telling you the line. It’s in ‘Nothing Important’. “Cradling a false pearl” is the offending line. “A skiff on the swollen Tweed” - I’m happy with that. The idea is that it could be the skiff cradling this pearl or it could be this ceramic seraph mentioned in the next line, and you’re not quite sure. But I should have just written, “cradling a pearl” but I wrote “cradling a false pearl” and it’s a disaster. I hear it every time and think, “OH MY GOD! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!”
posted by cincinnatus c at 6:49 AM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh, wow. thanks for this, so much. I was thinking, like, Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson -- so happy to have not only Dawson, now, but the North East artists he mentions as well, to look forward to. (OK, I knew about John Martin.)

posted by allthinky at 6:55 AM on February 17, 2015

Saw him in his hometown of Newcastle a couple of weeks ago, seeing him again tonight in Bradford. Can't even describe how good he is live.
posted by cilantro at 6:58 AM on February 17, 2015

Really, I find Dawson's performances of songs like "Black Dog in the Sky" gorgeous, grotesque, sad, and hilarious all at once. He's one of my favorite recent discoveries. And if you dig Dawson at all, you'll probably dig another favorite of mine, Daniel Bachman, who isn't quite like Dawson, but who works in the Fahey/Jack Rose tradition. (And Now I Am Born To Die; Orange County Serenade.)
posted by octobersurprise at 6:59 AM on February 17, 2015

allthinky—he’s using a broad definition of artistry in that remark: Peter Beardsley was a famous footballer… Basil Bunting (a poet) is certainly well worth checking out though.
posted by misteraitch at 7:02 AM on February 17, 2015

If anyone is in the area, the show tonight at Fuse Art Space in Bradford is free... not very well-publicised, because it's a small venue and people will probably be turned away. So, actually, don't go, because I don't want to be left out...
posted by cilantro at 7:04 AM on February 17, 2015

My very first impression when reading the headline was, "Richard Dawkins plays music? When did this start happening?"

I guess I'm gonna need that second cup of coffee this morning after all.
posted by surazal at 7:08 AM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

As long as we're dating ourselves, I read the title and was terrified I was going to hear music by the long-running host of Family Feud and co-star of Hogan's Heroes.

Hogan's Heroes re-runs at least. Let me have that much...
posted by Naberius at 7:19 AM on February 17, 2015 [7 favorites]

misteraitch, i saw that when I clicked on the John Martin link ... there I was, hoping no one would notice. :-)
posted by allthinky at 7:21 AM on February 17, 2015

John Martyn with a "Y"
posted by ohshenandoah at 8:34 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

No love for Roy Harper?
posted by unliteral at 5:40 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

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