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James Yorkston & Martin Carthy Union Chapel 24.5.07
James Yorkston & Martin Carthy Union Chapel 24.5.07

The usual last minute babysitter dramas of course, but managed to get to this concert in the beautiful Union Chapel. Martin Carthy playing with James Yorkston. You cannot really call it supporting, but then perhaps you can as he is not a vain performer. Proud maybe, but not vain. He played Sir Patrick Spens with a Nic Jones melody, and lamented the difficulty of finding his LP's now. In the old second hand record shop days we used to keep things for a few months, and then sell them on again to buy something new, never thinking that all that vinyl would disappear from circulation one day as the shops closed down under greedy rents and iTunes became the virtual hub of all music sales. Over time I've had copies of LP's by Anne Briggs, Nick Drake, Nic Jones, The Trees, even Vashti Bunyan (who we didn't really rate at all) and who knows how many others whose price now prohibits my buying back again. I liked that old system though. It was exciting to hunt for something, and buying was more like bartering.
Downloading is so easy but I am a visual person and a lot of the pleasure for me is in leafing through sleeves and having the visual stimulus bring up the musical memory. I find it hard looking down a list (of what is real treasure) on my long resisted iPod trying to bring the Arial typed names to life, and find myself longing for a bit of adventurous typography or a picture.
James Yorkston was totally and blindingly on form with a wall of guitar brilliance for a 10 minute start to the set. The way he plays guitar is terrific, so full of energy and tension. He played lots of favourites from Moving up Country and Just Beyond the River (my personal favourite). The songs from Year of the Leopard sounded much more vibrant and full of energy than they do on the recording. His humour was in fine form too, with rude jokes curtailed at the sudden recollection that his mother was in the audience! Looking forward to the Green Man Festival in August, and the new cd out soon.