The Far Side

by Chris Bertram on October 10, 2005

This paragraph from Brian Hinton’s South by South West: A Road Map to Alternative Country could perfectly well do service as a caption to a Far Side cartoon:

Lazily labelled as “folk rock” during their ten-year career together, Richard and Linda were as attuned to Americana as anyone living in a Sufi commune in rural Norfolk could ever hope to be.

Probably the high-point of a book which mainly consists of a long list of obscure band names.



bob mcmanus 10.10.05 at 2:46 pm

I might look for that book. I listen to a lot of Thompson, and he seems pretty British to me. As far as the Sufi goes, “Pour Down Like Silver” is my favorite album among strong competition.

Slightly on topic, this Saturday afternoon I arranged to listen to a Robyn Hitchcock benefit concert from last June for Doctors without Borders. With a backup band and friends, he performed the Beatles White Album in its entirety.
It was two hours of very good music; often hilarious (walking the width of the stage saying “Number 9. Number 9.”) and a jolly good time; and as the crowd sang “Goodnight” along with the band, it seemed suddenly less a stunt than some kind of Work of Love.

I felt very warm and grateful toward England for a little while.


Jeremy Osner 10.10.05 at 3:02 pm

Dear Bob, Where can one lay hands on a tape of that concert? Is it the sort of thing one can buy from purveyors of DVD’s, or must one have a friend who taped it back last summer? I would dearly love to hear it, and it might be just the thing to finally convince Ellen, who loves the Beatles, that R.H. is worthwhile, a campaign which has lasted many years now for me.


bob mcmanus 10.10.05 at 4:39 pm

I got it from a friend. I am not sure where he got it, it was pretty lo-fi. Really searched online for a copy, but the concert is barely mentioned. Am still looking.

The songs were performed very straight…RH:”Don’t expect 15 minute jams here, it was tough enough learning 30 songs. The drummer had never heard the album”. But performed very well. RH was at his least, umm eccentric, and most charming…the stage chatter made the show. (Intro to “Piggies”…RH:”Here is another of George’s lovesongs to the human race.”) I would really like to see a film, there was stuff going on during “Revolution #9” that had the audience falling apart.

I watched most of the Jonathan Demme movie, which is an honest introduction to Hitchcock, but perhaps not the most accessible. Looked like a weirdo to me. But I guess a lovable weirdo.


rea 10.10.05 at 4:57 pm

“I listen to a lot of Thompson, and he seems pretty British to me.”

You are understandably confused, but I have it on good authority that the “Richard and Linda” mentioned in the book were cows . . .


bob mcmanus 10.10.05 at 5:08 pm

Hitchcock News Page

I obviously had a bootleg of some sort. Scroll down this page, there is a notice about halfway down with names and places. But nothing mentioned in his online store.


Rich 10.10.05 at 6:13 pm

My favorite Hitchcock moment was at UCSD where he played solo in the student union quad during lunchtime. His sound check consisted of him playing Roxy Music’s “Oh Yeah” on the piano.

I was even able to pull him aside before the show and request a song.

But best of all, he was seeing a beautiful young blonde at the time, not much older than a college grad. She apparently brought her parents to see her new beau perform.

During one of his songs, which included fairly explicit lyrics, he sang directly and lovingly to this young girl sitting inbetween her parents.



Rich 10.10.05 at 6:16 pm


And speaking of Americana and those across the pond, Robyn has been doing some work with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Good stuff.


nick s 10.10.05 at 7:24 pm

Del McCoury has covered a couple of Thompson tracks, showing that the links between English folk and bluegrass aren’t too masked by the passage of time. Thompson also seems to enjoy playing in Appalachia, but I think yer author is making a bit of a reach. (I’d love to see him and Gillian Welch on the same bill.)


Rich 10.11.05 at 5:34 am

This might be old news, but the link between Scotland and England, and Appalachia is strong.

We have a small “jamming” session at a general store near my town here in southern Appalachia. It is led by what I call the “group nazi.” Like the soup nazi, he demands that the group plays only pre-1930s mountain music (and likewise, witheringly shoots down requests from observers). It is sad and funny.


Uncle Kvetch 10.11.05 at 3:30 pm

His sound check consisted of him playing Roxy Music’s “Oh Yeah” on the piano.

He played that song (accompanying himself on guitar, though) the first time I saw him in solo-acoustic mode, during the “Eye” tour in 1990 or so. I still get chills thinking about it.

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