Sidetracks & Detours present PASS IT ON 54 Sunday Supplement 26 5 2024

Sidetracks & Detours



Sunday Supplement 26 5 2024


Hear The Call


by Akela

Researching History

A Rhetorical Question TOO MANY POETS ?        

 asks Michael Higgins

Art And Ambience


hosted by Claudie

Literature: 100 anniversary for major publishing house


by promotional flyer

Live Jazz  at The Crooked Billet


preview by Jazz In Reading

Live Jazz


preview by Jazz In Reading

Live Jazz In June



Jazz On Air


plated by Steve Bewick

Live Music In Portsmouth


review by newsletter

A Reader´s Perspective.


by Peter Pearson

Island Insights



by Norman Warwick


Hear The Call


by Akela

We are a happy pack as we wander through  long grass down the sidetracks and detours and we have enjoyed our hunt for arts related stories. This morning we leave items just outside your tent out here on the prairies or perhaps you would prefer us to push them into your incoming e mails? We don´t mind. Why should we ? After all we have dined on dandelion and burdock, spam sandwiches and one of Mr. Kipling´s exceedingly good cakes. Today on our travels we heard our much-revered historian, Michael Higgins questioning what constitutes too many poets. We also visited what the artist Claudie calls her Gallery At Home and then found a pile of information about the work, in films and books and activism of Isobella Rossellini. We also bring you two items of music of overheard Jazz In Reading. Even after Mr. Kipling´s exceedingly good cake the jazz had us hungering for more, and our jazz columnist and broadcaster, Steve Bewick baked us some of his jazz Hot Biscuits. We also found you a review of a classical duo at Chichester Cathedral and, with a reader´s perspective our Americana correspondent Peter Pearson. Of course, we bring our usual closing piece of Island Insight delivered by Canary Detect.

If you attend gigs or arts events, take part in arts events, and you have some news, previews, interviews or reviews you would like to share why not drop an article  to me on a word document attachment to

We reach scores of thousands of readers each day so why not share your news. We will fully attribute and accredit.


Researching History

A Rhetorical Question TOO MANY POETS ?        

asks Michael Higgins

Canadian poet Ian Young has sent me a pert little piece on a newspaper headline type of literary complaint entitled ‘Too Many Poets’. It reads:

When asked if there were too many poets in the world Flannery O’Connor responded: ‘Even if, as it is said, there are too many of us – that is the field is too crowded (as opposed to too many hedge-fund managers, or too many pharmaceutical lobbyists or too many fundamentalists), time, rejection, discouragement, and the inevitable practicalities and detours (some of them fortuitous), as well as wasted energy, the slow seepage or sudden shift of interest, premature death, burdensome debt or better offers, usually cure the problem of overpopulation. In other words there are plenty of natural predators.’

Natural predators abound indeed. Mortality has claimed the poets I have briefly encountered in my  youth such as Allen Ginsberg, WH Auden, Milton Acorn, Jonathan Williams, Brian Hill, and Robin Parker, (all of whom I have written about previously) but I am not sure about discouragement other than many poets I know have from time to time stopped writing or at least ceased publishing. But the circle of writers and related performers I know do try to keep at it despite some of them writing themselves into a particular niche or narrow audience interest. As for most of us there are an awful lot of poets writing and publishing the sort of stuff we, or the general public, do not understand, appreciate or even like. And who likes my poems anyway? My rejection slips are legion.

Here in the Lancashire part of North West England, and particularly the Rochdale area Poets on Tap, which I help to assemble with Eileen Earnshaw (left), struggles along despite natural predators. The worst recent predator was the Coronavirus pandemic shut-downs and quarantines, followed by a poor economic climate and the recent poor wintry weather. Who wants to come out to hear navel gazing depressive verse on a dark wintry evening as a dwindling band of rhymesters and versifiers traipses from pub to pub as landlords turf us out from one venue to another. Too many poets indeed!

Poets On Tap used to be called Those Bard(s) from the Baum, meeting at the Baum Public House in Rochdale. When the landlord needed our upstairs room for dining we were eventually truly ‘barred’ from there and moved on to the Flying Horse where we became ‘Pegasus’ named after the flying horse of Greek mythology. Driven out of there by an electronically noisy upstairs room we moved on to the Medicine Tap pub a few yards away, here Robin Parker thought of the witty name ‘Poets on Tap’. But there is an irony in the name as the group has always included any performer with a poetic soul or musician playing tone poems, singing plaintive ballads or generally making sound. Music, rhythm and a beating pulse flow through the Poets and their tap. As our pep verse has it – We are the Poets on Tap, We sing and we strum and we rap – or clap – etc etc. In other words we make a noise.

But our predators, and a less than ideal small room, nearly finished us off and then the pub suddenly closed and we had to creep, cap in hand back to Flying Horse, our numbers dwindling to half a dozen or so. Happily in the last few months we have become a poetry and folk group again with numbers topping a dozen – poets, ukulele and guitar players plus a few recorder and horn players too. There is even the odd guitar. So poems are sung, accompanied by melody, and even played as well as recited. At our last session one member played a solo recorder version of the melody to the Irish folk song ‘She Moved Through the Fair’ which was followed by a plaintive sung version via a second lady. One man recited Jake Thakray’s ‘The Hair of the Widow of Brid’ as a frivolous yet dangerous contrast. I tried a couple of Elizabethan lyrics which I had set to music and others took up either a Merrie month of May theme or none at all. The Ukulele band ‘The Uketeers’ performed ‘Pay Me My Money Down’ and Wayfaring Stranger, accompanied by recorder as a boon. A theatre stalwart read an Alan Bennet monologue on actors so the solo and group musicians outnumbered the poets

This week I attended the Littleborough Literary Festival at a reading at the Red Lion pub, organised by  poetic performer and  promoter, Seamus Kelly (right) . Again none of the offerings by eight poets and musicians were navel – gazing or obscurantist but light-hearted lookers on at life and times. And of the eight performers three sang and one both recited and sang. Seamus read two of his poems while I was there. (I had to leave early for another engagement). He kept us all in suspense while he anticipated his own big SNEEZE and described Rochdale as its residence peregrine falcon saw it in ‘Peregrine Town’. One chap followed on with a poem about a resident spider in his car called Septimus. Steve sang his ‘Ocean City-Empty Harbour Blues’ describing the fishing boat lights at night off Whitby and Ian recited a few limericks about artificial intelligence or AI. He had actually tested a Chatbot AI app in composing a limerick. Angela sang ‘The Apple to the Tree’ I sang an 18th century comical piece by John Collier (Tim Bobbin) and read one of my own poems about a changeling child..

So this Literary Festival was also very musical as well and was more of a fun entertainment evening overall. But were there too many poets here or not enough? There were about twenty in the room altogether so there were certainly not too many in the audience. And if there were too many poets they weren’t here. Perhaps there were so many poets performing locally and elsewhere in the world there was not enough audience to go around. Ah well, not to worry, we poets can be our own audience at a pinch. Some of us never give up. But just to make sure, the next time you hear of a poetry event in your area please go out to hear them.  To be sure, not all of them will be poets with poems in the strict literary sense, and many of them will sing them or play a poetic melody. When the taps are open and the rhythm is flowing surely we are all poets now.

Use us or lose us?  Gosh I hope not, but if you know an audience near you please send them along. One can never have too many of them.


Art And Ambience


hosted by Claudie

Claudie is our favourite artist here on Lanzarote. I remember a time in the UK, perhaps in the eighties, when the phrase arts and crafts became somewhat demeaning and some artists, or perhaps more accurately fans of those artists took high dudgeon if the work was described as arts and crafts rather than art with a capital. Claudie, I think would not mind her work being described as art and craft. From beautiful large canvas paintings to smaller masterpieces painted on objets trouve along the beach at Orzola where she lives, to exquisitely adorned fridge magnets, dragon eggs and some vibrant and intriguing photography she has adorned her home and turned it into a gallery, or is it perhaps a gallery that has become a home?  Whatever, the residence welcomes casual callers on occasional Sunday openings and Claudie is a wonderful host, always willing to answer questions and to discuss her work. Very few of these people, mostly from Lanzarote communities but also sometimes by tourists who have noticed adverts placed in shops or magazines like PASS IT ON, leave without a purchase of some kind. We have spoken about our large collection of her fridge magnets, paintings, photographs and air plants that are scattered around our little house, which is in the South East of the island at the longest diagonal point away from this light, bright gallery home of Claudie´s, with a beautiful side garden. only fifty yards from the harbour, with its ferry departure point to the virtually unpopulated island of La Graciosa. This town of Orzola is a place of infinity beauty and diversity and it is Claudie who somehow captures and completes it and renders  it unique.

If you are on the island today, why not call in? 

Literature 100th Anniversary of Simon  & Schuster

YOU WANT IT DARKER? by Stephen King

review by newsletter

Ekphrasis has been considered generally to be a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form, and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience, through its illuminative liveliness

Regular readers of Sidetracks & Detours, and these pages at PASS IT ON will be well aware of how much we enjoy seeing book titles and song titles referencing each other.

One of Simon & Schuster´s new publications has played exactly that trick the book is an extraordinary new collection of twelve short stories, many never-before-published, and some of even this author´s best EVER.

“You like it darker?´ is the title of a collection of short stories  by Stephen King in the afterword to a magnificent new collection of twelve stories that delve into the darker part of life -both metaphorical and literal. King is, of course, echoing the title of one of the last albums recorded by Leonard Cohen who has similarly left very few cracks through which  the light gets in.

What Cohen did for half a century, or so , too, has King been a master of the literary form, and these stories, about fate, mortality, luck, and the folds in reality where anything can happen, are as rich and riveting as his novels, both weighty in theme and a huge pleasure to read. King writes to feel “the exhilaration of leaving ordinary day-to-day life behind,” and in You Like It Darker, readers will feel that exhilaration too, again and again.

Available now in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook.

(p) Simon & Schuster


Live Jazz: The Crooked Billet, Newlands Lane, Stoke Row RG9 5PU


preview by Jazz In Reading

On Wednesday 19th June there will be an evening of food, drink and jazz, and tickets admit entry from 6.30 before a pre-show dinner at 7.00 pm before the guest ensemble, Budapest Café Orchestra take to the stage at 8.30.

“I can imagine it might come as a surprise that an evening of Balkan gypsy jazz mayhem could fill the Crooked Billet to bursting but it wouldn’t to anyone who had previously spent time in the company of the Budapest Café Orchestra.

“We first booked them at the Crooked Billet 15 years ago and they’ve lost none of their energy or showmanship. If anything, more mayhem-ic, still refreshingly unconventional & snappily attired boutique orchestra, offering their steroid blasted spin on manic Eastern European gypsy jazz, folk & classics.

“Christian Garrick serving as the group’s bags of wit master of ceremonies – one of the world’s most celebrated jazz violinists. Kevin Cantlon on double bass, pre-gypsy jazz in those early rock n roll years played with David Bowie. Guitar, Saz, balalaika, clomra. Adrian Zolotuhin a master of strummed strings. Eddie Hessian manages to make the piano accordion cool! Eddie a former accordion world championship winner. He’s accompanied Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras; he’s dead good.

“The Budapest Café Orchestra play a blisteringly barrage of Czardas, East European & Russian Folk tunes that might have come from the Hot Club of Paris via the Orient Express; makes you want to book a holiday up the Balkans” – Paul Clerehugh

Live Jazz At The Progress

THE GAZ HUGHES TRIO; Nuclear Bebopalypso Tour

previewed by Jazz In Reading

Friday 21 June| Progress Theatre, Reading (details below) | 7:30pm |
£19.00 (£17.00 concessions, £10 under 16) plus maximum 5% booking fee
Bar at all gigs from 7:00pm. Drinks may be taken into the auditorium.

line up:
Gaz Hughes drums
Andrzej Baranek piano
Gavin Barras double bass

Gaz Hughes (right) is a renowned jazz drummer and band leader, who first gained wide public attention as the original drummer in the Matthew Halsall Band. He has played a significant role in the early recordings of the Gondwana label and has been a highlight on the album “On The Go”, which won the Best Jazz Album of the Year at the Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards in 2012, and was nominated for the Best Jazz Album MOBO Awards in 2011.

As a sideman, Gaz has performed with an impressive array of jazz artists, both in the UK and internationally, including Scott Hamilton, Harry Allen, Marshal Allen, Greg Abate, Alan Barnes, Bruce Adams, Mark Nightingale, Tony Kofi, Ian Shaw, and many others. Additionally, he has also collaborated with a number of rock and pop artists such as Patti Boulaye, Suzi Quatro, Ray Quinn, Rick Guard and Kristyna Myles.

In 2019, Gaz was voted fifth place in the British Jazz Awards. In 2020, he released his debut album as a band leader, “Plays Art Blakey”, featuring Alan Barnes, Bruce Adams and Dean Masser. The album was met with critical acclaim and was supported by a UK tour and extensive radio play. In May 2022, Gaz released a trio album “Beboperation” which was well received by audiences and critics. Following its success, the trio went back to the studio to record a follow-up album. In February 2023, Gaz released his third album as a band leader, entitled “Beboptical Illusion”, featuring mostly original compositions and representing a new direction for the trio.

The new album, Nuclear Bebopalypse, continues with original numbers inspired by the late 50’s Piano Trio format but with fresh twists. A recent promoter described the music as “Old School Jazz for the 21st Century” – which Gaz says sums up things perfectly.

On 21 June you will experience an exciting drum-led jazz combo with lashings of swing and effortless bebop improvisation. Review comments include:

“Incredible” – Ginger Baker

“An extremely tasteful and swinging straight ahead drummer, Hughes exhibits a no nonsense approach to his playing”

“They rarely deliver anything less than excellence and today topped just about everything that had preceded it. I feel sad for the squares who weren’t there” – Bebop Spoken Here

Live Jazz In June


by Rob Adams

June is the month of the organ trio – there are two coming up!

First, though, violinist-composer Seonaid Aitken (left) takes her Chasing Sakura ensemble to Ronnie Scott’s on Sunday 2nd. Inspired by the cherry blossom’s symbol of rebirth and renewal, Seonaid composed a suite for string quintet and the superbly individual saxophonist Helena Kay as featured soloist. Helena also hosts one of Glasgow Jazz Festival’s Late Night Jam Sessions at Nice & Sleazy on Thursday 20th and starting in September, will front a prestigious series of concerts at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s keyboard master, Peter Johnstone renews the partnership that the award-winning quartet Square One enjoyed with the richly experienced American saxophonist Andy Middleton when they join drummer Stephen Henderson in Glasgow on Tuesday 4th and Edinburgh on Thursday 6th. Following the success of his International Organ Quartet’s initial tour, Pete will feature on Hammond organ in a trio (right) that’s sure to generate grooving energy and rhythmical excitement.

Pianist Euan Stevenson and saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski’s New Focus: (left) the Classical Connection is gaining momentum. The guys have a mini tour to Carshalton on Wednesday 12th, Kenilworth on Thursday 13th and Camberwell, South London on Friday 14th. Mozart, Miles, Satie and more are threaded together with great jazz chops in this entertaining and informative show, which also visits Perth this Monday (27th May)

The international quartet Same Moon (right) in the Same World is the first of two groups touring who have links to the Going Dutch project of a few years ago. Trio HLK’s brilliant guitarist, Ant Law and the superb young saxophonist Alex Hitchcock are joined by virtuosic bassist Jasper Høiby and Amsterdam-based drummer Sun-Mi Hong, whose playing skills and band-leading were a Going Dutch stand-out. The group brings strong compositions and imaginative individual and collective improvisation to Edinburgh on Saturday 15th and Glasgow on Sunday 16th.

Glaswegian Jim Mullen is one of jazz’s most distinctive guitarists, a musician whose direct creativity drew him into the groups of big-swinging pianist Gene Harris and Chicago jazz-soul poet Terry Callier (who referred to Jim as “God”). Jim returns to his hometown to front a trio with Peter Johnstone on Hammond organ and drummer Alyn Cosker (left) on Thursday 20th in a Glasgow Jazz Festival line-up that also includes the marvellous alto saxophonist Bobby Watson and Jazz FM favourites Mama Terra..

Under the Surface is the second Going Dutch connection. A meeting of young talents, vocalist Sanne Rambags and guitarist Bram Stadhouders with experienced drummer-percussionist Joost Lijbaart (right) (from saxophonist Yuri Honing’s groups), the trio’s early work featured completely spontaneous concerts that developed a signature sound of wordless songs, ambient guitar figures and sure percussive drive. Three albums on, they have explored songwriting in the Old Dutch language and blurred the lines between improvisation and composition into a fascinating and dramatic, almost orchestral soundscape. They visit Nayland on Thursday 20th, Sudbury on Friday 21st and London Saturday 22nd


Blue Lamp
Sun 2: Blue Lamp Youth Combo & Jazz at the Blue Lamp Community Big Band

Leith Dockers Club
Thu 6: Peter Johnstone-Andy Middleton Trio feat Stephen Henderson

Queen’s Hall
Sat 15: Same Moon in the Same World

Glad Cafe
Tue 4:Peter Johnstone-Andy Middleton Trio feat Stephen Henderson
Tue 11: Unharm
Wed 19: Michelle Willis
Sat 22: Faye MacCalman/David Bowden 1pm
Sun 23: Pippa Blundell 1pm

Sat 22: Marianne McGregor & Brian Kellock

Hug and Pint
Wed 19: Black Umfolosi

Mackintosh Church
Wed 19: Dan-Do
Thu 20: Hejira
Fri 21: Fergus McCreadie Trio

Merchants House
Sun 16: Same Moon in the Same World

Nice & Sleazy
Wed 19: Norman&Corrie
Thu 20: Black Sabbath Mode
Fri 21: Kapil Seshasayee
Sun 23: Nimbus Sextet

Oran Mor
Thu 20: Jim Mullen with Peter Johnstone and Alyn Cosker
Fri 21: Kyoto Jazz Massive
Sat 22: Hamish Stuart

St Lukes
Thu 20: Mama Terra
Fri 21: kitti
Sat 22: Ben Shankland Trio (1pm)/Bobby Watson Qrt
Sun 23: GIO with Orphy Robinson

606 Club
Sat 1: Ed Jones
Thu 6: Jason Rebello
Sat 8: Binker Golding
Wed 12: Jim Mullen-Paulo Morello Trio
Thu 13 – Fri 14: Shez Raja ft Guthrie Govan
Tue 18: Barry Green Trio
Thu 20: Partikel
Sun 30: Georgia Mancio

Ronnie Scott’s
Sat 1: José James
Sun 2: Seonaid Aitken Ensemble
Tue 4: Jonathan Barber & Vision Ahead
Wed 5: Cyrille Aimée
Mon 10: John Surman
Tue 11: Ben Sidran
Wed 12: Espen Eriksen Trio with Andy Sheppard
Thu 13: Citrus Sun
Fri 14: Jay Phelps
Sun 23: Bobby Watson Qrt
Mon 24 – Fri 28: Monty Alexander
Sat 29: Black Art Jazz Collective

Newton Stewart
Quarrymen’s Arts Centre
Sat 22: Trio Magico
As always, this list is not intended to be comprehensive; other gigs are available.
On air sign background

Jazz On Air

SAM NEWBOULD `Homing` in with a new CD release.

with Hot Biscuits dished out by Steve Bewick

Sam Newbould (right) has received many plaudits following his brief return to Britain at the Band on the Wall, Manchester (UK).

Newbould’s alto playing bursts from the ensemble shining like a beacon in the darkness” – Bebop Spoken Here (UK).

Born and raised in the Northern English countryside, Sam Newbould is a saxophonist, composer and bandleader based in Amsterdam. A prolific and multi award winning composer, his compositions combine a passion for storytelling with a clarity and originality described as “mind-blowing, sometimes introverted and intimate and then exuberant again” (SWN Talent Award, NL).

Newbould won the Keep an Eye Records Award 2019, and was the first recipient of the Rabobank So Who’s Next Talent Award 2024. Drawing together some of Europe’s finest young improvisers, his band leading combines striking creative vision with “no shortage of world class talent” (UK Vibe). “The group dynamic is superb, allowing Newbould’s music to breathe, and underscoring its inherent charm on every number” (All About Jazz, US). With a burgeoning international reputation, the quintet have been invited to play North Sea Jazz Festival, Love Supreme Festival (UK), BIMHUIS (NL), and the Vortex (UK) amongst others.

​​His debut album Blencathra (2019) was hailed by Windout magazine as “A musical mosaic of futurist ideas and indie-jazz harmonies”. 

Inspired by his upbringing in the North of England, his second album, Bogus Notus (ZenneZ Records) garnered critical acclaim as “compulsive listening” (Bebop Spoken Here, UK). Newbould will release his highly anticipated third album Homing in May 2024. The album is inspired by – and named after – his temporary adoption of a Polish homing pigeon, as well as his own reflections on building a life abroad. Combining humour with sadness, drama with banality, and virtuosity with simplicity, Homing is Newbould’s most personal and unapologetically bold musical statement yet.

Besides your regular band Sam Newbould’s Quintet, who else are you sharing your musical talents with?

Besides my own group, I am an in-demand side man with bands including the BvR Flamenco Big Band and the Peter Beets New Jazz Orchestra. I have shared the stage with major international artists including Jasper Blom, Ben van Gelder and Reinier Baas. Sam teaches at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Conservatory of Maastricht.

I understand that you were born here in the UK.

I was born in the North of England in 1990. I took an early interest in the drums and percussion, joining his local concert band at the age of 8, before transitioning to saxophone when he reached High School.

​With the aid of a Help Musicians scholarship, I moved to the Netherlands to pursue my studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, where I graduated in 2019. Prior to that, I also spent a year in Berlin in 2014 studying at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler”. Outside of music, I hold a masters degree in Philosophy from Durham University (UK).

What was your inspiration for your new CD, Homing?

It was inspired by and named after my temporary adoption of a Polish homing pigeon, as well as my own reflections on building a life abroad. Homing is my most personal and unapologetically bold musical statement yet. Unlike the homing pigeon, my feeling of home isn’t tied to a particular place any more, and the album is inspired by that process of building a new feeling of home.

Tell us about the second single from the Homing CD. What should we expect?

Whilst my first single and title track Homing, came out on April 12, it will no doubt stick to listener’s brains long past its final notes, inspired by the awkward walking style of the pigeon Sam looked after, the impactful and direct second single, ´Twinkle Twinkle` is a more serious homage to Thelonious Monk’s Trinkle Tinkle, Sam’s British humour truly shines through the undeniably catchy Barba Tenus Sapientes, the focus track around the album’s June 7 release.

Named after the Roman warning that just because somebody has a large beard, you cannot assume they are intelligent, observant listeners will appreciate Sam’s tongue-in-cheek approach to his upcoming offering. Celebrated for his uninhibited approach to writing both in his native UK and in The Netherlands where he lives, Sam brings along a celebrated group of musicians, each bandleaders in their own right, to present eleven original compositions packed with musical storytelling, now further embellished with vocals and clarinet.

When is the release date for this work?

The CD Homing is due out on June 7 along with the third single, `Barba Tenus Sapientes`.

Jazz On Air


presented by Steve Bewick

“Out On His Own” still stands as the most personal and completely assured recording that Louis Stewart made under his own name. On This week´s mixcloud programme you can catch a review from Gary Heywood-Everett of this re-released CD. Also in this weeks podcast is music from Tommy Dorsey with tales of, `When you and I were young.` Stacey Kent, Trish Kelly Clowes and John Lloyd Quartet’s `Earth song.` Not forgetting Tom Thorp & Illumetris and closing with Brad Mehldau‘s Trio in Montreal. If this look good then pass it on and tune in at 24/7

Live Music In Portsmouth at Chichester Cathedral


review in newsletter by David Green

Many of the pieces one knows best are those one had recordings of first and thus had fewer to play. For Christmas or a birthday in the mid -70’s, my parents gave me a cassette of Dvořák’s Greatest Hits and so some of his music is very familiar. It’s not so much Songs my mother taught me but songs my parents bought me. Lunchtime recitals are mainly of chamber music and so today’s programme, which was all Dvořák who is not best known for that, was a rarity. I’m not sure I can remember any previously but it was most welcome. 

One of those ‘greatest hits’ was the Slavonic Dance, op. 46 no. 8, which in today’s inventive arrangement by Chuchro retained all the orchestral brio and zest and another was those Songs, op. 55 no. 4, immediately providing the other half of the composer’s personality with its wide-open spaces and broad perspective. That was necessarily the highlight for me. Georgia Mann described a piece for cello by Dvořák as ‘sumptuous’ this morning and if it’s a good enough word for her to broadcast to the nation, it’s good enough for me to borrow here.

The centrepiece of the programme, though, was the Polonaise in A, more ambitious and demanding with the drama in Mina’s piano and Nicola’s cello going to both the violin and bass ends of its range.

Silent Woods returned to the lento, profound and atmospheric and showing off the lush cello tone to best effect. If it works like a poem and sounds like a poem, it’s probably a poem.

The Rondo, op.94, was a finale made of a folk dance with vestigial traces of Mozart in places, full of textures and emphases to propel it forwards. Dvořák comes across as almost as untroubled as Haydn was last week, at least on this evidence and I’m not aware of too much of a downside to him.

An entirely convincing performance and a few minutes in hand allowed for an encore, Dobrú noc, má mila (Good NightMy Darling) which was all serenity and clarity.

The New World Symphony surely counts as his greatest hit and I’d have the Song to the Moon from Rusalka but there were plenty more exhibits here with which to make his case in competition with his mate, Brahms, and he shouldn’t be far away from him in the rarefied strata of late C19th greats.

A Reader´s Perspective. All Points Forward


by Peter Pearson

Willis Alan Ramsey-Part One

Not many people outside the USA will have heard of the Americana singer songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey. (shown right circa 1974.)

Maybe you have heard the song Satin Sheets, made popular by The Bellamy Brothers in 1976, or Muskrat Love, made popular by The Captain and Tennille and by the band America. Both were composed by Willis Alan Ramsey and featured on his self-titled first and, to date, only album released in 1972 to wide spread critical acclaim on the Shelter label.

Most artists who only release one album tend to disappear from the performance side after a few years.

Disappear he did, but only for a short time, but then he came back, continued performing and to this day, 52 years later, is still doing so. His hardcore fan base and the music press keep asking him when he is going to issue a new album. His answer. “What’s wrong with the first one?”

Willis Alan Ramsey (born 5 March 1951) is a cult legend among fans of Americana and Texas country. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and raised in Dallas, Texas.

Looking back on his early years in music, Ramsey credits the city of Dallas for instilling a love of music and song writing in him. “I was born and raised in Birmingham for almost 10 years. My dad got a job in Dallas, and I was the only one in the family that wasn’t excited about moving to Texas. It was hard to make friends in fourth grade when I moved, and especially all the girls thought I was this little, ridiculous Southern kid.”

Listening to Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash on the on the radio encouraged him to play music. “I started playing music and then I noticed that I started to get some attention from the girls” he said. He learned to write a song at 13 or 14 years of age under tutelage from one of his bandmates, Bryce Beaird. who told him that in order to write a good song he had to write a few bad ones first.

He started by playing the Coffee House circuit in Texas along with Townes Van Zandt and Keith Sykes.

In late summer 1970 he was playing a coffee shop on the University of Texas campus when Leon Russell (left) and the Allman Brothers came to Austin for a concert on the baseball field. Ramsey approached Russell at his motel and said he’d written some songs he thought he should hear. Following an impromptu audition Russell invited him to California for a further audition, which resulted in him signing a record contract with Shelter Records, a newly formed record company Russell had set up with record producer Denny Cordell.

About that contract he says, “I was the luckiest kid alive.” Having recorded his first professional demo at Greg Allman’s studio in 1971 he didn’t like how it sounded and retreated to hone his performance skills and write some more material.

It was then that he approached Leon Russell and produced a second demo for Russell in his home built state of the art recording studio in Los Angeles. He told Russell that Greg Allman wanted to produce him and asked “What can you do for me?” Russell was impressed enough to respond: “I’m getting ready to go on my first international tour. If you sign with Shelter, I’ll let you live here in my house while I’m gone.”

“Before I leave, I’ll teach you how to run this recording studio. I’ll have the guy who built the console and studio come over and engineer for you. If you want to go to bigger or better studios, you can do that.”

Russell surrounded him with not only the cream of the crop recording professionals but also with the finest session musicians around. Because Ramsey was so nervous in the studio Russell even arranged for singer-songwriter JJ Cale to sit in the studio and simply give him moral support. JJ would take a nap by the studio console and wake up after each take to say keep on going kid you’re doing great.  The album, recorded when he was only 20, is a mix of country, folk and blues. His voice sounds a lot older than his youthful age and it’s the lyrics that take centre-stage. It was a trailblazer for the music later popularised by Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Rodney Crowell and now termed Americana.

In 1971 the term Redneck Rock was used to describe the Texas music of the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael Murphy and those artists frequenting the legendary Austin venue, Armadillo World Headquarters.

The music journalist Jan Reid wrote about that era in his book, The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock.

Ramsey only features briefly in the book, because the album had only just been released. His music was quite different from most of the others. The songs were more in keeping with Townes Van Zandt and The Armadillo was not his favoured venue. It was the Chequered Flag Club, a showcase for emerging songwriters owned by Kerrville Festival founder Rod Kennedy, that he favoured. There, and in other venues, he would insist on no talking during songs and no smoking, otherwise he would walk out.

The three years following release of the album were a blur. Sales reached a quarter million and nine out of the eleven songs on it covered by major artists.

Lyle Lovett (shown left with Ramsey) covered Northeast Texas Woman, one of my particular favourites. The albums opener, Ballad of Spider John, was covered by Jimmy Buffett on his third album, Living and Dying in 3/4 Time. Buffett said that his catchy phrases and rhyme schemes were different, a little more literary than most of the Texas stuff. The following track, Muskrat Candlelight, was covered by America and The Captain and Tennille under the title of Muskrat Love. Satin Sheets was covered by The Bellamy Brothers, who had a big pop country hit with it, and much later by Shawn Colvin. Jimmy Dale Gilmore covered Goodbye Old Missoula, on his acclaimed album from 2000, One Endless Night. Gilmore said the song was so alive with feeling, it had a universality to it. It sounded like it could have been an ancient folk song. And we can add to the list names like Jerry Jeff and Waylon Jennings.

The album would become a cult classic with Americana music aficionados for in excess of the next 50 years. What happened to him after release of the album is the stuff of legend and deserves a separate article, which I will cover in next week´s edition.

Island Insights


by Norman Warwick

Pete & Dave, owners of Canary Detect, also run EL Atico. On 15th June, they are running an event in Playa Blanca. I have included some details below about the event. If you are living on or visiting Lanzarote at this time and able to attend and support the great work done by El Atico, we would be very grateful.

El Atico de abuela is a legally registered non-profit association that was set up in 2022 by a committee of dedicated volunteers. It includes 2 charity shops located in Playa Blanca and an online shop. These outlets sell used clothes, furniture and household items.

As a legally registered and audited non-profit association, all our income and outgoings are scrutinised by the committee and external accountancy companies and this same information is publicly available.

In 2023, a total of 29.955,44€ was donated to families in need and charities all across Lanzarote and throughout different communities; but there are so many more people who need our help. As of January 2024, all the profit made via the shops or from any of the events we are organising will be put back into all communities throughout Lanzarote. With guidance from doctors and social services we are being made aware of specific families and individuals who are in need of support.

The Events Committee have organised a fabulous Gala Evening which promises to be one of fun, superb food and an opportunity to dress up in elegant style at the stunning Oasis Grill & Club in Marina Rubicon, Playa Blanca.

Tickets are priced at 55.55€ per person, plus booking fee and with 50% already sold, time is moving swiftly towards 15th June. 

Included in the price is not only cava and canapes upon arrival, but a 3-course meal, together with wine, beer and soft drinks throughout your meal, which is finished off with coffee then dancing until midnight to live music.

You don’t want to miss this memorable occasion, with proceeds going to families in need all across Lanzarote and throughout different communities.

Island Insights


by Norman Warwick

As part of the commemorative acts of the Canary Islands Day, the Town Hall of Yaiza invites you to the premiere of the play document ‘Loca Historia Maha’, written and directed by Salvador Leal.

It’s a performance for family enjoyment that teaches in an attractive way the history of the first settlers of Lanzarote. When and why did they get here? Where did they come from? If they didn’t know maritime navigation techniques, how did they get there? and the answer to so many other concerns that are sure to be of interest to audiences of all ages.

The work also becomes a dynamic stage workshop because the changes of props and other elements remain in view of the attendees.

We have seen this kind of mis en scene approach most recently in the musical biography of the islands´s revered artist, Cesar Manrique and reported then on how effective it was.

Wednesday 29th of May, at 18:00 hours, in the Uga Tent, with free entrance.

You can see a comprehensive review of Loca Historia Maha on this page next Sunday 2nd June, as well a review of another concert by Iya Zhmaeva and friends. We all bring some exciting news about a series of rave reviews we will be sharing with you over the rest of the year.

We set out tomorrow to forage along the sidetracks and detours for arts related news that we will open every morning – All you need to do is to open the day´s free blog to gain access to out easy to negotiate archives of around 1,200 free to read articles.

Please feel free to share the link with your like-minded, arts loving friends. You will find a brand new article each day you follow our link. Next week these stories will include a report on Elbow, starring as the opening act at a brand-new-build of a major arena very close the area where the band was formed. We´ll spend another day in the UK to see what´s happening at Royal Northern College of Music, which was always one of my favourite venues for live music when I lived over in England.  On Wednesday,  we´ll hang around Jazz Junction to feel the world revolve and music evolve,  and to speak to people who know where Jazziz at. Then, On Thursday we´ll be looking for details of a book-promotion tour being undertaken at present by writer, actress, film-maker and climate activist, Isobella Rossellini. We will be pushing forward for an interview if we can but we already have a great introductory piece for you and news of two of her books we will be bringing home on Friday that means we will be still building our bigger bookshelf in our office next weekend. Don´t worry, though, we´ll have another Sunday Supplement of PASS IT ON  for you on Sunday 2nd June. If this has been your first read of Sidetracks & Detours / PASS IT ON you might have already noticed that we try to include as much news as possible as well as previews, interviews, and reviews from major and local gigs from around the world.

We already have writers in the UK and contributions from Spain and The Canary Islands as well as from Israel, Germany, Tel Aviv, Vietnam, America, Canada and South Korea. So if you have an event that you would like to promote, preview or review why not report in a word document attachment to our office e-mail address at

We are a not for profit blog and so cannot pay for such items, but we will properly accredit and attribute anything you send. If you wish to add photographs please feel free to send a zip folder of jpeg images, and you never know we might bump into each other just around the corner somewhere soon. Until then, Happy Trails To You.

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