Music

Halfway through this eccentric and irritating book, the author lists the sixteen albums that Van Morrison released between 1980 and 1996 and then, dismissing them all as unworthy of consideration, asks rhetorically: “How do you write off more than fifteen albums and more than fifteen years of the work of a great artist?” The short […]

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Leonard Cohen

by John Boland

Leonard Cohen, can you believe it, will be 73 this September, more cool now than he’s ever been, with the soul of a poet and the soulfulness of the greatest singers. Just as hard to credit is that it’s almost forty years ago since he recorded his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, from whose […]

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Liam Clancy

by John Boland

It was through my colleague and great friend Joe Kennedy that I first met Liam Clancy. That was 20 years ago come New Year’s Eve, although of course I’d known of the man throughout all of my adolescent and adult life. Indeed, for an Irish teenager in the early to mid-1960s it was impossible not […]

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John Martyn

by John Boland

John Martyn died at the beginning of this year. He was only 60, but although news of his death came as a shock, for many of us who’d followed his career down through the decades it wasn’t really a surprise because, although he was blessed with extraordinary musical gifts, there had always seemed something determinedly […]

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In the early 1980s, after a decade as Britain’s funniest and sharpest television reviewer, Clive James became an active participant in the medium that had so excercised his marvellous critical faculties. In doing so, as he relates in this fifth volume of his memoirs, he found himself inhabiting “the strange world where everybody knows your […]

By Clinton Heylin. Constable, £20.00 sterling. Bob Dylan has always attracted extreme admirers, but among the goodly number of daft books written about him none was dafter than Dylan’s Visions of Sin (2004), in which eminent literary critic Christopher Ricks chose to regard the songs as lyrics on a page, divorced both from their melodies […]

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Like Don McLean, I can’t remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride, but I do recall that my sister was inconsolable when news of Buddy Holly’s death came through on the wireless. That was only to be expected, as Buddy Holly was Mary’s first hero. Being younger and belonging to a […]

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