I did have one particularly magic evening, though, when I went with my old friend Tom to see Roger McGuinn in Bristol. McGuinn is a bit of a bona fide folk historian these days, uncovering and re-recording lost folk and bluegrass classics on his excellent Folk Den site, and we were expecting the evening to consist largely of these worthy projects. I wouldn’t have complained, mind, I just wanted to see and hear the twelve-string and that unique voice. To our surprise and pleasure, however, he happily trawled through his magnificent back catalogue and gave us a thoroughly good evening, one that he too seemed to be enjoying.
Various accounts you read and stories you hear have suggested that the Byrds were a rather po-faced bunch, who famously refused to speak to the young John Peel on their arrival in London. McGuinn’s obviously mellowed with age, however, and I am happy to report that he seemed like a genuinely decent bloke, who I feel sure would have been happy to while away many an hour talking with this tongue-tied fan afterwards, if such a meeting had not been entirely imaginary... Anyway, highpoints of the evening were a beautiful version of John Riley and a completely single-handed Eight Miles High (think about that), which was pretty damn impressive.
I can’t really post anything from Roger McGuinn here, tempting as it may be, although by way of a tenuous link I do have a track here by Canterbury band Beebah Stant, Shiv pt 2, which made me think of the raga-style guitar pieces in Eight Miles High.
Shiv Pt 2
To be honest Beebah Stant are nothing like the Byrds and seem to model themselves more on Sonic Youth than any beat up old sixties icons. If you like a bit of rather stylish dissonance, I reckon this lot should do the trick nicely.
I do try to make this blog as informative as possible when it comes to new bands - the collective raising of eyebrows is almost audible, I know – but Beebah Stant seem to prefer to be … ah, well… shrouded in mystery, you could say. Their Myspace page for example, helpfully tells you that they sound like:
the tiring feeling you get when your mother catches you eating the last
sequin off her new dress/climbing the ladder of injustice to find a
burning portrait of your 80 year old inner thigh/bringing in your mangy,
fleabitten dog from the rain and then discovering its bum is full of
your favourite ice cream.
Their actual website gives you even less and this site (Blue Light District)
includes the gem, “no think idea you no have”.
Quite. Anyway who cares, it’s a cracking good noise and worth a bang if you ask me...