The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #132312   Message #2996860
Posted By: Phil Edwards
30-Sep-10 - 11:24 AM
Thread Name: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
I'd like to split the difference between Suibhne and Brian (which will probably satisfy no one).

I think what leaps out at me when I look at Bellamy's discography is how focused he was: there always seems to have been something he wanted to achieve, some project at the back of his mind. Most artists - and I really want to stress that I mean no disrespect in what I'm about to say - record An Album, followed if they're lucky by Another Album, and they're pleased if the album sounds nice and even more pleased if other people think it sounds nice. For most artists, something as wilfully single-minded as (say) an entire album of Kipling settings would attract labels like "side project", "personal passion", "indulging a longstanding obsession".

There are very, very few Another Albums in Bellamy's discography: it seems to consist mostly of personal passions and longstanding obsessions. In this he wasn't much like Nic Jones or even Ewan MacColl, and he was a lot like Sun Ra and Mark E. Smith (and Viv Stanshall, come to that). And Brian's right: these are not the kind of artists the nation clasps to its bosom. Most people like stuff that sounds nice.

However, I don't think single-mindedly following your passions is a sign of genius, or of being a giant among dwarves. On the other hand, coming back to the bit about not meaning any disrespect, I don't think making An Album and trying to make it sound nice is a mark of mediocrity. The Noah's Ark Trap goes down quite smoothly, and you'd be listening to it for a very long time before you were reminded of the Fall; it's still a brilliant album.