play with us in LA. So we phoned them up. Some ofthem. especially the older ones. had never heard of us. but they all thought it would be fun to do. We sometimes get other musicians up with us. It depends who‘s about. We had Alasdair Fraser. the fiddler. at the San Francisco gig. How‘s about you guys coming on at the end‘?‘
And so ()ssian is incorporated into the show. and runs through some numbers in the dressing room to let the band hear the tunes. We have everyone on stage at the end. all the fiddlers. some of them on hammer dulcimer. and one old guy on the bones. Mike bangs a bodhran. and the night ends with the audience on its feet after the encores. while on stage there‘s a fair representation of a ceilidh in Brigadoon. the old guy in the spotlight. gie‘n it laldy on the bones to a cheering hall full oftrendy Los Angelinos.
After the concert we head off with friends up Sunset Boulevard. to the (‘at and Fiddle. the ‘Best Pub In Hollywood. and eventually round the tables in the courtyard garden. the instruments come out. Sharon from (ialway. the Waterboys accordionist and fiddler. is delighted to be having a session. and the music stops only when they have to close the place.
The (‘at and Fiddle became the local. both bands making it back
there after their gigs. until we had to ﬂy offto Dallas. and the Waterboys climb aboard the tour bus and head down the coast to San Diego.
Mike knows that ‘traditional music is very important in the band. It‘s what gets played in the bus. and whenever we can on tour. Colin. Steve and Sharon especially have always got the instruments out. and the rest of us jam along too. Ideas come out of that and can end up in a song or a set.‘ But he doesn‘t know why the group has become so popular. ‘Maybe it‘s because we don‘t do videos,‘ he laughs. ‘lt is a surprise how we‘ve become known over here. We were nowhere in the American charts. But it had already worked for us in Ireland and Britain. We had no videos. no interviews or press or anything like that in Ireland or Britain. but just by playing concerts and making records and being around. people knew us. Word of mouth.‘
Fans ofthe band will know that side two oftheir 12 inch single And A Bang On The Ear. has a live recording of Raggle Taggle Gypsy from Glasgow‘s enthusiastic Barrowland. The Boys. with one girl, will be back there for two nights at Hogmanay.
The Waterboys play two special New Year concerts at the Barrowland. Glasgow on Sat 30 and H ogmana y.
SEEI- The Nelson
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i I Had Tracy Nelson stuck around in San
Francisco when so much attention was focused on the city's thriving musical community, and had she kept playing the Fillmore on the same bill as Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead, she might now be enshrined alongside the greats of the late Sixties. Hervoice is powerful and expressive in the extreme, and more than a match, one suspects, forthe vocalist that Big Brother and the Holding Company were using.
‘I had to put up with comparisons with Janis Joplin all the time! lwas told “You’re good, but you’re no Janis Joplin". And the worst of it was that I didn't even like Janis Joplin. When I met her she was very nice, but what she was doing wasn’t what I wanted to do.‘
Instead, she turned her back on that scene - ‘you had to be entirely committed to psychedelia in those days’ —and headed for Nashville, where so many of her contemporaries flooded a few years later—the crucial difierence being that Nelson went there to live, not to become a country artist. She did, ironically, record a duel with Willy Nelson (no relation), ‘Nothing Cold as Ashes’, which won a Grammy, but her heart has always been in MB.
Mother Earth, the band she formed in California, was named after a Memphis Slim song, and one of her proudest moments was when Slim's family asked her to sing the song at the bluesman's funeral. ‘I was so moved that they could take what I was doing seriously,’ she says now.
With her credentials, it's surprising that she is so little-known here, even though this is the first time she has played in Europe. Thanks to the ferociously patriotic Robbie the Pict, who invited her over, her Scottish tour (including some dates in the Highlands) is the only chance for British audiences to see her.
Holed up in the upstairs room of a pub in Granton, Nelson has been warming up forthe lourwith a pool of experienced Edinburgh bluesmen, including Jim Condie on guitar. She's surprised by their ability and feel for her music, and impressed by the fact that— contrary to her usual experience with pickup bands—they bothered to learn her songs from tapes before she even arrived in the country. (Alastair Mabbott)
Tracy Nelson plays a benefit for Huntington’s Chorea at Calton Studios, Edinburgh on Thurs 28. Tickets are £8, Including buffet.
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I Various: A Lighthouse in the Desert (Egg)Thc second release on Glasgow‘s Egg Records gives space to four oftheir bands. The Bachelor Pad‘s ‘Silly Girl‘ comes waiting out of the same fragrant haze in which many British singer-songwriters languished in the latter part of the ‘60s. while the indie-pop explosion of Postcard. The Smiths and The Ilousemartins is the period Remember Fun and The (‘hurch (irimes find more affinity with. The Prayers number. ‘Puppet (‘louds‘ is the rawest. with numb vocals and a gentle force that recall DinosaurJr. Anyone talent-spotting local groups should definitely seek it out. (AM)
I The Wilderness Children: If You Love Him Let Him Go (Magic Bus) Written by Fraser Reid. played on a barely-in-tune guitar and sung with country music's bitter realism by an unnamed female vocalist. this song‘s budget production probably bars it from radio play — prove me wrong someone. or invite the Dundee-based duo in for a session. (AM) I Charles Mann: Walkol Life (Cooking Vinyl) The point of releasing a near-carbon copy ofa monster Dire Straits hit. altered only by the introduction of an accordion to reinforce the cajun feel that was there anyway. escapes me. It really should have stayed a closing-time kilCCS~llp. (AM)
I Michael Rose: Keeplhe Fire Burning (FICA) Once the leading light of Black L’huru. Rose has ditched the springy reggae he championed at the
for a mid-Atlantic variant. diluting. or so first impressions suggest. the forcefulness of his righteous anger in the
The List 22 December I989— l 1 January 199029