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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Lancashire Lad Mike Harding's Beautiful Music (57* d) RE: Mike Harding's Beautiful Music 06 Jan 06

Sadly there were many excluded from the English folk revival, but likewise there were many excluded from the "British invasion" of early / mid 60s American pop culture and likewise the skiffle craze or the 1970s punk explosion. Ultimately not every artist gets the credit they deserve, or that we believe they are due.

Anyone slagging off Jack Hudson is a fool. He has a genuine songwriting gift. This was present for all to see on his early Folk Heritage LPs in the 1970s, and it is just as obvious if you listen to his recent "Elvis is alive and Well" CD. Hopefully we now live in more enlightened days where we are not so snobbish to exclude performers due to an appreciation of American influences. And if someone still holds that point of view, their blinkered life must be considerably less richer.

Moving back to Mike Harding, Mike "served his time" working the folk circuit around the north west for many years as a musician and general humourist.... long before the Rochdale Cowboy was even conceived. As much as I dislike that song (and most comic songs in general), I don't think it was in any way a "sneering" attack at country music, merely one of his daft songs.

With regard to his radio show. the point of attack should be Radio 2. Mike Harding has a brief that his show should appeal to a wide cross section of the folk audience, and he manages to that regularly. To my ears, he may well play more Irish music than I would personally want, but I am sure there are those who say he plays too much English music, American music or whatever. It's purely down to our own personal taste. As with TV programmes, all we have to do is switch channel. The BBC provide a wide range of folk and roots programmes accross the local network. In this digital age, all we have to do is log on and listen. Additionally there are now numerous independent net based radio stations playing folk music. All we have to do is tune in.

Returning to the topic of this thread which is Mike's talent as a songwriter. The album Bombers Moon is a fine album containing a handful of truly memorable tracks. Bombers Moon itself and The Accrington Pals are genuinely moving to hear. Likewise, the covers on the album are excellent. His version of Dave Goulder's January Man is faultless, while his version of Eric Bogle's "Band Played Waltzing Matilda" is the equal of the original and up there with June Tabor's as a classic cover version.

If eople care to check out some of his other songs from other albums, you will see the gift has always been present (even though often hidden behind comic monolgues and gags). For evidence see early recordings of Jinny Bobbin, The Lancashire Lads, The Mills of the Valley, etc.

As for weelittledrummers question about who is singing the folk songs for today, I would offer up Dick Gaughan, Robb Johnston and Billy Bragg.

Well that's my two penneth


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