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by Norman Warwick

If we haven´t yet persuaded you to take out a subscription to the Paste On-Line magazine,  let us remind you of a couple of  reasons that might tempt you. There are the regular features such as Time Capsule, which focuses on seminal albums and the environment from which they emerged. There are occasional features, too, such as the column by The Old Curmudgeon, Geoffrey Himes.

Those of us who remember the print music-media of the fifties, sixties and seventies and into the eighties in the UK, will recall writers like John Tobler and Charles Shar Murray (who once reviewed an album in one question, ´Oh Sting, where is they depth?).

John Hugen Tobler (left, born 9 May 1943) is a British rock music journalist, writer, occasional broadcaster, and record company executive.

With Pete Frame, he was one of the founders of ZigZag magazine in April 1969. The magazine focused on the “underground” music scene of the time and featured Tobler’s interviews with many of the leading rock and folk musicians of the period, both American and British. He continued to write for ZigZag until the 1980s, and for many other music magazines since then.

His books include 25 Years of Rock (1980, with Pete Frame), The Record Producers (1982, with Stuart Grundy), MTV Music Television: Who’s Who in Rock Video (1984), The Buddy Holly Story (1989), The Rock Lists Album (1989, with Alan Jones), Who’s Who in Rock and Roll (1991), 100 Great Albums of the Sixties (1994), and Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys: A Complete Guide (2004). He has also written innumerable liner notes for record reissues and compilations. I last heard of him running the Road Goes On Forever (RGF) record label, based in Washington, Tyne and WearEngland..

Charles Shar Murray (born Charles Maximillian Murray; 27 June 1951) is an English music journalist and broadcaster. He has worked on the New Musical Express and many other magazines and newspapers, and has been interviewed for a number of television documentaries and reports on music.

Murray grew up in Reading, Berkshire, England, where he attended Reading School and learnt to play the harmonica and guitar. His first experience in journalism came in 1970, when he was one of a number of schoolchildren who responded to an invitation to edit the April issue of the satirical magazine Oz. He thus contributed to the notorious Schoolkids OZ issue and was involved in the consequent obscenity trial.

He then wrote for IT (International Times), before moving to the New Musical Express in 1972 for which he wrote until around 1986. He subsequently worked for a number of publications including Q magazineMojoMacUserNew StatesmanProspectThe GuardianThe ObserverThe Daily TelegraphVogue, and The Independent. He recently wrote a monthly column about his lifelong love affair with guitars in Guitarist magazine.

These days, halfway through the opening paragraph of any article in Paste on-line you will fully understand why Geoffrey Himes has been, (perhaps  by self) re-christened as The Old Curmudgeon. He is an American music critic who has written weekly for the Washington Post since 1977. He also wrote for No Depression as a contributing editor in its first print era in the late 1990s to the early 2000s and has written for Paste since 2004. He has written lyrics for songs that have been recorded by multiple artists, including Billy Kemp & the Paradise Rockers and Mojo Filter. He has won the Deems Taylor Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers four times (in 2002, 2005, 2014, and 2016). Like all the journalistic team at Paste, he knows of what he speaks.

Recently, a short series of time-specific stories have been included  in Paste about artists who have appeared at the annual Merlefest. (right)

Although its coffers must be bulging already with priceless recordings of performances and interviews with some wonderful artists, Paste Studio “On The Road” rambles on, most recently to Wilkesboro, North Carolina for the 36th annual MerleFest! The festival was founded in 1988 in memory of Doc Watson’s son Merle, and features “traditional plus” music, described by Doc Watson himself as, “the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play. Since the beginning, the people of Wilkes Community College and I have agreed that the music of MerleFest is ‘traditional plus’.” Old Crow Medicine Show fits the “traditional plus” bill perfectly, sharing two songs from their current record Jubilee, and an unreleased song poking fun at our two-party political system.

The Old Crow Medicine Show are also an act that perfectly fit in the Americana scene that Peter Pearson and I are seeking to instil as the vital ingredient of Sidetracks And Detours and PASS IT ON.

You might be very surprised tomorrow when we tell you where else at least one member of the very gritty Old Crow Medicine Show has appeared.

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