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BogusTrumper
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Members' Atkin Top Ten (revisited)
« : 16.11.06 at 22:31 »

Sounds like a great idea to me, as long as someone else does all the work. Grin
 
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Ian Chippett
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Re: North Face of Soho - A Disproportionate Response
« Reply #1: 17.11.06 at 10:32 »

Steve wrote:
 
<<A repeat of Ian Chippett's poll could also be interesting... >>
 
Not a bad idea: I'd do the accountancy if nobody else wants to. What will the rules be?
 
Ian C
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Secret Drinker
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Paul Gunningham, MoM

   

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Re: North Face of Soho - A Disproportionate Response
« Reply #2: 17.11.06 at 12:02 »

on 16.11.06 at 18:35, S J Birkill wrote:

PS: I should have reminded MVs of this, which is surely relevant, however much its connections may have been influenced by our members or by others.

 
I don't think I'd seen that before (even with my lousy memory I think I would have remembered seeing it)  Huh
 
I was interested to see Al Stewart appearing so close to Pete Atkin in the chart. Going back to what others have been saying above, regarding the attempted conversion of 'Atkin virgins' to the cause, I long ago decided that the "Here, listen to this, you'll like it" approach doesn't work  Sad
 
The approach I devised is to put what I considered to be some of Pete's more 'accessible' songs onto a compilation tape or CD, and just play it in the background when you have visitors, and just wait to see if anything happens. Sometimes nothing does, but occasionally people sit up and take notice. I think I reported (possibly in the old MV) that on one occasion we had people round and I was playing a PA compilation in the background while we chatted. At one point, one of our guests said (something like), "Hey, this is good - is it Al Stewart?"  Roll Eyes
 
Maybe there is more similarity between these two artists than I had appreciated - the  obvious connection is the English accent of both men (I don't know whether Al still sings in proper English or not, as I gather he is based in California these days (?) - I missed his recent British dates); and the fact that both sang interesting and meaningful lyrics with a (mainly) 'acoustic' accompaniment. But maybe Al is as close as we're gonna get to Pete, if we're looking for someone better known to compare him to (not that most of us are, I guess).
 
The closeness to Pete in the chart of Jake Thackray is a little more surprising. If anything, Jake is (IMO) more distinctively out on his own than Pete (or anyone else for that matter). But maybe it's the "English troubadour" thing again.
 
Sandy Denny is an interesting one. I can't say I've ever thought there was a lot of similarity between her and Pete, although I like her and have some of her albums (before, during and after Fairport), but then I like all sorts of other artists not shown on the map, so why she should be so close to Pete on the chart I don't know.
 
Any road up - going back to the original 'disproportionate response' from Pete, I was going to say something in response but I couldn't really add anything much to what Richard and others have put so well - thanks especially to you, Richard for being the first to respond and saying it so well. I admit I was struggling to find the right words (nothing new there then!) when Richard's response appeared - I tore up my feeble efforts on the spot! Thanks to Pete for sharing the response with us in the first place - Pete, you may not have all that many fans, but the ones you've got are bloody good 'uns  Grin
 
Don't lose sight of the fact that there have been - and are still - a lot of thoroughly deserving artists who have and probably will always have just a small fan base - Pete's not alone in that respect.
 
Apologies for rambling on!  Roll Eyes
 
Cheers
 
Paul
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Mike Walters
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Re: North Face of Soho - A Disproportionate Response
« Reply #3: 17.11.06 at 13:42 »

I was more intrigued by the presence of M People and Roxette on the map...?
 
Having just finished reading 'North Face of Soho' (thoroughly recommended both for its coverage of the period and, of course, for the quality of the writing), I found Pete's response fascinating...typically well-articulated and perhaps more convincing than Clive's mea culpa.  And it's refreshing, after the spate of recent political autobiographies, to hear people taking responsibility on themselves and attibuting credit to others!  
 
I can't add anything of substance to Richard's excellent piece which, as everyone's said, precisely captures what attracts most of us to the songs.  One question, though - I wonder, in retrospect, how much success we could reasonably have expected Pete to have achieved in any case?  Slightly more than he did, no doubt.  But it's difficult to think of many 1960s/70s 'singer-songwriters' (using the term only in its most neutral sense  to describe solo artists who wrote and performed their own material) who really achieved mainstream success.  Dylan, Joni Mitchell.  One or two who had commercial breakthrough hits like Don McLean or Cat Stevens - but who were working in a much more mainstream style.  The aforementioned Al Stewart, maybe - though his commercial star faded rapidly after 'Year of the Cat'.  Elton John, of course, but I can't really see Pete in diamante and feathers.  Other than Dylan and Mitchell, I'm struggling to think of anyone who sustained any commercial success without resorting to essentially mainstream pop material.  The more esoteric songwriters I was listening to in the 70s alongside Pete - Roy Harper, the late Kevin Coyne, Robert Wyatt, Richard Thompson, Peter Hammill (not that any of these is comparable to Pete...they were just the mixed bag that appealed to my rather peculiar adolescent taste) - have never broken out of the cult status box, even if the size of their respective cults is sometimes rather bigger than Pete's.  The same's largely true of similar US artists such as Loudon Wainwright and even Randy Newman - whose commercial success rests largely on his soundtracks and 'to order' songwriting rather than on the albums that most of us here would value more.  And some possibly comparable artists - David Ackles, Dory Previn, Judee Sill - remain largely forgotten except to similar small groups of enthusiasts.  Looking back, it's probably not really surprising that songs as sophisticated as Pete's, which didn't even neatly fit the acoustic singer-songwriter pigeonhole of the time, didn't achieve mainstream success.  Interestingly, I think some of Pete's new material, with its jazzy, piano-based feel, is more 'mainstream' now than his 1970s recordings were then - in that, for example, it's not difficult to imagine them finding a comfortable slot on Radio 2.  
 
Speaking of Radio 2, and as a complete aside, I was amused to read in 'North Face of Soho' that Dai Davies became Russell Davies because Equity already had a Dai Davies...having read last week that Russell T 'Dr Who' Davies added a fictitious 'T' to distinguish himself from Dai/Russell.  Complicated, this show-biz stuff, isn't it?
 
Mike
 
PS I've got no excuse for this and it's a complete abuse of my position as moderator, but I hope Steve will forgive me in the spirit of mild Jamesian self-promotion...but one or two people here might be interested in the fact that last Saturday's Guardian carried, alongside a review of 'Soho', also a review of a first crime novel, 'The Shadow Walker', by one Michael Walters, whoever he might be.  I promise I won't mention it again.
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BogusTrumper
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Re: North Face of Soho - A Disproportionate Response
« Reply #4: 17.11.06 at 14:57 »

on 17.11.06 at 13:42, Mike Walters wrote:
PS I've got no excuse for this and it's a complete abuse of my position as moderator, but I hope Steve will forgive me in the spirit of mild Jamesian self-promotion...but one or two people here might be interested in the fact that last Saturday's Guardian carried, alongside a review of 'Soho', also a review of a first crime novel, 'The Shadow Walker', by one Michael Walters, whoever he might be. I promise I won't mention it again.
 Start a new thread with Chapter 1 in it for us all to read   Grin
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Richard Bleksley
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Re: North Face of Soho - A Disproportionate Response
« Reply #5: 17.11.06 at 15:20 »

on 17.11.06 at 13:42, Mike Walters wrote:
PS I've got no excuse for this and it's a complete abuse of my position as moderator

 
No excuse? If you've had a novel published, I think you've got every excuse to brag a bit. Congratulations!
 
Oh, and thanks to everyone who's said such nice things about my post higher up this thread. It's not as good as having a novel published, but it's to know I managed to capture the thoughts of so many people.
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BogusTrumper
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You alone will be my last adventure

   

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Re: North Face of Soho - A Disproportionate Response
« Reply #6: 17.11.06 at 15:28 »

on 17.11.06 at 10:32, Ian Chippett wrote:
Steve wrote:
 
<<A repeat of Ian Chippett's poll could also be interesting... >>
 
Not a bad idea: I'd do the accountancy if nobody else wants to. What will the rules be?
 
Ian C
Should we have a thread on this?
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S J Birkill
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Re: Members' Atkin Top Ten (revisited)
« Reply #7: 17.11.06 at 15:54 »

As suggested by Bogus, I've moved the last few replies here to a new thread under 'Music'. Due to the way the Forum handles the swap, the relocated messages will bear the old title ('Re: North Face'), but subsequent replies will carry this new thread's title. So don't be confused!
 
Steve
 
Here is the background to the new thread. Some of the above posts refer also to the mapping of 'related' and 'similar' artists. I suggest that anyone wishing to take this separate but fertile discussion further should start another new thread with the next message referring to such mappings or relationships.
 
Later: This has now been done:
 
Stay here for Top Ten Atkin songs (Ian Chippett will post instructions for voting);
 
Go there for David Morgan's non-Atkin musicians poll.
« Last Edit: 17.11.06 at 16:45 by S J Birkill » IP logged
BogusTrumper
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Re: Members' Atkin Top Ten (revisited)
« Reply #8: 17.11.06 at 15:57 »

Me confused?  Always.
 
But thanks for the thread   Cheesy
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BogusTrumper
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Re: Members' Atkin Top Ten (revisited)
« Reply #9: 17.11.06 at 20:25 »

I have another problem.  I was bereft of Pete's music for many years (No record player and no CDs yet) and during that time I used to frequently feast on the words of the songs.  This had let me to a position where the words of certain songs are amongst my favorites, but the actual performance might be lower down the list.  The words are so important in this work - it is almost as if I have two lists, the performance one and the words one.  And they are different.
 
That does not sound as if it is well explained, I hope someone understands what I mean!!
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Pete Atkin
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Dai & David & David & Dai
« Reply #10: 19.11.06 at 10:50 »

There's a semi-interesting postscript to the Dai/Russell Davies/Equity story:
 
It's true that when Dai applied to join Equity (at the same time as the rest of us - the Hampstead Theatre Club post-Footlights show that Clive writes about in NFOS), he was told he could not be known as Dai Davies because there was already an Equity actor called David Davies, and Dai and David are of course the same name.   Not long after that, the young then-amateur star of 'Kes', David Bradley, applied to join Equity.  Unfortunately, there was already (still is) an Equity actor called David Bradley.  Equity's solution was that the new applicant should be called Dai Bradley, since Dai and David are of course different names.
 
Pete
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S J Birkill
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Re: Members' Atkin Top Ten (revisited)
« Reply #11: 29.11.06 at 21:51 »

Voting in both the new "Atkin songs" and "Favourite musicians" polls, organised by Ian Chippett and David Morgan, has now commenced in a new thread, and all publicly declared votes and discussion of the polls should go there. Accordingly this thread is now closed.  
 
Please support these initiatives, which should stimulate discussion on the Forum and perhaps help us promote Pete's music to a wider audience. Go HERE right now, for polling instructions and to cast your votes.
 
Steve
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