Sunday Morning Coming Down

If you’ve been lucky enough to watch Rich Hall’s Countrier Than You (which I see is back up on the BBC iPlayer, so I assume it’s been broadcast again without me noticing) then you’ll know that the boundary lines between folk and country music are blurred at the best of times.

A while ago, my brother and I converged on our parents’ house; after dinner he got out his iPad and, using his iTunes streaming subscription as the database, we played an impromptu game of The Chain. The iPad got passed round the table, and the lucky holder got to choose what record we heard next.

At some point, my brother played a song by this morning’s band, perhaps their most famous record, certainly their most commercially successful one. He looked genuinely wounded when I said he could have chosen something better by them.

In America, this would be classed as either Country, Folk or Bluegrass, but here in the UK we sniffily call this lot a bunch of crusties. Which shouldn’t detract from the fact that this, and a couple of other songs they did, are rather fine:

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The Levellers – Far From Home

More soon.

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Sunday Morning Coming Down

I was feeling a little run down towards the end of last week, so on Friday I decided to have an early night and went to bed with Graham Norton.

Wait. Let me rephrase that. I went to bed and watched the Graham Norton show.

The guests included actors Ewan McGregor and Sam Neill, long time buddies it turns out; they related that they had spent many any evening in each other’s company, drinking until the wee small hours, before invariably indulging in a sing-song.

They took little persuasion to recreate this, both seemingly having arrived with ukuleles in anticipation of the event, and they broke into a fairly decent version of a song that, as I lay in bed, I knew I’d heard before, thought I owned a copy of somewhere, but couldn’t quite put my finger on who the version I owned was by.

A half-hearted flick through my vinyl and CD racks failed to offer up any clues, so, now unable to sleep, I surfed the net to try and answer that question and also find a good version of it to post for your delictation.

And this is what I found. Not the original, but of the God-knows-how-many versions I listened to, the one that stood out the most for me:

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Tia Blake & Her Folk Group – Plastic Jesus

I’ve never heard of Tia Blake before, but there’s something Mo Tucker from Velvet Underground-ish about her vocals that I really like.

Anyway, a much longer search of that there internet failed to garner me with the details of where I knew the tune from, and it bugged me for most of the day.

Then, mid-way through the second half of the England game, as my mind understandably wandered, it came to me. The reason I hadn’t found it was because I owned the song with a different, Kanye-esque spelling of Jesus. By this lot of crusty dog-on-a-string types:

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The Levellers – Plastic Jeezus

I’ll leave you to decide which version you prefer.

More soon.