10 for 2002

by Richard Lewis


It’s a toss up between Manchester in May and Live 75 arriving in November. Both were marvellous and both benefit from repeated listening. In May it was Dylan as he is now, still a joy to see and great to hear, whereas on CD it is just fantastic to hear and makes you long for a full length DVD of any RTR show to see him.

John Green Day 2
A great day as I wrote in a previous Freewheelin’. Looking back I think that what I enjoyed most was meeting a couple of the newer Freewheelers, Paula and Chris (CP), and having a bit of a chat.

Putting a face and a person to an article brings them more to life.

It is not until you have to live without one for two months that you appreciate how useful a kitchen is! Now it is a joy to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon cooking up large batches of Bolognese sauce to the sound of a favourite CD (currently Tweeter and the Monkey man on repeat!).

Two trips this year. An extended camping holiday at the Pont du Gard, near Remoulin (or as my boys used to say when we first went there – “Rainbow Land”) was the first. The second was when I accompanied Jenny to a conference in Toulouse during October half term. Whilst she delivered erudite papers and chaired stormy sessions I strolled around Toulouse in the sunshine sampling the best French cuisine and checking the quality of the local wine.

Fun at Work
Luckily it is not all planning and SATs. This year we’ve had several discos at which I am the only DJ who is forbidden to play any of his own records! In case you want to get down with any 8 to 11 year olds you might like to know that last year’s favourites were DJ Otis’ Hey Baby, Robbie Williams’ Rock DJ and of course The Ketchup Song!

We also, as a reward for our Year 6 Booster group, treated them to the Simpsons in 3D at our IMAX cinema and went Ten Pin bowling. In addition we put on a wonderful production of Joseph.

I enjoyed new CDs from Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, Dan Bern, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle, Mary Gauthier, Jackson Browne and the best of all Fashionably Late by Linda Thompson. Wonderful reissues from Gene Clark (aka White Light), Fairport (Heyday and Liege and Lief), and splendid tributes to Townes van Zandt (Poet) and Derroll Adams (Banjo man).

Box Sets from Ian and Sylvia (Complete Vanguard Sessions), Fairport (UnConventionAl), The Band (The Last Waltz) and Shirley Collins ( Within Sound). I would recommend the Shirley Collins to everyone and say do try to read the booklet, which is an absolute joy.

Books / Magazines
This year I’ve enjoyed a couple more offerings from Kinky Friedman (you can always be sure of the odd Dylan reference), a couple from Christopher Brookmyre who just gets better and better. A new find, courtesy of my frie nd Bill, has been Ace Atkins with his first detective novel Crossroad Blues about the search for the recordings from a forgotten Robert Johnson session! His new one, Leavin’ Trunk Blues is waiting to be read. Also worth a glance is Bill Wyman’s Rolling With The Stones a mammoth work of love with an emphasis on the early years, Lee Underwood’s Blue Melody Tim Buckley Remembered and Shirley Hughes’, the children’s author and illustrator, autobiography – A Life Drawing. Apart from Freewheelin, with recent wonderful articles from lots of us, my favourite monthly read has been Uncut which keeps getting better as it treats music, films and books seriously.

Apart from Wonder Boys, which I have written a lot about, the other DVDs which bear repeated viewings are all music ones. The John Prine sessions and the greatest hits by The Jam and Pulp.

In Toulouse I enjoyed Clint Eastwood in Creance de Sang, which I now find out, as it was released here last week, is Blood Work. Not a bad thriller. Otherwise apart from compulsory viewings of Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings it was two music offerings that made the greatest impression. Jerry Garcia in Grateful Dawg and a film about Nick Drake: A Skin Too Few.

As well as Dylan I’ve seen Fairport, Roger McGuinn, Elvis Costello, Ralph McTell, Billy Bragg and Christine Collister. The highlight for me was seeing Alabama 3 at the Cockpit in Leeds, which was easily the loudest gig I’ve been to for 20 years! If you’ve not heard them check out their three albums. You may know the theme tune they do for The Sopranos – Woke Up This Morning.

No space left to fit in two more Dylan related highlights so I’ll put them here any way. There was the marvellous Westinghouse tape Folk Songs and More Folk Songs – a great big thank you to those generous people who found it and then shared it. And there was, and still is, Expecting Rain, which every week leads me to new treasures. Another big thank you.