In June, Leigh-on-Sea hosts the UK’s largest free folk festival. On Sunday, I wandered to the Crooked Billet stage to see Martin Carthy. The whole area was packed, which meant I had to stand behind a railing at the side. Carthy played, picking his guitar beautifully, and introduced his songs by revealing some of the deep history behind them.
Halfway through his set, someone squeezed past me with a slight shove. I turned round to see if I could move in and let the gentleman pass. To my surprise, it was Wilko Johnson.
I say it was a surprise because I would have thought the pairing was unlikely. Surely Wilko Johnson with Dr Feelgood was musically the polar opposite to Martin Carthy’s folk leanings. But as I pondered it, they aren’t so dissimilar: both are incredible guitar players; each of their music has a rawness to it; both arguably pushed music into a new direction (Carthy allegedly inspired Bob Dylan’s Girl of the North Country, Dr Feelgood inspired the punk movement). After Carthy’s set, I watched as they both shook hands and chatted. Two men, hugely influential in their own sphere.
As you may know, I wrote about Zoe Howe’s brilliant Lee Brilleaux biography a week or so ago. It’s safe to say that I’m on a Dr Feelgood binge and this playlist would always have been weighed down heavily by R&B songs. But after seeing Martin Carthy, I couldn’t resist putting some of his songs in too, as well as other folk artists.
Here’s the playlist:
- She Does It Right – Dr Feelgood
- Mother Freedom – Bread
- Hangin’ Out – Betty Davis
- Wild About My Baby – Slim Harpo
- Big Boys – Chuck Berry
- Messin’ With The Kid – Junior Wells
- Roadrunner – The Pretty Things
- Bill Norrie – Martin Carthy
- Poison – Bert Jansch
- Let The Good Things Come – John Martyn
- White Freight Liner (Live) – Townes Van Zandt
- Scarborough Fair – Martin Carthy and David Swarbrick
- Sally Free And Easy – Oscar Dowling
- Wrecking Days – Kitty Macfarlane
- The Bedmaking (feat. David Swarbrick) – Martin Carthy and David Swarbrick
- Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – The Animals
- The More I Give – Dr Feelgood
- Around and Around – Rolling Stones
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