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New "What's in My Bag?" Episode With Singer-Songwriter Linda Thompson

Posted by Amoebite, March 27, 2014 10:10am | Post a Comment

Linda Thompson

If there is such a thing as folk rock royalty, then Linda Thompson deserves a gold throne at the head of the table. Her story definitely has the makings of an episode of VH1's Behind The Music, full of drama, heartbreak and drug addicted co-starsHer circle of friends included many great singer-songwriters who played major roles in the folk rock boom of the '60s and '70s. Such friends include Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, John Martyn, Tim Buckley and, of course, her ex-husband Richard Thompson. During the '70s, Linda and Richard Thompson married and released several albums as a duo for Island Records before taking a three year hiatus to study Sufism. In 1982, they partnered with famed producer Joe Boyd to release Shoot Out The Lights (Hannibal), which critics today hail has one of the greatest folk rock records of all time. (You can watch our "What's In My Bag?" episode with Joe Boyd here.)

Linda ThompsonDespite battling a rare throat condition that hampered Linda's ability to talk and sing (resulting in an eleven year hiatus), Thomspon has released four solo records including 2013's Won't Be Long (Pettifer Sounds). This new album finds her collaborating with her son, singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson, including backing vocals by her daughters (Kami & Muna) and accompaniment from her ex, Richard Thompson. The end result is a cohesive, timeless batch of covers and originals that marks a definite milestone for the singer in her 60s. 

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Producer Joe Boyd

Posted by Amoebite, January 2, 2014 04:19pm | Post a Comment

Joe Boyd

Joe Boyd is an icon when it comes to music producers. He was at the core of Britain's folk rock boom of the '60s and pioneered the World Music genre in the '80s and '90s. Mr. Boyd has been a part of some Joe Boydiconic moments in music history, including overseeing Bob Dylan's legendary first live electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Boyd also signed and produced a young 20-year-old Nick Drake who subsequently released the classic album, Five Leaves Left. Boyd also holds the distinction of producing Pink Floyd's first single, "Arnold Layne."  From founding his label, Hannibal Records, to working as a film executive for Warner Bros. to releasing his memoir, White Bicycles: Making Music In the 1960s, Joe Boyd has definitely made his mark.  

Amoeba's "What's In My Bag?" crew had the pleasure of hanging out with Mr. Boyd during a recent visit to our San Francisco store. Needless to say, he has very eclectic taste in music. Mr. Boyd kicks off the episode with Dafnis Prieto's About The Monks and says Prieto is the "new genius of the drums." Boyd also digs up a copy of Mongo Santamaria's Our Man In Havana on vinyl. Although he points out he doesn't keep up with current bands too much, he made sure to pick up a copy of Phosphorescent's Here's To Taking It Easy. Mr. Boyd has many cool picks from all regions of the world to check out!

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Robyn Hitchcock and Joe Boyd @ Swedish American Hall Tonight

Posted by Miss Ess, September 22, 2010 09:40am | Post a Comment
robyn hitchcockjoe boyd

Tonight there will be a very special performance at San Francisco's fabulous Swedish American Hall -- Robyn Hitchcock will be covering songs that uber producer/Swinging London man about town Joe Boyd made famous throughout his storied career. Will Hitchcock play "Just Another Diamond Day?" Or "Way To Blue?" Thewhite bicycles joe boyd possibilities are tantalizing.

Said career was in fact storied officially in Boyd's amazingly entertaining book White Bicycles, which I highly recommend. Boyd produced artists like Nick Drake, Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Vashti Bunyan and many more, and was involved in the careers of Pink Floyd, The Move -- basically every good English rock or folk band or artist through the 60s.

At the event tonight, Boyd will read from his book, and will no doubt elaborate on some of his incredible stories, such as witnessing Dylan's controversial electric performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival from backstage, and dating Linda Thompson before she married Richard Thompson. Quite a life he's had, and tonight's show promises to be full of insider details about a fascinating time in music that's long since past but is constantly referenced by artists working today. This is the stuff of legends, people.

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Vashti Bunyan Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, May 28, 2008 07:00pm | Post a Comment
Vashti Bunyan's seminal 1970 album Just Another Diamond Day contains some of the most pastoral songs you ever could hear. Written while traveling through England in a horse drawn caravan and produced by Joe Boyd back in London, the record perfectly captures a bucolic snapshot of that journey. Vashti had had a brief flirtation with recording previous to Diamond Day, when she cut singles for The Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham in the mid 60s. Soon after Diamond Day was quietly released, she quit music and lived on an isolated farm for many years. Fast forward to 2000, when Diamond Day was re-released after languishing in obscurity for decades. It quickly won a new audience, and Vashti was inspired to write once again, eventually releasing her second album, Lookaftering, in 2005 and touring for the first time. In 2007, Some Things Just Stick Around in Your Mind, a compilation of early unreleased and rare recordings by Vashti, was released. Here, Vashti tells us about her early inspirations, her life on the farm, working with Joe Boyd and picking up the guitar once again after so many years away from it.

vashti bunyan

ME: What kind of music did your parents listen to around the house when you were growing up?
 
Vashti: My father had a great collection of 78 rpm classical records and a huge old radiogram. I have never been able to put names to the music or the composers, just very clear – sometimes note for note -- memories.
 
ME: Was there a particular person in your life early on who particularly nurturedvashti bunyan early days your love of music?
 
Vashti: My father – although I’m sure it wasn’t something he tried to do. Watching him conduct his imaginary orchestra with a look of such pure happiness on his face maybe had an effect. My brother also – who was ten years older than me and went to college for a year in USA, returning with LP records and a suitcase full of all the bits needed to make up a deck for playing them on. Fascinating to a 5 year old.
 
What was the first bit of music you remember hearing that inspired you to write yourself?
 
I haven’t thought about it till now but I remember this piece of music I loved from when I was about five sung by Kathleen Ferrier that began ‘flocks in pastures green abiding.’ Hmm.vashti bunyan 1960s
 
When did you start playing guitar and writing songs? How did you learn to play?
 
My first year at art school, I was 17; my friend Jenny had a guitar and a Bert Weedon guitar book– with the chords for songs like "When the Saints Go Marching In" and others. I fell upon it. I’d had violin lessons before and so I learned very quickly. It wasn’t long before we both started writing mournful love songs.
 
It sounds like you were a shy person starting out in music-- yet it must have taken an incredible amount of courage to seek a label and record tracks. How did you manage to put yourself out there?
 

Yes, I often wonder how I did it. I was shy around people but I did believe in my own songs. I’ve always been amazed at my youngest son, who was a very shy kid until he got on to a basketball court where he suddenly became tall, confident and sure-footed. I felt like that in a recording studio.
 
Can you recall the feeling of "Swinging London?" Any particular memories from this time that stand out?
 bob dylan robert zimmerman
I remember with rebellious pleasure – tinged with guilt -- the way that the older generation were so upset by us all. They had tried desperately to protect us from the hardships they had been through and so unwittingly they gave us minds of our own – and then we flew the nest in ways they could never have dreamed of.
 
When you were first starting out, what artists in particular struck you?

Jimi Hendrix (1973)

Posted by Miss Ess, April 25, 2008 05:35pm | Post a Comment
jimi hendrix
If you are a gigantic music fan, you've probably already listened to and absorbed Jimi Hendrix' music to the point where you might think you never ever need to hear it again.  I know the feeling-- when I was in high school Jimi was one of the primary artists I listened to, over and over and over again to the point of oblivion.

So to you, the jaded, I say, hold up!  Just when you think you've seen and heard everything (and maybe you have, but this was new to me...), here comes the fairly recent reissue of the 1973 documentary Jimi Hendrix, which was directed by Joe Boyd, John Head III and Gary Weis.  I read about it in Joe Boyd's White Bicycles, and finally got my hands on a copy of the movie. 

Producer extraordinaire Boyd was heartbroken by the bumps that came along with putting together this film.  One thing he was dead on about, and what really makes this film compelling above all others about Hendrix, is that the interviews were conducted only 3 years after Hendrix' death, and both his contradictory and brilliant presence and the awe he inspired in his fellow musicians is extremely palpable.  Heck, you can see it written all over Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend's still-freaked-out faces! 

And then there are the girlfriends, so many of them.  The one that stands out is Fayne Pridgon, who hejimi hendrix soundtrack cover met in Harlem and dated throughout the sixties.  She's quite the feisty gal, and her stories about Hendrix are hilarious-- her manner of speaking is unnervingly similar to Jimi's.  Her mother had a heavy love/hate relationship with Hendrix, which Fayne details in alternatively sad and silly tales.  She remembers wide-eyed Jimi bringing home a Dylan record and flipping out that she tried to leave the room to go to the bathroom during one of the songs, nearly missing the best part!  She also tells a great story about being on the subway with Jimi and their cats, who got loose.

Roadies and managers are also interviewed, folks I had never seen in other documentaries.  Their memories are fresh:  a roadie recalls having to stand behind the amps and hold them up while Jimi humped and flailed away on the front of the Marshall stack; a manager remembers landing in London in 1970 to a pack of paparazzi and moving aside, only to have his arm firmly grabbed by still-shy Jimi, who didn't want to be left alone with the press.

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