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August 10th. 11th and 12th 2023

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3rd Day  

Richard Digance

Morgan way

Beans On Toast


The Young 'Uns

Gilbert O'Sullivan

Fairport Convention and Friends

I am a Cropredy expert now. Wake up, shower, breakfast, check emails, pack bags, cup of coffee, go. For the past two days we’ve had lovely weather but as noted yesterday, sporadic rain is predicted today. An examination of the skies out of the window shows the sun unsuccessfully trying to break through the clouds but the show will go on as it did in 2019, when gale force winds and torrential rain swept Britain; Cropredy being the only outdoor festival in the UK that did go on that weekend.


It's noticeably cooler outside as head out and I’m glad I packed a long-sleeve shirt. Once there and pitched, I introduce myself to today’s neighbours and act like a veteran or at least how I think a veteran should act. Talking of which, the man about to take the stage ten minutes early, actually is a Cropredy veteran having performed lord knows how many of the past conventions, Richard Digance. I’m delighted he opens with one of my favourites of his, Jack Of All Trades, which he follows with some new songs, punctuated with his inimitable wit and humour. Towards the end of his set, I notice nimbostratus clouds rolling in and the rain hits us quick. The clouds are moving fast though and the shower is over in two minutes. Richard mentions the storm in 2019 and asks how many were there. About a third of the crowd judging by the cheer. Then there is a moment towards the end of his set, an audience participation moment, when I realise, I am not quite the veteran I thought I was. Never mind, I will be next year. Time to head backstage for my first interview of the day. Stevie is there of course, concerned about the weather. ‘Can’t be as bad as 2019 anyway' she says with a smile and lets me know that everything is running ten minutes early including my interviews. Jay McAllister is already hanging around and she introduces us.


Beans On Toast

It’s difficult to describe Jay, A.K.A., Beans On Toast. He’s a Punk that errs on the side of optimism, a poet that sings and the happy hippy-rappy bloke next door who just happens to play gigs all over the world. After a chat about Japan, we begin the interview.


Q: Your lyrics, whether they are ‘life is good’ or ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ or anything else, always make people think and you never place yourself above the people that you are writing to. You never preach, just ask people to listen for three minutes and then make their own minds up. What sort of feedback have you had about any songs in particular that made you think ‘I did all right with that one’?


JM: Ooh let me think…to be honest, MDMAmazing, that song always resonates. I’ve had so many people say ‘That exact same story happened to me, happened to me and my missus’. For a long time, that’s a song a lot of people want to talk about and then I wrote a song called Magic about the birth of my daughter and a caesarean section basically and it was the same thing! I went from people giving me free drugs at the merch stand to birth stories. (laughs) ‘Oh man! We had a C-section too! Wasn’t it scary!’ There seems to be something in those songs, how I told my story and them going through something similar. As far as connecting with the positive spin on the world, I remember having a really deep conversation once with an ex-soldier but also an ex…I don’t know…racist? Fascist? He said that my music had fundamentally changed his outlook on everything. He used to have a lot of hate for people, gay people, people of different colour, etc and somehow, I changed him. I felt strange taking all the credit and thought there must have been other factors but he said ‘Your songs changed my outlook’. I did think, well, even if I just change one mind – not that that is what I am setting out to do because changing someone’s mind like that is very difficult to do – if that is now how he views things, that has made all those songs worthwhile. From my point of view, just to get that one person, is a win.


Q: From A Bird In The Hand onwards you formed Beans On Toast Music. What did you discover about releasing yourself and was it much harder than you thought?


JM: Not really. It was quite an easy transition and I have nothing but love for Xtra Mile, the label I was working with. When I said to them, I was going to do the next one on my own, Charlie said ‘Yep! You know everything, good luck to you!’  I had done nine albums with them and I had actually brought in the person doing the press and sort of built a team of people and if you do anything nine times, you work out what is needed and they were a DIY label anyway. They never advanced any money. It was me who put the money in to make my own albums so it was a sort of a licencing deal anyway. What really changed it was when I released my first book. My wife is a genius at merch and at the time we set my Mum and Dad up as a fulfilment centre. They’d go to the post office every couple of days and send everything out and then when I put my first book out, just because there was nobody else, we thought we didn’t really need anyone else. Most people are going to go through the website so we’ll send them out ourselves. We got a deal with the Royal Mail and I made more off my book than I did off my last five records combined. I am still a bit lacklustre about releasing my own stuff. You know, my album sales are not counted towards any chart positions and stuff like that so in some people’s eyes, what I do may not be deemed proper but it’s a fucking legit operation. We can sign and personalise anything that comes through, all the packaging is recyclable and we are working now towards that you’ll get it quicker through my website than anywhere else. We take care in every part of the sale so if there’s an error, we can jump on it quickly and whatnot.


Q: I’m asking everyone this: Could AI write a Beans On Toast song?


JM: It already has! I am almost obsessed with it.

Q: Really?

JM: Yeeeaaah! I was listening to a podcast on the drive down here and I think people are very unprepared for what is going to happen. Everyone knew that computers were going to get better but no one but no one saw them taking on the creative industry first! They thought it was going to be heavy lifting, not creative writing. I have a song that I’m playing today about A.I. and the line is that I asked it to write the chorus of this song and that’s exactly what I did. I typed in what I had written and said ‘Write a singalong chorus’ and it did. I was on tour in Australia when I first got my head around ChatGPT and I was with William Crighton – great Folk singer – and he likes Jujitsu and Neil Young so I said ’All right, write a song about Jujitsu in the style of Neil Young’ and I read it out and it made his wife cry! It depends how you see it. If you trust your own instincts in what you know and like, then it’s useful. I have a five-year old daughter and I asked if she wanted to find out what could happen in Frozen 3. She said yes, so I had it write a short synopsis for Frozen 3. It came up with two new characters and the plot was fantastic. Then I asked it to give me a description of one of the new characters and I put that description into an A.I. image generator and bang! - it was there. It’s going to fundamentally change everything but the one thing it won’t be able to do is a live show. I think what is coming is the end of truth – certainly online. Let’s be honest, it’s not like the internet is great anyway but it is going to destroy whatever truth was left. You will not be able to believe anything you see or read. It’s one thing having a human bullshit you through a newspaper piece but it’s another having it done by A.I., just because it knows it can pull your strings. So, yeah, I’m fascinated by it but it would be selfish of me to just think about how it is going to affect my work, I am more fascinated on the global scale.


Q: I’m the opposite, a complete luddite. I hate mobile phones, quite often don’t switch it on and over here, I don’t even know or care if my Japanese phone works. I log onto the nearest wi-fi with my computer and that’s it.


JM: Well that’s probably going to help you survive whatever is coming. You know, I play a lot of festivals – thirty this year- Punk ones, posh ones, Ravey ones, Folk and to me, whether you ae reading about everything incoming, climate catastrophe, A.I., any kind of unpredictable future, community is going to survive this and music festivals are the true last bastion of community. People can agree on general matters at them, certainly the music but also the food or where they live or the love of the countryside, lots of other things as well. People come together and enjoy it and when truth dies, you will want to be with people you can trust so I think there is more power and importance at gatherings like this than ever before so whatever is coming, when the shit hits the fan, I’ll see you at Glastonbury.


My fifteen minutes with Jay were up. I thank him for his time and opinions which have given me pause for thought. He thanks me and I leave hoping we can meet again someday when he can give me his opinions on other matters. You know that ‘Four people you would like to have dinner with’ game? Apologies and no offence Ronnie Wood, but you just lost your place at my table in the musician’s chair.


As I re-enter the arena two things happen. Firstly, I see what will be my favourite t-shirt of the day:


Ten reasons I can’t be arsed


Secondly, Morganway begin their first number. I can’t see them as I walk in and it’s a casual beginning, almost tuning up but then, as I walk from a parallel to an angle view of the stage, the song picks up pace and rounding into full view, the band hit the chorus of Devil’s Canyon. The voices are soaring across the field in front of a sonic attack of instrumentation. It’s image overload as well. At the front stands a lady, a Janis figure, flanked by a man with a Flying V and a classic black-dressed violinist on her other side. There’s a keyboard player and a drummer and a striking Rickenbacker bass player, head to toe in 1974 Status Quo denims. They produce exquisite music and the audience is transfixed by what’s coming off the stage. I reluctantly had to tear myself away after the stunning Frozen In Our Time but needs must as my next interview was due. As luck would have it, my timing couldn’t have been better.


It’s belting down of rain. Five minutes ago, it was a bit cloudy as I checked in with Stevie for my interviews and I am now huddled with a couple of others under the shelter of the press office marquee as Morganway play a song called Feel The Rain – I am not making this up. The torrential downpour continues in their next song and rather worryingly, I know they have a song called Hurricane which they haven’t played yet. My fears were unfounded though as the squall lifted as quickly as it arrived and it was just drizzle when, my interviewee walked into view, seemingly out of nowhere.


Richard Digance

I first saw Richard when he supported Elkie Brooks way back in 1980. Along with releasing forty-five albums, he has written twenty-two books and appeared on countless television shows. Many in England, myself included, consider him a national treasure so I’m pretty chuffed to have a chat with him.

Q: Onstage, you mentioned that in lockdown you decided to write a song for yourself and then played I Can’t Put My Socks On Anymore. Is that how you do it? Just sit down and think ‘I’ll write a song today?


RD: No, not at all. I was totally bored and I missed having an audience because that is what I do so I came out of my, if you like, concert zone and went into writing one for me which is what I never do. I had no one to sing it to which is what I usually do but it worked. Like any musician, it was just an awful two years. We got no help. We were ridiculed by parliament when they told us to go and get jobs and the only way over it was to sit and do what you are good at. I went into my little home studio, bashed out a soundtrack because I do a lot of that work and basically said ‘Sod off’. It was difficult but coming out of lockdown, in some strange way was even more difficult. Suddenly you are there and you realise how important adrenalin is and things like that that you hadn’t had for a couple of years.


Q: You don’t strike me as the kind of performer that thrives on adrenalin.


RD: I don’t but you need it to dare the audience to do this and do that. I am not a nervous performer in any way and I haven’t really got an act outside of what I am. A lot of people here are rehearsed and doing this and doing that but I don’t and I’m just solo so I don’t have all those problems. I’ve just always been a bloke who plays guitar and writes songs. I did two songs today that I’ve never performed before which is scary. They were world premier’s if you like. (smiles) It’s like amateur dramatics. You know, when you say the line and then the next line’s coming but you have to wait for it but I much enjoyed hitting their vein with Absolutely Anything which is a song about someone losing someone.


Q: That song really connected with me, I lost someone very close last year.


RD: I think it did with everybody. Up there, you can’t see great, especially when you don’t have your bins on but you can see people. I didn’t lose any family but I lost my best friend and I remember sitting down and thinking ‘It can’t just be me’. It took me a long time to write it because the funnier it was, the more poignant it was. It’s no good being nice because everyone can do that kind of song, I wanted to be outrageous so each line was almost, it wasn’t, but it was like a gag. That one took a long time and I had the chorus before I had the verses and that’s not usual for me. Of course, I believed it would be ok today but I genuinely didn’t know as that was the first time out for it.


Q: You performed today exactly as you did when I first saw you forty years ago; a bloke and guitar as you say. Have you ever been tempted to try your stuff with a band?


RD: No, not really. I’ve often said to Ralph (McTell) that we should do a little duet sometime and he says ‘Oh Yeah, that would be a good idea’ but we never get around to it. The only time I’ve really had a band was when I did a live album and my backing band were Jethro Tull (laughs). In Folk clubs, if my mate is appearing, I’ll go along and maybe get up and do a couple of songs with them because I like clubs as they are informal but as for a band, I haven’t got the desire. When I am up there, I genuinely do not know what I am going to do next and I like it that way.


Q: I don’t think there are many people around who can do that anymore. Even every Rock concert I go to now is scripted and over rehearsed or played with backing tapes.


RD: Yes they are; you may as well just listen to the album. I’ve done here for seventeen years and this year, I thought was a landmark for Cropredy because I am the only solo act. I checked it and Beans On Toast has a banjo player with him, Gilbert (O’Sullivan) has a guitar player with him and when you think that it started out as a Folk festival, I feel a bit like the survivor in a way.


Q: I wouldn’t use the word survivor, constant maybe.


RD: Yeah and that’s what you saw today and what they expect. When they first called me all those years ago, for the first year, the first couple of years, it was a bit tumbleweed. Twelve o’clock on a Saturday? They are packing their stuff up because they are going home and I built it each year. Then when I backed out one year they said ‘We need you there because you can fill the field’. They said that the people in the stands have their food ready, their fish and chips, their coffee, their Thai restaurant and they need bums in the field to sell to and that if I didn’t do it, the field would go back to being a bit barren at eleven o’clock on a Saturday morning. It was difficult because as I said up there today, I get asked to do the Edinburgh Fringe and I have to decline thirty-one shows to come here to do one. That’s what it means. When we started, it wasn’t in this field even. If I remember rightly, it was on a big sweeping lawn in a vicarage down the road somewhere and I’ve watched it grow and move away from Folk. I think the first time I really noticed was when Alice Cooper was here and it’s amazing because as you rightly say, they know what they are doing but they don’t play and counter-play with an audience. It’s just ‘Listen to us because we are good’ - which they are! They don’t engage though, it’s the music which engages but with me, I give ‘em the chat and I do feel one of them. I’ve done tons of festivals; I think the biggest one was two hundred and fifty thousand at Knebworth which I did with The Beach Boys and Santana. You look out on stage and I don’t particularly get scared but it’s ‘Ooh!’ It’s a sea of people. You could do it (I doubt Richard’s faith in me to be honest but I understand what he means) anybody could do it but it’s here that you see the faces. I did Glastonbury recently and yeah, it’s a famous festival and all that but it’s not as personal as this. (smiles)


Q: There is a crowd participation moment in We Are Searching which is extraordinary. (I am not going to tell you what it is lest it spoil the delight for next year’s Cropredy first-timers) How did that start?


RD: It started about twelve years ago. During performances, there are other performers doing signings off to the right of stage, signing books or CDs or whatever and about twelve years ago I was on stage and I noticed at the signing place was Ashely Hutchings, a founding member of Fairport Convention – Bob Dylan actually called him the best bass player in the world which is quite an accolade – and he had a new book out on Morris Dancing. So, I was up there on stage and I clocked him and I said ‘Oh, Ashley Hutchings is over there, he was an inspiration to traditional music for a lot of people, so let’s pay homage to him’ so we did a Morris Dance. Someone, not me, I wouldn’t bothered but someone, applied to the Guinness Book of Records to make it the world’s biggest Morris dance, which it still is. The first time they applied they turned it down because they said no one had counted the people there (laughs) That’s how it began.


Q: Going back further, I was one of millions who watched you on the telly on the Sunday Night Palladium show thing…


RD: When I messed it up?


Q: Yes. How devastated were you?


RD: I wasn’t! I wasn’t and I’ll tell you why. I was doing a poem called The World’s Worst Magician and I stopped because I was put off by Jimmy Tarbuck talking at the side of the stage. It’s all right when you have a loud act on but when you are doing a poem, you can hear so I turned to him and said ‘Would you mind not laughing, I don’t laugh when you are on’. I was really proud of the line and then when I went back I thought ‘Where was I?’ I sort of stopped dead and then – and this is where I scored – I said ‘I’m going to be honest, I have completely forgotten where I am but I’ll come back next week and tell you how it ends’ so I got another twelve million people the next week! There was one DJ in particular called Mike Smith who I went to radio school with when we both became producers and on his Radio 1 Breakfast Show he was saying ‘We have to get Richard Digance back. We have to know what happened to the world’s worst magician! Phone the BBC now!’ and all that stuff. It went a bit crazy so the had to have me back the following week. I came out of the Folk Clubs. I went to college in Glasgow and shared a flat with John Martyn…


Q: Thee John Martyn?


RD: Yeah and it was watching him on the settee really that gave me some guitar skills if you like but in those days, I never thought, ever, in a million years I would do the London Palladium but the things that have happened…I tuned Roy Orbison’s guitar! He was on after me and he was standing in the wings and when I came off he said ‘That’s good guitar playing my friend’. His wife looked identical him, like twins and I thought well Roy Orbison wouldn’t talk to me so it must be his wife but it wasn’t, it was him. Then he said ‘Would you do me a favour? Would you tune my guitar?’ and I said yes, of course. I tuned…Roy Orbison’s…guitar. It’s amazing! I toured America with Steve Martin. He was phenomenal, painfully shy, brilliant banjo player. We were both on Mercury Records at the time so they slung me on with him. The person from the record company said they needed to warn me, he has the most bizarre encore of anyone in the world. ‘Ok, so what does he do?’ ‘He talks the audience out into the street and shows them how to steal a car.’ (laughs)


Q: What?!


RD: Yeah! The most painfully shy bloke I’ve ever worked with, humble, well-mannered and then he’s out there like a villain! I learnt a lot from that outrageousness and coming through those clubs as a solo act, I know I had great stories. My Mum booked David Bowie. He used to run a club called The Three Tuns in Beckenham and I went and did a little floor-spot – open mic as they call it now – in the hope getting a gig. So I went up to him and asked if there was any chance and he asked me if I had a Folk club and I said no. He said ‘Well I only book people who book me.’ Ah. So I went home, I was living with my Mum and Dad and my Mum said ‘How did it go?’ ‘Well, Mum, I went down really well but I didn’t get the gig because I couldn’t book David Bowie’ and my Mum said ‘I’ll book him'. She went to a pub in East Ham, booked an upstairs room in The Denmark Arms, booked David Bowie for eight quid (£8) and in return, he booked me at the The Three Tuns. Crazy innit?


Q: Crazy. Yes.


RD: The other thing that has never left me was Marc Bolan. He came up through the Folk clubs as many did – Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello - and what many people don’t know is that he took his name from the first two letters of Bob and the last three letters of Dylan so he always maintained his roots and I really like that because I don’t think Bowie did to be honest. I remember him being very diminutive and timid and when I look at me, I think I haven’t changed that much but that lot, they went on to such huge success that they changed an awful lot but they all started on the scene what created this festival. I spent the whole of yesterday afternoon with Ralph McTell and we just talked about what we are talking about. Never forget, the roots that put this festival together.


We have to wrap things up as my next interviewees are waiting. As we get ready to leave, Richard mentions that he was really good friends with Gerry Raferty and tells me he once did a gig in the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields, an iconic church in Trafalgar Square where he was supported by Dave Brock, the man who later founded Hawkwind. There is a smile on his face as we exit the press room, a smile of fond memories and an opportunity to tell them. I get the feeling there were many more lined up but they would have to wait as I realise, I’ve forgotten to ask him my A.I. question.


Q: Sorry Richard, one more quick one. Could A.I. write a Richard Digance song?

RD: Oh I don’t know mate. I still do logarithms. (smiles)

It’s a lovely way to end the interview. We step outside to be greeted by Wilson & Wakeman, big smiles and hugs between the three of them. It’s fast banter from them all for a few minutes, old friends back together and it takes Stevie to step in, tear them apart and usher Damian and Adam into the press office for me.

Wilson & Wakeman

I had really enjoyed their set on Thursday and was keen to talk about a lot of things but as I was about to find out, this duo are just as uncontrollable in interviews as they are onstage. I threw away my questions after a couple of minutes and just let them go.


AW: So it’s always nice to know Glenn, what’s this interview for?


Q: It goes out in English and Japanese.


AW: Oh this is what Richard was saying. This is fantastic!


Q: The rapport you had onstage Thursday between was so enjoyable. Damian was uncontrollable and you just run with it. Is it always like that.


AW: Yes. I was saying to my wife this morning that as my kids get older and more responsible, he gets less responsible, almost like he’s regressing.


DW: (laughs)


AW: Look, we are clearly old mates and one of the problems that comes is when somebody tries to change something to fit a product or a brand or whatever and a lot of bands end up splitting up. The singer wants to be the songwriter and doesn’t want anybody else involved, etc, all those sorts of things. We work very organically together and our friendship is very organic. There’s nothing we can’t talk about onstage or offstage.


DW: Right.


AW: If there is something unbelievably sensitive, we know not to approach it so we don’t have to put any of those boundaries in. Also, I would never want to change how Damian is on stage; if he decides to jump off, then he jumps off. If you start caging that energy of creativity, then it’s not doing what it should do.


Q: Do you choose a set list before you go out?


DW: We’ve started to, yes. (both laugh) Actually, since we have, I’ve found that it’s become a bit more structured and feels more like a show. I like spontaneity and it’s like Adam’s Dad, (Rick, obviously), he always works well under spontaneity and you have a lot of bands that work well like that. They need that; it’s like theatre or something and for me spontaneity is where I work best. The crowd is as important as the band and it’s us and them coming together – that’s what a show is. It’s not a case of putting a show out but having a little bit of structure with a set list, well at least you know what you are doing.


AW: If you are on your own playing guitar, you can change things up but if Damian launches into a different song, sometimes maybe in a different key, when the capo is in the wrong place…


DW: (laughs) I did do that so I did him a favour and I stopped and put the capo in the correct position.


AW: The thing is, there are a lot of bands that would have really struggled with that happening, the fact that the band started and stopped. I’ve played in bands where that sort of thing froze people, the insecurity of what is going to happen next. It just ruins the show for them whereas it is part of our show. (laughs)


DW: Adam have been in lots of different bands with lots of different characters and one of the first things that I always do with a band is if you are at a festival and unknown, you work with the band first and project it to first rows and then further back as you go on. I was with one band and the drummer was like ‘Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me!’ (all laugh). You do get that or you do something slightly different and the whole band crumbles to halt.


AW: There is a band I’ve played with and I am not going to mention the band…


DW: Black Sabbath!


AW: No…


DW: Ozzy Osbourne!

AW: No, definitely neither of those…


DW: Travis! The lovely lady with Dave Stewart!

AW: That was Annie Lennox and no. Anyway, there was…


DW: Atomic Kitten?


AW: No and you can stop going through the list and crossing them off. There was a moment when one of the members of the band got upset because the singer did not acknowledge the member in the place where he normally does.


Q: Introducing the band in the set.


AW: Yes and…


DW: Oh that was Headspace wasn’t it! (laughs)


AW: Nooo and I am not mentioning the band. Anyway, it was quite a noticeable thing and he got quite upset about it and the reason was that he was so used to the show being so formatted and structured that it threw him. It is weird for some people in that the performance has to be that structured otherwise it falls apart.


DW: People do perform in different ways and there’s nothing wrong with that and you have to allow for it. Unfortunately, if you put myself in that particular band, it is going to fall apart.

All: (laugh)


DW: I am asked to join many bands but I do leave…actually I’m chucked out of more than I leave (all laugh)


Q: This rapport that you have, is it in the studio as well?


DW: Yeah.


AW: We are doing this album at the moment which will come out in January and we tend to do two days or maybe three days because in a confined room, although we love each other to bits, it can get a bit too much. We just need to get out, a bit of fresh air…


DW: Really?


AW: Yeah I haven’t told you that before (all laugh) but that’s not down to a problem between the two of us, it’s that when we are writing, it is so intense. As Damien said, onstage, you are out there, throwing it all out and then you come off stage and it’s done. In a studio, you are doing that for maybe twelve hours and it’s intense and it’s in a room but we do come up with some great material when we write together.


DW: I love it actually because the rapport we have, when we first get together for recording, we have loads of ideas and we throw them all together and because of my chaotic mind, I go from one to the next very quick. Adam always keeps up and because of that, we can get the bulk of an album, the structures, finished in an afternoon. Then Adam goes and works very hard. (laughs)


Q: I do have one question related to writing and the current trend in technology: Could A.I. write a Wilson & Wakeman piece?


AW: No. Not a chance.


DW: No and the reason is that A.I. is terrifying and people are worried about artist output that is not what we should be worried about. What we should worry about is the control and suppression that it brings because unfortunately, humans have a heart and emotions that A.I. will never have.


Q: Very true.


AW: Also, I think it raises the game, to stop writers being lazy and following the same format. A.I. can take C,F,G and Am and put a very generic melody over it.


There’s more jibes and jokes between the two as I say my thanks for one of the most entertaining interviews I have ever conducted or in all honesty, tried to conduct. That’s me done with interviews for the weekend so I thank Stevie for everything and wish her all the best. ‘We’ll ask you back next year’ she says and I promise her I’ll be here.


The sun is out, the storm doesn’t seem to have made the ground soggy and Jay is onstage as Beans On Toast doing his thing. There are not many people who can write and deliver such observances in the way he does; John Cooper Clarke springs to mind but no one else. As I watch him, I see why he’s a festival favourite. Just two hours ago, we were talking one-to-one in an office but now, he’s talking one-to-one to a field of twenty thousand – including me again. Jay is a generation younger than most people there but he's one of them, one of us all. People listen to him. He ends his show with Money For War, a set of lyrics that will become even more relevant just a few weeks later.


Scoff time and I opt for good old Fish ‘n’ Chips. Being working class British and in my sixth decade on earth, I do consider myself an aficionado of the most famous of the UK’s cuisine (we all do) and it must be said, the portion and cooking of them from the Posh Fish and Chips stand was exceptional. A side dish of mushy peas is recommended for all you festival goers next year. I’ve just finished when the flowing figure or Andy Glass walks on stage accompanied by his latest incarnation of Solstice. I used to watch Solstice at the Marquee back in the eighties, they were part of the Neo Prog movement that spawned Marillion and they were good back then, today they were a different level all together. New vocalist Jess Holland is a revelation and each member has added a slightly different sound to the whole which gives this Solstice more presence and relevance in the 21st century. A guest appearance from drummer Clive Bunker (early Jethro Tull) during Morning Light put a big smile on people’s faces.


Next up, Hooky time! A pint of Hook Norton’s beverage will go down a treat now that the fish and chips have digested but just before that, I take the opportunity to grab a photo with Jay at the signing tent as I had forgotten to take one post-interview earlier. Waiting to be served, my attention is grabbed by The Young ‘Uns and their opening gambit. We’ve heard some powerful harmonies over this weekend but this trio of old mates cover of Billy Bragg’s Between The Wars is inspired. Jack Merritt’s Boots is their next offering followed by Tiny Notes, each successive song, truly remarkable in delivery. Folk at its best; Be The Man is beauty beyond compare. How do you follow that? Well, with the one and only Gilbert O’Sullivan. Accompanied by just a guitarist – the superb Bill Shanley –the sun begins to set over the audience on the final night as he delivers a well-balanced set of more recent songs and undeniable classics that have us singing and dancing. An hour later, the night has crept in and he’s closing his set with Matrimony and Get Down, pounding the piano for all it’s worth. It’s always a pleasure to watch him sing and play but tonight – and I can’t explain what it was, the atmosphere, audience, the sunset, all three or something else - there was something extra.


There is just the main attraction to go. The atmosphere is a wonderful mixture of anticipation, celebration, jubilation and merriment. Every year, for three days, this band pulls these people from all over the UK and indeed the world and their big hurrah on the last night. I’ve been to dozens of festivals over the years but there’s nothing quite like this; as Lindisfarne would say, there was magic in the air. Like any long-standing band, Fairport Convention have had members come and go and come back but no matter which combination is up there on the stage, the heart is the music. Tonight’s line-up of 60s veterans Simon Nicoll, Dave Mattacks and Dave Pegg are joined by Ric Sanders and Chris Leslie. Ric joined in 1985, Chris being the new boy, a mere twenty-seven years in the band. Two songs from their 1970 album, Full House, open the show and the next two and a half hours fly by as they call on songs from their 50+ years career. Several musicians who have performed over the last three days are enjoying the music from the bar, socialising, happily chatting away with fans about this, that and the other, the Hooky flowing freely from the warm and friendly bar staff as the night rolls. Ashley Hutchings makes a guest appearance for a couple of songs to a rip-roaring cheer. Vikki Clayton steps up the mic for Crazy Man Michael; Ben Savage and Hannah Sanders join in the fun on Reynadine. Fairport end with Meet On The Ledge, the same song that they ended with the first time I saw them back in 1979, opening that festival for Led Zeppelin. That was a good full circle moment and a fitting ending to my first Cropredy.


A few days later I had, by chance, an opportunity to drive up the A361 on the way to see an old friend. I turned left down the same side road and up to the gate on the left where I had first entered a week before. It was open, so I went in. There were no friendly hi-vis jacketed stewards. There were no campervans, no tents, no fences and no hum in the air. The food and merchandise stands had all gone, the stage had been dismantled and taken away, the backstage area now just a part of a field and my beloved bar seemed to have never existed. For the first time, I heard birds chirping instead of music and as I wandered a bit, looking out over England’s green and pleasant land, I wondered where it had all gone. The answer of course was that it had gone to the four corners of the earth. The people had gone home, back to their jobs and back to everyday life - back to reality.


Leaving, I was content to know that next year, the magic will return. For the organisers, the wheels are already in motion but for the rest of us, we have to wait in anticipation for the announcement. That’s when the magic will begin again. Plans will be made in the Spring. Time will be booked off work in June, tents will be taken out of attics, camping gear serviced and cleaned in preparation a week before. I’ll be booking flights in May, returning this time as a full-fledged veteran, to what is, undoubtedly, the best festival of music in the world.


A windswept me with Beans On Toast.


Wilson, Wakeman and Williams out of order.


A Cropredy favourite, mine as well, Richard Digance.


Solstice on stage.

クロプレディ・フェスティバル 2023  第三日





 外に出てみると、めっきり涼しくなっている。長袖シャツを用意しておいてよかった。そこでピッチに立つと、私は今日の隣人たちに自己紹介し、ベテランのように、あるいは少なくとも私が考えるベテランのように振る舞う。そういえば、10分早くステージに上がろうとしているリチャード・ディガンスは、過去のフェスに何度出場したか分からないほどのクロプレディのベテランだ。彼の大好きな曲のひとつ、「Jack Of All Trades」で幕を開け、その後、彼独特のウィットとユーモアを交えながら新曲をいくつか披露してくれた。セットも終盤にさしかかった頃、雲行きが怪しくなり、雨がぱらぱらと降ってきた。しかし雲の流れは速く、シャワーは2分で終わった。リチャードは2019年の嵐に触れ、何人いたのかと尋ねる。歓声から判断して、観客の3分の1くらいだったか。そして、彼のセットの終盤、観客参加の瞬間があった。この時、私は自分が思っていたようなベテランではないことに気づいた。ご心配なく。来年にはそうなっているから。今日最初のインタビューのためにバックステージに向かう。スティーヴィーはもちろんそこにいて、天気を気にしている。とにかく彼女は笑顔で「2019年ほど悪くはないでしょう」と言い、私のインタビューも含めてすべてが10分早く進行していることを教えてくれた。ジェイ・マカリスターがすでにウロウロしていて、彼女が紹介してくれた。





Q: あなたの歌詞は、それが『人生はいいものだ』であれ、『目を覚ましてコーヒーの匂いを嗅げ』であれ、他の何であれ、常に人々に考えさせるものであり、決して書いている相手よりも自分を上位に置いてはいませんよね。決して説教はせず、ただ3分間聴いてもらい、それから自分で判断してもらう。特に「この曲はうまくいった」と思うような曲について、どのようなフィードバックがありましたか?

JM: ん-、正直なところ、「MDMAmazing」という曲はいつも心に響くんだ。多くの人が「それとまったく同じ話が私にも、私の妻にも起こったんだ。」と言ってくれた。長い間、この曲は多くの人が話題にしてくれたがる曲で、その後、娘の出産と帝王切開について書いた「Magic」という曲も書いたんだけど、基本的には同じような内容だったんだ!マーチャンダイズスタンドでタダでクスリをくれる人たちから、出産の話まで(笑)。「やれやれ!うちも帝王切開だったよ!怖くなかった!?」とかね。これらの曲には、私がどのような感じだったか、そして彼らが同じような経験をしていることに通じるものがあるようだ。世界をポジティブに捉えることに関しては、元兵士で元...よくわからないけど...人種差別主義者?ファシスト?彼は、私の音楽が彼のすべてのものの見方を根本的に変えたと言っていた。彼は以前、他人やゲイ、肌の色の違う人などに対して憎しみを持っていた。そしてどういうわけか、私が彼を変えた。私は手柄を独り占めするのはおかしいと思ったし、他の要因もあったに違いないと思ったが、彼は「君の歌が私の考え方を変えた」。と言ってくれた。私は、たとえ私が一人の考えを変えたとしても、それは私がやろうとしていることではない。そのように誰かの考えを変えることはとても難しいことだからだ。彼の今の、物事の見方というものは、すべての曲に価値を与えていることになる。私からすれば、その一人を獲得するだけでも勝利だよ。


Q: A Bird In The Hand以降、あなたはBeans On Toast Musicを結成しました。自分自身のことをリリースすることで、どのような発見がありましたか?

JM: そうでもないよ。移行はとても簡単だった。一緒に仕事をしていたレーベル、Xtra Mileには愛情しかない。彼らに、次は一人でやるつもりだと言ったら、チャーリーは「そうだ! 君は何でも知っているんだから、頑張ってくれ!」と言ってくれたんだ。私は彼らと9枚のアルバムを出していて、実際にプレスの担当者を入れてチームを作っていた。何でも9回もやれば、何が必要なのかわかるものだし、とにかく彼らはDIYレーベルだった。彼らは一度も前金を払ってくれたことはない。自分のアルバムを作るために資金を投入したのは私だから、とにかくライセンス契約のようなものだった。それを本当に変えたのは、最初の本を出した時だった。私の妻はマーチャンダイジングの天才で、当時は私の父と母をフルフィルメント・センターとして設立した。彼らは2、3日おきに郵便局に行き、すべてを発送していた。私が最初の本を出した時、他に誰もいなかったから、私たちは誰も必要ないと思っていた。ほとんどの人はウェブサイトで注文するだろうから、自分たちで発送する。ロイヤル・メールとの契約が決まり、私はこの本で過去5枚のレコードを合わせたよりも多くの収入を得ることができた。自分の作品をリリースすることに関しては、まだ少し物足りない。僕のアルバムの売り上げは、チャートの順位とかにはカウントされないから、ある人たちの目には、僕のやっていることはまっとうなこととは映らないかもしれないけれど、クソ正当な活動なんだ。私たちは、届いたものすべてにサインや名入れをすることができ、包装はすべてリサイクル可能で、私のウェブサイトを通してどこよりも早く届けられるよう、現在取り組んでいるところだ。私たちは販売のあらゆる部分に注意を払っているので、もしエラーがあれば、すぐに対処することができる。


Q: みなさんに訊いているんですが: AIはビーンズ・オン・トーストの曲を書けますか?

JM: 既にそうなっているよ!ほとんど取り憑かれている。



JM: そうだよ~!ポッドキャストを聴いていたんだけど、これから起こることに対して、みんな準備不足だと思う。コンピューターがより良くなることは誰もが知っていたが、誰もコンピューターが最初にクリエイティブ産業に挑むとは思っていなかった!クリエイティブ・ライティングではなく、力仕事だと思っていたみたいだね。今日A.I.について演奏している曲があるんだけど、そのセリフは、私がA.I.にこの曲のコーラスを書くように頼んだというものなんだ。それこそ私がしたことなんだ。私が書いたものを入力して、「シンガロング・コーラスを書いて」と言ったら、そうしてくれた。ChatGPTのことを初めて知ったのはオーストラリアでツアーをしていた時で、ウィリアム・クライトン(偉大なフォーク・シンガー)と一緒だったんだけど、彼は柔術とニール・ヤングが好きだったから、「よし、ニール・ヤングのスタイルで柔術の歌を書いてくれ」って言ったんだ!私がそれを読み上げると、妻は泣いてしまったよ!どう見るかは人それぞれだ。自分の知っていること、好きなことの直感を信じるなら、それは役に立つ。私には5歳になる娘がいるんだけど、『アナと雪の女王3』で何が起こるか知りたいと言っていた。彼女がイエスと言ったので、私は『アナと雪の女王3』の短いあらすじをA.I.に書かせた。二人の新しいキャラクターが登場し、プロットも素晴らしかった。そして、新キャラクターの一人について説明してくれるように頼んで、その説明をA.I.イメージジェネレーターに入れたら、バーン!- そして、その説明をA.I.イメージジェネレーターに入れたら、バーン!みんなそこにあった。これは根本的にすべてを変えるだろうが、唯一できないことはライブショーだ。私が思うに、これからやってくるのは真実の終焉だ。オンライン上ではね。正直に言おう、インターネットがとにかく素晴らしいというわけではない。しかし、それは残された真実を破壊することになる。何を見ても、何を読んでも信じられなくなる。新聞記事を通して人間があなたに強気なことを言うのは一つのことだが、A.I.がそれとは別のことをするんだ。あなたを誘導できることを知っているからだ。でも、それが自分の仕事にどう影響するかを考えるのは自分勝手なことで、私は世界的なスケールの方に魅力を感じているんだ。



JM: それはおそらく、これから何が起こっても生き延びる助けになるだろうね。パンク系、ポッシュ系、レイビー系、フォーク系など、私はたくさんのフェスに出演しているが、気候変動やA.I.など、予測不可能な未来がやってこようとも、コミュニティは生き延びることができる。そして音楽祭は、コミュニティーの真の最後の砦だよ。音楽はもちろんのこと、食べ物や住んでいる場所、田舎への愛など、一般的なことでも人々は気持ちを同じくすることができる。人々が集まり、それを楽しむ中で、真実が死んだしまったら、信頼できる人たちと一緒にいたいと思うだろうから、このような集まりには、これまで以上のパワーと重要性があると思う。だから、何があろうと、そんなクソみたいなことがファンを直撃したら、グラストンベリーで会おう。







 次に、モルガンウェイの最初のナンバーが始まる。中に入ると彼らの姿は見えず、何気なく始まったような感じだった。しかし、私がステージをやや斜めの真正面方向から見るようになると、曲のペースが上がり、ステージ全景が視界に入ると、バンドは「Devil's Canyon」のコーラスを始めた。インストゥルメンタルのサウンドが迫りくる前で、声がフィールドを横切って舞い上がる。イメージが先行し過ぎな感じだ。正面にはジャニスのような女性が立ち、その両脇にはフライングVを持った男性とクラシックな黒服のバイオリニストがいる。キーボード奏者にドラマー、そしてリッケンバッカーの印象的なベース奏者がいて、頭からつま先まで1974年のステータス・クォーのデニムを身に着けている。彼らは極上の音楽を生み出し、観客はステージから聞こえてくるものに釘付けになる。素晴らしい「Frozen In Our Time」の後、私は不本意ながらその場を離れなければならなかった。次のインタビューが迫っていたため、どうしても必要だったのだ。幸運にも、これ以上ないタイミングだった。


 雨が降っている。5分前、取材のためにスティーヴィーのところにチェックインした時は少し曇っていたが、今はモーガンウェイが「Feel The Rain」という曲を演奏している間、プレスオフィスのマーキーの屋根の下に他の数人と身を寄せている。これはネタではないよ。豪雨は次の曲でも続き、むしろ心配なのは、彼らがまだ演奏していない「Hurricane」という曲があることだ。しかし、私の心配は杞憂に終わり、スコールはすぐに止み、霧雨に変わった。私のインタビュー相手が、どこからともなく視界に入ってきた。




Q:ステージ上で、監禁されている時に自分のために曲を作ろうと決めて、「I Can't Put My Socks On Anymore」を演奏したと話していましたね。それがあなたのやり方ですか?ただ座って、「今日は曲を書こうかな?」って。

RD: いや、そうじゃないよ。私はすっかり退屈していたし、観客がいないのが寂しかった。というのも、それが私の仕事だからだ。だから私は、自分の、言ってみればコンサート・ゾーンから抜け出して、自分のために書くことに没頭したんだ。いつもは誰も歌ってくれる人がいなかったけれど、うまくいった。他のミュージシャンと同じように、ひどい2年間だった。何の助けも得られなかった。私たちは国会でバカにされ、仕事を見つけに行けと言われた。仕事を得るには、座って自分の得意なことをするしかなかった。私は小さなホームスタジオに入り、サウンドトラックを作った。というのも、私はそのような仕事をたくさんしているので、基本的に「ふざけるな」と肝に命じたんだ。それは大変なことだったが、ロックダウンから抜け出すのは、変な意味でもっと大変だった。突然、その場にいて、アドレナリンがいかに重要か、そして数年間持っていなかったそのようなものに気づくんだ。


RD: でも、観客にこうしてほしい、ああしてほしいと思ってもらうためには必要なんだ。私は決して神経質なパフォーマーではないし、自分以外の演技をしているわけでもない。ここにいる多くの人たちはリハーサルをして、あれやこれやとやっているけれど、私はそうではないし、ソロだからそういう問題もない。私はいつもギターを弾いて曲を書くだけの男だった。今日は一度も披露したことのない曲を2曲やったんだけど、怖いね。ワールドプレミアだったんだ。(笑)まるでアマチュアみたいだ。歌詞を一節歌って、次の詞が来るんだけど、それを待たなきゃいけないんだ。でも、誰かを失うことを歌った「Absolutely Anything」は、人々の琴線に触れることができてとても楽しかった。






RD: いや、実現はしていないんだ。ラルフ(・マクテル)には、いつかデュエットしようってよく言っているんだけど、彼は「ああ、それはいいアイデアだね。」って言うんだけど、実現には至らないんだよ。本当にバンドを組んだのは、ライブ・アルバムを作った時、バック・バンドがジェスロ・タルだった時だけだよ(笑)。フォーク・クラブでは、仲間が出演するのであれば、一緒に行って、立ち上がって一緒に2、3曲やることもある。クラブは気軽で好きだけど、バンドをやりたいとは思わない。







RD: ああ、それが今日観たことであり、人々が期待していることだ。数年前、彼らが最初に私を呼んだ時、最初の1年、最初の2、3年は、ちょっとした根無し草みたいなものだった。土曜日の12時かな?彼らは家に帰るので荷物をまとめている。これを毎年設営してきた。ある年、私が辞退すると、彼らは「フィールドを埋めるには君が必要だ」と言ったんだ。スタンドの人たちは、フィッシュ&チップスやコーヒー、タイ料理レストランなど、食べ物を用意している。現場には客寄せのためのちょっとした出し物が必要なんだ。私がやらなければ、畑は土曜の朝11時にはちょっとガラガラな状態に戻ってしまうというんだ。私にとっては大変なことさ。今日も言ったように、「Edinburgh Fringe」をやってくれと出演依頼が来て、31回ものショーを断って、ここに来て1つのショーをやるんだからね。そういうことなんだ。私たちが始めた頃は、この会場ですらなかった。私の記憶が正しければ、それはどこかの牧師館の大きな芝生の上だった。フォークが成長し、フォークから離れていくのを私は見てきた。アリス・クーパーが出演した時に初めて気づいたし、驚いたよ。君が言うように、彼らは自分たちのやっていることを理解しているが、観客を相手に駆け引きしたり、突拍子もないことをしたりはしないのだから。ただ、「俺たちはいい演奏をするから、聴け」ということだ!音楽がそうさせるんだ。彼らとおしゃべりをするだけで、彼らの仲間だと感じることができるんだ。ビーチ・ボーイズやサンタナと一緒にやったネブワースでの25万人規模のフェスティバルが一番大きかったかな。ステージを見渡すと、特に怖さは感じないけど、「おおっ!」って感じ。人、人、人の海さ。(正直なところ、リチャードが私を信頼しているかは疑問だが、彼の言いたいことは理解できる)誰にでもできることさ。しかし、ここではたくさんの顔を見ることになる。最近グラストンベリーに行ったんだけど、有名なフェスではあるけれど、これほど個人的な思い入れはないんだ。(微笑)


Q:「We Are Searching」には、並外れた観客参加の瞬間がありますよね。(来年初めてCropredyに参加する人たちの楽しみを損なわないように、それが何であるかは言わないことにする)どうしてあれは始まったのですか?

RD:12年くらい前じゃないかと思う。公演中、ステージの右側では他のパフォーマーがサイン会をしていて、本やCDなどにサインをしている。12年ほど前、私はステージに立っていて、サイン会場にフェアポート・コンヴェンションの創設メンバーであるアシュリー・ハッチングスがいることに気づいた。- ボブ・ディランは彼を世界最高のベーシストと呼んだ。絶賛してね-。彼はモリス・ダンスに関する新しい本を出版した。私はステージに上がり、彼に注目した。「アシュリー・ハッチングスがあそこにいる。彼は多くの人にトラディショナル・ミュージックのインスピレーションを与えた。彼に敬意を払わなきゃな。」そして私はモリス・ダンスを踊った。私ではなく、誰かが世界最大のモリスダンスとしてギネスブックに申請したんだ。それは今も載っているよ。最初に申請したときは、誰も人数を数えていないと言われて断られたんだ(笑)。それが始まりだったんだ。






RD:へこんでなんかいないよ!へこまなかった。その理由を説明しよう。「The World’s Worst Magician」という詩を朗読していたんだけど、ジミー・ターバックがステージ脇でしゃべっていたから、気が引けてやめたんだ。大声で演奏をしている時はいいんだけど、詩を読んでいる時は聞こえてしまうから、彼に向かって「笑わないでくれるかな、あなたが出ているときは笑わないから。」と言ったんだ。その一節は本当に誇らしかったし、戻ってから「僕はどこにいたんだろう」と思ったくらいさ。私は立ち止まった。そして、ここからが私の得点だ。「正直に言うと、今自分がどこにいるのかすっかり忘れてしまったんだけど、来週また来て結末を話すよ。」と言って、翌週にはさらに1200万人を集めたんだ!特にマイク・スミスというDJがいて、彼がプロデューサーになった時に一緒にラジオ・スクールに通っていたんだけど、彼のラジオ1のブレックファスト・ショーで「リチャード・ディガンスを取り戻さなければならない」と言っていたんだ。世界最悪のマジシャンに何が起こったのかを知る必要がある!「今すぐBBCに電話しろ!」とかいろいろ言ってたね。ちょっとおかしなことになってしまって、翌週にまた出演することになったんだ。私はフォーク・クラブの出身だ。グラスゴーの大学に進学し、ジョン・マーティンとアパートをシェアしていた…






























AW:信じられないほどデリケートなことがあれば、僕たちはそれに近づいてはいけないと分かっているので、そのような境界線を設ける必要はない。また、ダミアンのステージでの姿は絶対に変えたくない; 彼が客席に飛び降りると決めたら、彼は飛び降りるんだ。創造性のエネルギーを封じ込め始めたら、それはやるべきことをやっていないことになるからね。














DW:トラヴィスだ! デイヴ・スチュワートと一緒の素敵な女性!
















DW: マジか?






DW: 僕もノーだ。A.I.は恐ろしく、人々はアーティストのアウトプットを心配しているけど、そんなことを心配する必要はないよ。僕たちが心配すべきなのは、それがもたらす支配と抑圧だよ。残念ながら、人間にはA.I.には決して存在しない心と感情があるからだ。







 太陽は出ているし、嵐で地面がぬかるむこともなさそうで、ジェイはビーンズ・オン・トーストとしてステージにいる。彼のような書き方、伝え方ができる人は多くない; ジョン・クーパー・クラークが思い浮かぶが、他にはいない。彼を見ていると、なぜ彼がフェスティバルの人気者なのかが分かる。ほんの2時間前まではオフィスで1対1で話していたのに、今は2万人の前で1対1で話しているのだ。ジェイはそこにいるほとんどの人たちよりも一世代若いが、彼は彼らの中の一人であり、私たちみんなの中の一人だ。人々は彼の話に耳を傾ける。彼は「Money For War」でステージの幕を降ろした。この曲の歌詞は、ほんの数週間後に、さらに重要な意味を持つことになるだろう。


 そして、息抜きタイム。私は古き良きフィッシュ・アンド・チップスを選ぶ。労働者階級のイギリス人であり、この世に生を受けて60年目になる私は、イギリスで最も有名な料理の愛好家であると自負している(みんなそうだ)が、ポッシュ・フィッシュ・アンド・チップス・スタンドのフィッシュ・アンド・チップスの量と調理は格別だった。来年のお祭りに参加する皆さんには、マッシュピーをサイドディッシュにすることをお勧めする。私が食べ終えると同時に、アンディ・グラスの流れるような姿が、最新のソルスティスを伴ってステージに現れた。80年代にはよくマーキーでソルスティスを観たものだが、彼らはマリリオンを生み出したネオ・プログレ・ムーヴメントの一員で、当時は良かった。今日の彼らは、まったく別ものだった。新ボーカル、ジェス・ホランドは驚異的な存在感で、メンバーそれぞれが微妙に異なるサウンドを全体に加え、このソルスティスに21世紀における存在感と関連性を与えている。「Morning Light」では、ドラマーのクライヴ・バンカー(初期ジェスロ・タル)がゲスト出演し、人々の顔に大きな笑みをもらたした。


 次はフッキータイムだ!フィッシュ・アンド・チップスで腹ごしらえしたところで、フック・ノートンのビバレッジを1パイント飲む。が、その直前、サイン会のテントでジェイと写真を撮る機会を得た。というのも、インタビュー後に彼との写真を撮り忘れていたからだ。料理が運ばれてくるのを待っていると、ザ・ヤング・アンズと彼らのオープニングナンバーに目を奪われる。この週末、パワフルなハーモニーをいくつか聴いたが、ビリー・ブラッグの「Between The Wars」を旧友トリオでカバーしたこの曲は刺激的だ。ジャック・メリットの「Boots」に続く「Tiny Notes」も、いずれの曲も実に素晴らしい出来栄えで、最高のフォークである。「Be The Man」は比類なき美しさだ。誰がこの後に続けられるのだろう?そう、唯一無二のギルバート・オサリバンだ。最終日の夜、日が沈み始める中、素晴らしいギタリスト、ビル・シャンリー一人の伴奏で、彼は最近の曲と紛れもない名曲をバランスよく演奏し、私たちを歌い踊らせる。1時間後、夜が深まり、彼はピアノを思い切り叩きながら、「Matrimony」と「Get Down」でセットを締めくくった。彼の歌や演奏を見るのはいつも楽しいが、今夜は—それが何なのか、雰囲気なのか、観客なのか、夕日なのか、その3つなのか、それとも他の何かなのか、説明できないが-何か特別なものを感じた。


 あとは行くべきメインアトラクションがあるだけだ。期待、祝賀、歓喜、歓楽が入り混じった素晴らしい雰囲気だ。毎年、このバンドは3日間、英国中、いや世界中から人々を集め、最終日の夜に大宴会を行う。長年、何十ものフェスティバルに参加してきたが、これほど素晴らしいものはない;リンディスファーンもよく言っているが、彼らを取り巻く空気には魔法がかかっていた。長年活動を続けるバンドがそうであるように、フェアポート・コンヴェンションもメンバーの出入りを繰り返してきたが、どの組み合わせでステージに立とうとも、中心は音楽だ。今夜のラインナップは、60年代のベテラン、サイモン・ニコル、デイヴ・マタックス、デイヴ・ペッグに、リック・サンダースとクリス・レスリーが加わる。リックが加入したのは1985年で、クリスはわずか27年目の新人だった。1970年のアルバム『Full House』から2曲がオープニングを飾り、その後2時間半はあっという間に過ぎ、50年以上のキャリアから選りすぐりの曲が披露される。この3日間に出演した何人かのミュージシャンは、バーで音楽を楽しみながら社交し、ファンとあれやこれやと楽しげに語り合い、暖かくフレンドリーなバーのスタッフからは、夜が更けるにつれてフッキーが自由に流れてくる。アシュリー・ハッチングスが2曲ほどゲスト出演し、喝采を浴びた。クレイジーマン・マイケルのためにヴィッキー・クレイトンがマイクを握る。ベン・サベージとハンナ・サンダースも「Reynadine」でのプレイに参加。フェアポートの最後は「Meet On The Ledge」。1979年に初めて彼らを観た時、レッド・ツェッペリンの出演したフェスティバルでのオープニングを飾ったのと同じ曲だ。私の最初のクロプレディを締めくくるに相応しい、見事な循環の瞬間だった。





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