Archive for the ‘Prelude’ Category

Don McLean Newcastle City Hall 1980

Don McLean Newcastle City Hall 1980 dontix American Pie is an epic song in several senses. The album version runs at an incredible 8 minutes, although it was shortened to four minutes for the single release. Much has been written about the meaning of its cryptic lyrics, with the general consensus seeming to be that the song is about the tragic death of McLean’s hero Buddy Holly in a plane crash. McLean has been reluctant to explain the song’s meaning and is on record as joking: “It means I don’t ever have to work again if I don’t want to.” or more seriously “You will find many interpretations of my lyrics but none of them by me…. Sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence.”. donmclean
My enduring memory of the song is seeing Don McLean perform it at the Lincoln Festival in 1972. The weather at the festival was awful, and the heavens opened during Don’s set. However when he sang this song the rain stopped, almost as if by magic, and we all sang along.
I saw Don McLean again in 1980 at a concert at Newcastle City Hall. The tour was to support a “Greatest Hits” compilation and the support act was local folk trio Prelude. As well as “American Pie” you could be sure that Don McLean would sing his other hits “Vincent” and “Crying”, as well as less known, but just as beautiful, songs like “And I Love You So” and “Castles in the Air”. He would also include one or two Buddy Holly songs such as “Everyday”, perhaps some Elvis or Bob Dylan, and some rock’n’roll. donprog From the programme: “Don McLean is without doubt one of the most influential singer songwriters in the history of popular music. He has inspired many of his contemporaries and his classic song “American Pie” (released in 1971) has become a perennial on radio all-time Top Ten request lists. Another song “Vincent” – which is played every single day at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Holland – was cited recently by Stevie Wonder as one of his all-time favourites. And another – “And I Love You So” – has become a standard. It is also one of the most sung and recorded songs in history with versions by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Perry Como and Helen Reddy leading the way.”
Thanks to John for the scan of an early tour programme. The lower image is the front cover of the 1980 UK tour programme.

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Ralph McTell Newcastle City Hall 1974

Ralph McTell Newcastle City Hall 1974
Support from Prelude
ralphmctellticket I’ve only seen Ralph McTell once in concert, back in 1974. He was already well established on the folk scene at this point, having played several major concert tours, and filling the Royal Albert Hall twice in 1973. This tour was to promote Ralph’s seventh album “Easy” which featured Danny Thompson, John Kongos and Bert Jansch. I think Danny Thompson was with Ralph on the tour. It was of course the great song “Streets of London” which drew me to the gig. “Sreets of London” was recorded in 1969, but wasn’t released as a single until 1974, reaching No 2 in the UK singles chart. At one point it was selling 90,000 copies a day, and won Ralph the Ivor Novello Award and a Silver disc.” The song was inspired by McTell’s experiences busking and hitchhiking throughout Europe, especially in Paris and the individual stories are taken from Parisians – McTell was originally going to call the song Streets of Paris; ralphmctellprog but eventually London was chosen because he realised he was singing about London. The song contrasts the common problems of everyday people with those of the homeless, lonely, elderly, ignored and forgotten members of society” (from Wikipedia). I loved that song at the time, and enjoyed hearing Ralph McTell sing it. The City Hall was packed for this concert, and I was surprised just how many people were already fans of the guy, and knew the songs well enough to sing along to most of them. Support came from local folk trio Prelude, who had their own UK chart success in 1974, with a distinctive a cappella version of Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush”, which reached No 21. Singer Irene Hume explains how the song came about: “We were standing at a bus stop in Stocksfield and we just started singing it. There was no particular reason, it was just a nice song. The way we do it now is really no different from the way we did it at the bus stop. We included it in our act and it went down really well – even the rowdier clubs listened to it. We certainly never thought of it as a possible single”.