Saturday, 1 August 2015

"MoonRock" on Radio Reverb 97.2's "The Daily Show"...

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Grateful thanks to Mike Bradshaw of Radio Reverb 97.2 and totallyradio.com for playing “MoonRock” at the top of “The Daily Show” last Tuesday. Check out the full show!

“MoonRock” is a psych-ish instro piece from 1981. It appears exclusively on Fruits de Mer’s “The 13th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival CD 1”, available on Friday 7th August 2015 only at FdM’s Festival of Psychedelia, The Cellar Bar and Art Gallery, Cardigan, Wales.


Beau - "White Rose Song" for Yorkshire Day 2015...

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Happy Yorkshire Day! (unreleased - this is a complete one-off!).

Sunday, 19 July 2015

New look website..,.

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I've just given my website a thorough makeover, both in content and appearance. 

Looks good, I think...


Thursday, 16 July 2015

"Creation" - "heavy airplay" on WFMU-FM...

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WFMU-FM reporting "heavy airplay" for the Guerssen/Sommor vinyl release of "Creation" in their latest list. 

Many thanks to all at WFMU - much appreciated!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

"Silence Returns" on "Dust On The Nettles" box set...

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It's great Grapefruit Records have included "Silence Returns" on their new “Dust On The Nettles” box set!

This is a superb 3CD anthology of the best of UK underground folk between 1967 and 1972 with Pentangle, the Incredibles, Steeleye Span and a good spattering of us Dandelioners!

I particularly love the comment in Psychobabble’s review: The chainsaw-massacre guitar on Beau’s “Silence Returns” is so intense it makes the track self combust for a spell”!

Wise words, and all credit again to Jim Milne!

Enjoy!


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

"The Atheist Hymn" on Dandelion Radio...

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Just catching up with Rocker's June show on Dandelion Radio and I find he played "The Atheist Hymn" from "Shoeless In The Desert"

Thanks again, Rocker - you're a star!


Monday, 6 July 2015

"America For Sale" on WMWM 91.7FM Salem...

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I love Doug Edwards​' sense of humour! 

On his Independence Day KMF show for WMWM 91.7FM Salem, he followed Phil Ochs​ "Power And The Glory" with "America For Sale" from "Shoeless In The Desert"!

Many thanks, Doug (great playlist, BTW...)


Sunday, 5 July 2015

"Shoeless In The Desert" reviewed by Caught In The Act...

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Many thanks to Brian Banks for this generous and detailed appraisal of "Shoeless In The Desert" which has recently appeared in the on-line magazine, "Caught In The Act".


***********
BEAU
“Shoeless In The Desert”
Cherry Red BEAUSITD1 – DL-only – (46:27)
by Brian R. Banks

The inaugural release of Dandelion was Beau’s single ‘1917 Revolution’ which reached not only Lebanon but also its top ten chart. It was recorded in his first session at CBS Studio in New Bond Street in mid-April 1969 – exactly forty six years later and a new 14-track release conjures up a similar feel. Shoeless In The Desert is a fourth download by Cherry Red, hot on the heels of Guerssen’s vinyl reissue of Creation, his second Dandelion LP which sold 7000 in three months in 1971. These new songs were also produced by Trevor Midgley aka Beau at TM Studios in his local Norfolk.

Like another Dandelioner Bridget St John, his home had no record player or radio pop, but his view of music changed when he heard Elvis Presley’s EP Jailhouse Rock at a family friend’s house during Christmas 1957. ‘It wasn’t just exciting,’ he recalled recently, ‘it was visceral.’ He paid homage on Creation when asked his bassist to open ‘Ferris Street’ with the riff of ‘Baby I Don’t Care’ from that EP. After first performing with Yorkshire-based The Raiders in the early sixties (a track of this school band appears on Fruits de Mer’s 2014 Annual), he heard the immortal bluesman Lead Belly and decided on a solo career with his own 12-string. It is in his tradition, with Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton (he also cites Roy Harper), that this singer-songwriter has been crafting atmospheric ballads and social commentary ever since. The atmosphere is consistent throughout his long career, the protest here is probably his most bitingly truthful so far.

‘Storm In The Eye Of God’ opens with one of his many favourite themes, mariners and voyages. Here it is about migration to the west, a current aftermath of historical imperialism, while references to Eskimaux and peasants add a psych-feel. There is a sense of the epic about ‘The Oyster And The Pearl,’ conjuring several strands simultaneously about relationships (‘a half-frozen hourglass that once was a girl’), the voted-in ones who affect and decimate lives, that history consists of fables agreed by committees but certain relationships (or links) can’t so easily be broken and transcend compartmentalisation. The four minutes reminds this listener vaguely of ‘Spider’ on Creation. Mood then shifts in his typical way with advice on how to avoid the physical consequences of a bad lifestyle when ‘veins go harder because of the cholesterol in your larder’ (‘Don’t Let Them Take You Away’, a nice play on words I’m guessing about fast-food).

‘Masquerade’ is pretty with hypnotically repeated lyrics, like Mick Softley or Bridget St. John when she takes up the 12-string. It’s the album’s promo video and shortest on the release. The personal is metaphored with Shakespeare references in ‘Theatre Song,’ perhaps the singer’s recent bedside reading as my favourite ‘Music Mountain’ nods to Puck and Titania, a bewitched and bewitching fairy-like place with nymphs peeping out from the 12-string’s waterfall. ‘Tree Of Life’, said to be a variation of Sibelius’ ‘Finlandia’, wonders if atrocities read about in far-away lands might be echoed soon after in the land we live, with wisdom on how modern times (mis) treats its inheritance. For ‘This ls Your Dream’ the songwriter feels a link to his eponymous debuts ‘Rain’, an up-tempo piece on dreams.

The equivalent second side builds up with some right-minded social insights. ‘America For Sale’, in appropriate mock banjo-style, flags the hookers on Broadway with what is learnt at Harvard and Yale, the main street McDonalds et al in their dubious obsession with commerce (see YouTube’s Five Secrets About.... series). President Coolidge said in 1925, cited by Beau in the press leaflet, ‘The chief business of the American people is business,’ but at what world cost? I can’t help thinking that history will view that country of excessive consumption and world imperialism far less kindly than today’s generations. The British model since Thatcher seems a related variant, whereby governments behind their so-called Party masks see it as business for themselves and friends only. ‘It is said that every people has the government it deserves,’ wrote G. B. Shaw, ‘it is more to the point that every government has the electorate it deserves.... Thus our democracy moves in a vicious circle of reciprocal unworthiness." And that was 1919! Trevor Midgley is Shavian in his perspective, as relevant then as now. Lyrics are as caustically sharp as a musical Mac the Knife. Not as street-personal as Kevin Coyne but wider canvases rather than momentary yet immortalised scenes, and both disseminate the currency of truth in their own individual ways.

‘Guardians Of Their Own Truth,’ on the roots of faith down the ages, starts as if ‘1917 Revolution’ reprised. Organised religions prefer dogma and superstition to reason, whether synagogue, mosque or the church of Jesus Christ the Entrepreneur according to his press-release. Certainly those faith systems are closed to outside (‘heretical’) interpretation, to facts of history such as archaeological evidence or suppression of now-unpalatable activities (the Inquisition; Borgia corruption; Mohammed resorting to banditry when forced out of Mecca; that Jewry wasn’t homogenised before the Holocaust but undertook even murder among the different warring denominations etc). It is in the same vein as the recent Italian international best-seller portraying the Vatican church as a modem marketing agency phenomenon. Again a link to Shaw recurs: his Will states that no memorial ‘should take the form of a cross, or any other instrument of torture or symbol of blood sacrifice.’

The closer is clearly a credo. ‘The Atheist Hymn,’ reminiscent of Dandelion-era ‘Blind Faith’ and ‘A Reason To Be,’ weighs the spoon-fed approach of doctrine with non-acceptance, ‘I am free to disbelieve’ runs the free-thinker’s chorus. The power of number one might be believers’ subconscious association for self-esteem, dare I say like male youth’s preference for foreign but rich sport teams and ‘stars.’ Beau’s songs have this ability to open debate and claw away what others prefer to cloak or veil. He sees himself as a ‘political junkie but without affiliation’: he is a Tom Paine or William Cobbett with a 12-string, used like a skein to support ideas which never sags with the weight of what is conveyed.

Like his mentors, he is now a ‘veteran of good stock’ for one of his most political statements, sympathising with the downtrodden and pauperised by those in political and economic power. His recent vinyls on the labels Ritual Echo and Sound of Salvation, and the CD Edge Of The Dark (Angel Air, 2009), featured this more than his early albums that included haunting and beguiling songs about relationships – think Marc Brierley’s classic Hello (1969, CBS) with its ‘A Presence (I Am Seeking)’. Here there is sharper focus on one element from his Dandelion work brought forward through the intervening mist. It even features neatly on one side of a cassette.

One might expect an added instrument subtly applied in the background (I hear a mellotron, a Jew’s Harp, wailing harmonica or sighing violin....) but they are as absent as the keys he can also play. It would be interesting too if a band co-operated again as on the now prolific song-writer’s second album. But the words are the essence, their depth always thought-provoking, as erudition combines with acute observation of the world around.

It is the sheer breadth of diversity of themes that anchor the listening experience, in true troubadour fashion. These are more exposed when not hiding behind a band, with the intricate guitar work providing its own melodic beat. Shoeless In The Desert adds to a fine body of work that deserves far more notice, especially as many of the era now seem burnt out. If the acclaimed Creation was the sound of silence, the current material is the articulated protest-call of the silent majority.


Brian R. Banks


Friday, 26 June 2015

Fruits de Mer Records - “The 13th Dream Of Dr. Sardonicus” - MoonRock & Mother Russia...

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Some fun coming up in the summer!!

Between August 7th & 9th 2015, Fruits De Mer Records are promoting their Festival Of Psychedelia – “The 13th Dream Of Dr. Sardonicus” – in Cardigan, Wales. A splendid time is guaranteed for all, with lots of goodies on offer.

A particularly quirky idea – and typically FdM! – is the release of three CDs, one for each night, exclusive to festival-goers.

I’m delighted to tell you FdM have included a previously-unreleased instro track of mine from 1981 – “MoonRock” – as the closer on the first night’s disc. However, I have a confession!

In February this year, I was working on a major piece of electronica – very un-Beau-like – called “Mother Russia”. Because it’s so far removed from anything I’ve done before, I adopted the name Simfonica for the project.

The good news is, FdM are including this twelve-and-a-half minute opus on their “13th Dream” disc for the third night. If you get to hear it, I really hope you like it. It’s been said “Mother Russia” is best listened to if your mind is slightly mood-altered, but I couldn’t possibly comment…

There aren’t many tickets left folks, so don’t miss out!


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

"Shoeless In The Desert" in India...

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Good news for friends in India

"Shoeless In The Desert" is now available for download through gaana.com.

Enjoy!


Saturday, 13 June 2015

"Creation" on "Searching For A Thread"...

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Thanks again to Dusty Visions at WRFI Watkins Glen, Ithaca, NY for playing yet another track - this time the title tune - from Sommor's "Creation" re-issue LP in his recent "Searching For A Thread" show. 

Greatly appreciated, Dusty! 

The show's been Mixclouded - do check it out!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Magna Carta - "The Way It Was"...

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A blast from the past... 800 years ago today, Magna Carta was sealed! 

From Ritual Echo / Cherry Red Records' "The Way It Was"...




Friday, 5 June 2015

Rocker plays "Release" on Dandelion Radio...

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Many thanks to Rocker for playing "Release" from "Creation" throughout May on his Dandelion Radio prog! 

Great show as always, and the whole thing's now up on Mixcloud - do check it out!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Harmonic Distortion reviews "Shoeless In The Desert"...

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I'm truly grateful to Duncan Fletcher at Harmonic Distortion for his really kind commentary on the new "Shoeless In The Desert"...

Cheers, Duncan...
***

Beau - Shoeless In The Desert 

How I survived the aftermath of the general election with a little help from Kurt Vonnegut and Beau's latest LP.

After the all too depressing results of the recent general election sank in, and the prospect of another five years of Tory government became a reality, my Twitter feed turned quickly from pre-election optimism and hope, to despair and blame. It also filled with scaremongering about what we as a society needed to prepare ourselves for. There was one tweet, amongst the deluge, that stuck in my mind and seemed to sum up where our society is heading. It highlighted a quote from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5, about how the American poor are encouraged to despise themselves, perpetuating their position and lack of opportunity while bolstering that of the rich and powerful. This, Vonnegut states, is in contrast to many other countries which have folk tales that value wisdom over wealth, and virtue over self-serving ambition -

America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” (Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse 5)

It's easy to see the parallels in modern Britain where our underclass is routinely ridiculed on TV, or attacked in the press, whereas corporations are free to avoid taxes if they pay enough donations to the right political parties. Timely then that the latest album from Beau should drop through my letterbox around the same time as did many electoral leaflets and voting reminders. It too chimes themes similar to those found in Slaughterhouse 5, along with other cautionary tales about corruption and misuse of wealth. Listening to Beau's latest work did give me some hope for the spiritual well being of our nation, which in the immediate wake of the election seemed somehow broken and in need of some TLC.

Shoeless In The Desert is a gentle compassionate album, and like those folk tales it champions wisdom and virtue. Recorded simply and in the timeless folk way of just voice and one 12-string guitar, no overdubs, it's an album that's all about melody and message. Themes spread across the album's fourteen songs include religion, immigration, environmental concerns, alongside more personal takes on relationships, ageing, and even a humorous sideswipe at coronary heart disease.


In our current sound-bite and shuffle era it's encouraging to see long-form songwriting done so well. And no wonder - Beau has been writing, recording and performing music for over four and a half decades. His early championing by John Peel tells you all you need to know about the calibre of his work. (Peel released Beau's debut as the first release on his Dandelion label). In a fairer world Beau would be a much valued cultural treasure, up alongside Dylan, Mitchell, Cohen and the like. As it is the world is not always fair, something that may become all too apparent over the next few years. Thankfully we have the likes of Beau to help fight our corner and cushion any blows. Long may it be so.


Saturday, 16 May 2015

"America For Sale" from "Shoeless In The Desert" on Out Of The Woods...

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Syndicated across the US from Alaska to NYC, tonight’s “Out Of The Woods” show with Jon "Chip" Colcord includes “America For Sale” from the new “Shoeless In The Desert” album. 

Many thanks, Chip! 

Friends in the UK can catch the show on Sword Radio on Thursday at 3pm. Not to be missed!