Sunday, September 28, 2008

Connecting

I was watching again the DVD of Planxty's reunion in 2004, and it struck me again how curious it is that Christy Moore is such a wonderful performer when playing live but his albums are usually so flat. He has never really produced a great album, despite them containing the songs which make his live act so electrifying. The only album which comes close is the very early Prosperous album, but although it's credited as a Christy solo album it's really the first appearance of Planxty. His proper solo albums just don't work.

It's got to be the audience that makes the difference. At easter, I saw Christy's brother, Luka Bloom at the Gosport Folk Festival. He did the main concert on, I think, the Sunday evening, and it was okay but it didn't really grab me. The next day, however, he did another set upstairs in the Lysses House Hotel in a small function room where he just stood at the front, not on any stage, almost like he was part of the audience. It was stunning. Where, the night before, it had all seemed a bit remote, here he was warm and friendly and the songs seemed, somehow, more engaging. It was a tremendous set and he seemed to be enjoying it as much as we did. He just kept playing and in the end they had to stop him because they had to prepare the room for the Weight Watchers class later on...

Also that afternoon we saw a stonking set from Spiers and Boden, Bella Hardy singing beautifully (after being very nervous in the main concert the night before) and Lau giving it laldy. Clearly, all of them found this small, intimate venue stimulating, too.

It must be a wonderful thing for musicians, this connecting. Writers can't do it. I suppose you could argue that giving readings come close to achieving it, but I'm not much into that and, anyway, it feels different. The act of creation for musicians is playing the music. The act of creation for writers is the writing, not the reading. And, for people like Christy Moore, I am sure that without the audience there would be no point in doing what they do. It brings them alive.

Here is Planxty from the 70s:

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