Here We Go says Simpson and Flemons Sing Favourites






Here We Go says Simpson and Flemons Sing Favourites

Here We Go says Simpson and Flemons Sing Favourites

Having heard all of the twelve tracks on the album live in 2016 when Simpson & Flemons visited Cardiff, I was delighted to be able to relive the night of live music once again. In fact, can re-live the experience as often as I like. The only things that are missing the presence of two great musicians and the interesting anecdotes and facts between the numbers giving context and a deeper understanding of the deep roots of the acoustic music being played. All twelve tracks have a purpose and in addition to the new arrangements and musicianship we have the blending, and mixing of British traditional music and blues in many guises and the common heritage of themes, lyrics and melodies the two traditions share.

The twelve tracks that are as they state ever popular to lovers of acoustic music, were recorded live during their sell-out autumn 2015 tour. Simpson and Flemons find a unity as they harmonise what are the common core of roots acoustic music from each side of the Atlantic. They find the common threads that show a deep psyche of roots music in the cultural memories of folk.  Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons champion traditional music that is still relevant and speaking to us today the modern audiences that packed their shows. The people travelled as did their music creating a river of creativity. Opening the album of delights with  Here we go as they pick up instruments and play.  Short Time Come Again No More reflects back across the Atlantic the suffering of the factory workers of the North West as well as those hit by the cotton famine of the American Civil War. A mirror image, re-working of Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More it hits the message home hard and the lyrics win through. The instrumentation throughout is fresh, lively with an energy that makes your feet tap and becoming engaged. For many this album will be an introduction to the Quills as part of the multi-instrumentalist repertoire that is Dom Flemons, this pipe-like instrument can be heard on Bulldoze Blues, inspiration for Canned Heat’s Going Up Country this combined with his vocals that have an authority and intensity as he spans the octaves with a purity and a mighty fine holler when required. Combining Martin’s scintillating slide and acoustic finger picking style joining in with Dom’s Quills with a piping call and the percussive bones this is music that sings from the heart deep into your musical DNA. The vocals are full of emotional intensity, yet at the same time, every song has a simplicity letting the words tell that tale of people’s experiences we all recognise today. The mix is enticing with Champagne Charlie re-invigorated and Coalman Blues telling the story full of humour and pathos. Every track has something to say to you the whole album zings with the energy of a live performance with emotions,  and the charm of music delivered with love and care.  All the traditional numbers are arranged by Simpson and Flemons and into the mix is a Flemon’s original Too Long I’ve Been Gone fitting into the mix perfectly.  A definite for your acoustic collection. I recommend close the curtains block out the world, sit back and be absorbed into the music and the power of the lyrics.

Mr Martin Simpson & Mr Dom Flemons – Ever Popular Favourites – Fledgling Records

TEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. My Money Never Runs Out
  2. John Hardy
  3. If I Lose
  4. Little Sadie
  5. Pay Day
  6. Short Time Come Again No More
  7. Too Long (!’ve Been Gone)
  8. Bulldoze Blues
  9. Stealin
  10. Champagne Charlie
  11. Coalman Blues
  12. Buckeye Jim

Martin Simpson & Dom Flemons Live @ St David’s Hall

- Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons - St David's Hall - Oct 2015_0050lMartin Simpson & Dom Flemons
@ St Davids Hall Cardiff
13th October 2015

Tonight delivered everything that this show, as part of the Roots Unearthed on the 3rd Floor of St David’s Hall, promised to be; two hours of superb musicianship the blending, and mixing of British traditional music and blues in many guises and the common heritage of themes, lyrics and melodies the two traditions share. Above all this was the joy of listening to two musicians who devour the stories and share the joy with the audience with nuggets of information about the songs, the history, the narrative and emotions creating the perfect music experience.

- Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons - St David's Hall - Oct 2015_0136lWe heard nineteen delicious songs that spanned country, vaudeville and delta blues with folk songs from the English lexicon we had ballads, sauciness and infectious guitar licks and the percussive quality of bones the ethereal piping of the quills and harp playing and the joy of banjo tunes played with skillful dexterity. Tonight like all of the gigs on the second tour of this duo was recorded with the tantilising and exciting promise of a CD celebrating the bond of common love of the songs they play and the mutual respect they have for each other’s talent as they uncover and share with us the power of tunes and lyrics that need to be heard and remembered.

- Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons - St David's Hall - Oct 2015_0052lOpening the show Martin delivered St James Hospital a traditional song and in reply Dom brings the ‘over-the-pond’ rendition of St James Infirmary the songs are similar rooted deep in musical memory but the translation and changes reflect the two nations. Like so much music nothing stands still the tunes and lyrics develop and modify to reflect audiences and the times in which they are sung. Music is an organic form nothing is set in aspic once musicians add their own interpretation and arrangement it is what keeps live music vibrant and the pure pleasure it brings to everyone in their seats tonight.

- Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons - St David's Hall - Oct 2015_0111lTonight for many we were introduced to the Quills as part of the multi-instrumentalist repertoire that is Dom Flemons, the first outing for this pipe-like instrument was Bulldose Blues, inspiration for Canned Heat’s Going Up Country this combined with his vocals that have an authority and intensity as he spans the octaves with a purity and a mighty fine holler when required. Added into the mix is the superb finger work, finger picking and slide guitar of Martin Simpson as the music just rolled from their fingers and lips. We had a parody of Stephen Foster’s 1850 Hard Times Come Again No More, not the American Civil war soldiers re-writing Hard Tack Come Again No More; this is an English song during the Cotton Famine in the 1860’s due to blockades of Confederate ports during the Civil War and rename Short Times, found by the Martin & Dom when visiting Cecil Sharpe House, the archives of English Folk songs and dance. All too soon the first half was finished with a flurry as they delivered Leadbelly’s Poor Howard and Champagne Charlie with its links to the music hall tradition across the UK and Europe.

- Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons - St David's Hall - Oct 2015_0016lOpening the second installment with My Money Never Runs Out, Dom plays banjo on this Gus Cannon number. We heard about Minstrel shows and how their popularity spread across the world, segregation Vaudeville and the difficulties of early black musicians and and how blues changed and adapted. The wealth if historical knowledge was as deep and immense as the music they were playing. Stealin’ a jug band number featured a St David’s Hall Jug/Carafe and added another layer of tonal experience the evening bought. The evening closed far too soon with a rousing version of Little Liza Jane and enthusiastic singing from the audience, this was an evening that has that special element that you all get if you were sitting in the audience.

Every song they sung deserves a mention and the story that went with it but to get that go and see them live they are still on tour see below you will not be disappointed. They are touring extensively throughout October, November and December check out the dates and venues HERE

Set List

St James Hospital
St James Infirmary
Bulldose Blues
Ruben
Little Sadie
Payday
Short Times
Old Folks At Home
Poor Howard
Champagne Charlie
My Money Never Runs Out
If I Lose
Stealin’
Coalman Blues
Too Long/I’ve Been Gone
John Hardy
Buckeye Jim
Little Liza Jane