Comus perform 'First Utterance' London,UK, 21 Sep
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Topic: Comus perform 'First Utterance' London,UK, 21 Sep
Posted By: @MilesOfSmilesUK
Subject: Comus perform 'First Utterance' London,UK, 21 Sep
Date Posted: September 01 2013 at 12:35
Miles of Smiles very proudly presents...
COMUS (performing 'First Utterance')
SHIRLEY COLLINS (performing 'I'm a Romany Rai')
STEPHANIE HLADOWSKI & C JOYNES
Saturday 21 September 2013
Islington Assembly Hall
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* * * COMUS * * *
For anyone with an interest in British outsider music, COMUS are
amongst the most vivid, intoxicating, threatening and – as yet –
unreplicable propositions that these Isles have ever produced. Their
rare London appearances are a mesmerising delight – doubly so on this occasion, as they will perform their mesmerising 1971 masterpiece First Utterance in its entirety.
synthesis of British Folk’s visionary extremities (Incredible String
Band, Pentangle, Mr Fox et al) and the transatlantic progressive
tendency (King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Holy Modal Rounders), they link traditional music’s bloodthirsty seasonal/pagan undercurrents to the spiritual
questing of Blake and Milton; they also strongly recall the nightmare
pastoralism of contemporaneous films like ‘The Wicker Man’, ‘Witchfinder
General’ and ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’. Accordingly, Comus occupy a
unique and disorienting liminal space – between village green and
witches’ grotto, pulpit and stone circle, maypole and gallows.
Formed in the late 60s by the core duo of singer Roger Wooton and
guitarist Glenn Goring, and offered early patronage by David Bowie at
his ‘Growth’ arts lab in Beckenham, Comus released their astonishing
debut LP ‘First Utterance’ in 1971. They followed this with ‘To Keep
from Crying’ in 1974, before falling dormant.
Reawakened by an
invitation to play the 2008 Melloboat ‘rock cruise’ between Stockholm
and Riga, and with original members Bobbie Watson, Colin Pearson and
Andy Hellaby (plus Jon Seagroatt) still accompanying Goring &
Wooton, Comus made their long-awaited return to the London stage at
2009’s Equinox Festival. The band then set themselves to the dual task
of both writing new material and reworking their fabled ‘lost’ mid-70s
piece ‘The Malgarde Suite’, and the fruits of these endeavours can be
enjoyed on last year’s excellent, aptly titled ‘Out of the Coma.’
* * * SHIRLEY COLLINS * * *
SHIRLEY COLLINS is the talismanic figure of post-war English folk song,
formerly as the greatest singer of the period and – now – as a sage
chronicler, stirring speaker and ceaseless champion of the music’s
history and traditions. For this very special show, Shirley and actor
Pip Barnes will deliver a rare (and newly updated) performance of 'I’m a
Romany Rai', her tale of southern England’s Gypsy songs and singers.
Born in Hastings, East Sussex in 1935 to a family steeped in the
county’s singing traditions, Shirley moved to London in the early 50s,
falling in with the revivalist network cultivated by Ewan McColl and
Peggy Seeger around the Princess Louise pub in Holborn. Through this,
she met the American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, with whom she
embarked upon a field-recording odyssey (and whirlwind romance) across
the Southern US; an adventure that included the ‘discovery’ of the great
blues guitarist Mississippi Fred McDowell, and which was celebrated in
her fascinating, moving memoir 'America Over the Water'.
Returning to England in 1960, Shirley set to the task of building a
peerless discography which includes landmark collaborations with Davy
Graham, Peter Bellamy, her late sister Dolly, and her former husband,
Fairport Convention bassist Ashley Hutchings (in both Morris On and
various permutations of The Albion Band). She ceased to sing in the
early 80s, but has made occasional contributions to the works of others
including Current 93 and – last year – Sigur Ros.
* * * STEPHANIE HLADOWSKI & C JOYNES * * *
STEPHANIE HLADOWSKI & C JOYNES have both made individual
appearances for Miles of Smiles in the past, but this will be the first
time that we’ve hosted them as a duo. On their LP ‘The Wild, Wild Berry’
the pair reign in the eclecticism and virtuosity of their separate
ventures, with a faithfully sparse, solemn selection of ballads from the
shelves Cecil Sharp House that feels almost like a spooked, autumnal
companion piece to Shirley Collins & Davy Graham’s ‘Folk Roots, New
There are marked differences in form, however; whilst
Graham’s playing is bright and rapid, with a jazz-inflected snap,
Joynes’s guitar is spare and metronomic, the unerring rhythm of a shovel
meticulously excavating the heavy bones of these old, often bleak
songs. Hladowski’s singing likewise provides a fascinating counterpoint
to that venerable touchstone, earthy and direct but also agile and with a
curious spectral haze around its resolute core; she summons up a
procession of spirits to keep fleeting vigil by the material remains
already located by Joynes, breathing gorgeous, tragic life back into
these tales of love and loss.
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Posted By: @MilesOfSmilesUK
Date Posted: September 01 2013 at 12:36
This show obviously has a
strong seam of folk coursing through it, but hopefully the heretical
prog-folk of COMUS might be of interest to many forum users here!
Has anybody seen Comus before, either first time around or since their reemergence?
Posted By: Pekka
Date Posted: September 01 2013 at 14:00
I saw them after the comeback just before Out of the Coma was released. And it was absolutely brilliant. None of the edge has been lost, and a new kind of menace has been gained in the more mature voice of Roger Wootton. I'd love to see them again.
http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=42652" rel="nofollow - It's on PA!