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Both Ears And The Tail

Will Fly 22 Sep 08 - 05:11 PM
irishenglish 22 Sep 08 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Gerry 22 Sep 08 - 09:32 PM
Will Fly 23 Sep 08 - 03:37 AM
Will Fly 23 Sep 08 - 03:38 AM
Gurney 23 Sep 08 - 03:47 AM
TheSnail 23 Sep 08 - 05:04 AM
Will Fly 23 Sep 08 - 08:19 AM
irishenglish 23 Sep 08 - 05:14 PM
Will Fly 24 Sep 08 - 03:33 AM
GUEST 09 Nov 16 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Bill McMellon 09 Nov 16 - 10:20 AM
Mrrzy 09 Nov 16 - 02:01 PM
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Subject: Both Ears And The Tail
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 05:11 PM

I've been transcribing a stack of English tunes from abc notation to music notation and tab and, while doing this, was listening to Carthy & Swarbrick's 1966 album "Both Ears And the Tail". (This was recorded in '66 but not released until 40 years later).

What playing! I saw the pair in Lancaster in 1966 - just around the time this album was made - and this record is a live performance which really captures how they played at that time. The last track is a medley of "The Kid On The Mountain / The Donegal / The Swallowstail / The Marquis Of Tullybardine" - with Swarb calling out the numbers as he plays at breakneck speed. Totally exhilarating.


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: irishenglish
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 05:41 PM

Yep, one of my favorites from the two of them. Loved how in the first set you can here Swarb asking, "what's next", not hearing Carthy, then Carthy slightly louder saying- "Drowsy Maggie". Shows you how damn good they are.


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 09:32 PM

I thought this was going to be a Tom Lehrer discussion. In Old Mexico, from An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer:

I cheered at the banderilleros' display,
As they stuck the bull in their own clever way,
For I hadn't had so much fun since the day
My brother's dog Rover
Got run over.

Rover was killed by a Pontiac. And it was done with such grace and artistry that the witnesses awarded the driver both ears and the tail - but I digress.


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 03:37 AM

"The mariachis would serenade
And they would no shut up til they were paid.
We ate, we drank and we were merry -
And we got typhoid and dysentery."


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 03:38 AM

The Swarb/Carthy album was called that because, on the way to the gig, the train they were travelling in ran over a cow on the tracks!


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: Gurney
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 03:47 AM

The time to worry is when your train runs over a cow in a field.

Why DO they award the matador with those trophies, anyway? Surely a couple of kilos of topside and a sausage pack would be better received.

I remember a gig in Coventry when Carthy was booked and Swarb just turned up. As IrishEnglish says, Swarb kept asking "What's next."

I'm going to look for a copy of the recording now.


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 05:04 AM

Will !!!!

Swarb will have you for that. Last night at The Ravenswood he wouldn't tell us; we had to buy the CD to find out.

Brilliant show with Lisa Knapp in support. She's come on a bit since we gave her her first folk club booking.


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 08:19 AM

Swarb? Have MOI? The very thought...! Actually, everyone should buy the CD anyway, without any incentive like finding out the reason for the title.

There's a surreal bit when Carthy is singing a very plaintive and sad "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" and someone either bangs a door or overturns a chair, with a great crash, right in one of the quietest bits. That, and some very minor fluffs in the words and in Swarb's playing here and there, may account for it not being turned into an album in 1966. And "Rags, Reels And Airs" - with many of the same tracks on it - appeared (with Diz Disley on it) in 1967. I love both albums but "Both Ears..." has a certain zing to it.

As for a train killing a cow on the tracks... well, there's nothing like a spot of tautology now and then, occasionally, here and there, from time to time.


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: irishenglish
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 05:14 PM

I think before I bought it I had seen a review of it being a sound guy's private tape if you will, and so I had a sense of buyer beware regarding sound quality. I was pleasantly surprised though, at how good it actually came out, and how well they survived sitting in a box somewhere!


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Sep 08 - 03:33 AM

As I said earlier, having seen them live in '66, the album really reminded me of the superb performance I'd seen then (at Lancaster University folk club). One ominous and far-reaching sound on the album, though, is Swarb's smoker's cough, which comes in as throat-clearing here and there. Considering that he spent much of playing time with a ciggie dangling from his mouth, it ain't surprising! (I originally wrote "with a fag dangling from his mouth", then realised how usage has changed over the years).


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Nov 16 - 08:54 AM

And now dear Mr. Swarbrick has died. There is a thread (which staggers me for it's nastiness)on "the Session"   about whether he was a fiddler. Well it always seemed to me that he could play brilliantly, inventively, fast, slow and soulfully if need be and joyously. A wonderful man and a great loss to us all. There are doubtless other great fiddlers, but to my mind that is what he was.

Bill McMellon.


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: GUEST,Bill McMellon
Date: 09 Nov 16 - 10:20 AM

P.s. Perhaps it was a bit unfair of me to say that the thread on the Session is nasty. I looked at it again after writing the above and it is headed in Praise of Dave Swarbrick, after all. There's a lot of stuff comparing him to players such as Martin Hayes.


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Subject: RE: Both Ears And The Tail
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Nov 16 - 02:01 PM

I thought it would be about Tom Lehrer and, somehow, the election.


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