Nanci Griffith has a song which sprung out of part of a tour itinerary. While the rest of the Blue Moon Orchestra were whiling away their down time Nanci wrote an unaccompanied folk ballad about her trip to Aberdeen. I can’t think of a trip to the Granite City as significant as Nanci’s ‘Road to Aberdeen’ but I do remember a beautiful ride home one sunny morning.
The year is a little sketchy but it was late seventies and the Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes and Graham Parker and The Rumour tour had not been booked to play Dundee but had, rather, elected to visit The Music Hall in Furryboots City. My pal, Pete was a student up in the town and we had tickets. I was to stay over with him after the gig on the Sunday evening with the assurance I’d return my mother’s car back in time for her work on the Monday morning. I remember the drive back as if it was yesterday. A sparkling North Sea to the left of me as a fishing boat gently carved the water out beyond Stonehaven and, as my mother’s mini had no radio or cassette player, the only sound was the music of my imagination. It wasn’t hard to make that happen as I’d been at one of those gigs you alway hear about but – until that point – seemed to elude me. The Jukes were up first and their horn section was front and off-centre – but in your face. After this came The Rumour with their classic line up augmented by a wonderful brass section, this time offset a little behind the main band. It was on this night I might have first discovered the glory of The Tramps’ ‘Hold Back The Night.’ and the joy of Southside’s great version of Miami Steve’s I Don’t Wanna Go Home…two songs which followed me through my life.
I thought of this night recently as we ticked off yet one more band who are not afraid to mix in the R n B with the country to create these beautiful roots southern stews we love so much. We call it Americana but heck..we know it’s just great music.
So look out for a soul/country/blues crossover sequence featuring Sam Outlaw, Margo Price, Valerie June and Anderson East…oh and something rather wonderful from Don Bryant.
We shall also welcome John Murry. In our most celtically connected moment yet John will tell us how his first AC visit has reaped rewards by the way of his long awaited second album. He’ll play session versions from ‘ A Short History of Decay’ and we’ll hear the story of that five year lay over which took him from San Francisco to Kilkenny via an encounter with the Cowboy Junkies. John is a compulsive listen and, accompanied by his excellent tour band, you will hear him on fine form.
There’s probably more but this should whet your appetite for what will be a remarkable two hours of country music …our way.
Join us from five past nine this Tuesday evening on BBC Radio Scotland FM.