When I decided to post mixes on this blog, I intended to only post brand new ones, and not any that I'd made before. But then, as we are learning, on this blog, everything is permissible.
There's a reason I'm changing my mind. Maybe this will be an exception. The circumstances which lead to it are pretty unusual and include one event in particular I hope never to experience the like of again.
Here's the link to the file. It's about 97Mb, but should stream and download just fine. Nobody reported problems with the last one.
So why the change of heart? Why share with you a mix I made over a year ago, against my previous judgement of keeping things fresh?
Well, last night I was out, at Max, my brother-out-law's fortieth birthday party, at the Miners Arms, St Werburghs, Bristol. He and I have become pretty good friends over the years, we share a deep love for my sister, and various children, including their two and my daughter. Seems Max's thirties have been rather dominated by child rearing; their eldest turned 10 in September. I didn't really know him much before the kids turned up, but I imagine his twenties to be somewhat different to the last 10 years.
There were many folk at this party who I have known, some more than others, on and off, for over a decade, and they hail, on the whole, from the Bristol Free Party scene, and the Easton Temporary Autonomous Zone, where I lived for a few years. I've spent a good number of nights-turning-into-days dancing around fires, at festivals, in front of sound systems, in warehouses, abandoned buildings, pubs and a number of random venues with them.
There was one person, very dear to me, who was missing. He would've been more than welcome, and most of the people there were his friends, and held him in very high regard. But sadly, Joseph Jordan (Joe), my friend and brother in arms, chose to take his own life at the start of summer a couple of years ago. I don't think we'll ever really know why. Many aspects of his life appeared to be improving for him, after a very difficult few years. Of course he had things going on in his life, like most of us, that he would've changed if he could. But regrettably it seems that a dark cloud came over him that night, from which he could see no escape.
I still miss him greatly, and still find it hard to forgive him for leaving us all the way he did. It's events like the one last night, at which he would entertain, share the joy and love, and drown the sorrows that I miss him most. He was part of this gang, and although I spent time last night with many excellent folk who I feel privileged to count among my friends, he was special to me, and I'm sorry to everyone else who was there, but it was less of a party for me without him, though we raised our glasses several times and toasted his memory.
Our daughters were good friends and much the same age, I wish they remained closer then they are now, but they only get to see each other now comparatively rarely.
The last time I saw Joe we camped out, built a fire by a river here in Dartmoor, played guitar, tried to sing without embarrassment, told bad jokes, and talked about watching the girls grow up, and how much trouble they were going to cause us as teenagers. That last part at least won't change, it's just trouble I can't share with Joe now, which I hope to always regret.
Some of his artwork hangs in our home; he was greatly talented and drew fey creatures, dragons, and fantastical landscapes, almost as if he was showing us the world he wanted to live in. It's sad that great artistic talent is often accompanied by melancholy, but I suppose that's the way the muse sometimes likes to speak.
This was a mix that I thought I made for him, posthumously, but of course I actually made it for me, and there are several parts of it which bring tears to my eyes. This weeping is part mourning, part reminiscing, and part celebration of the fabulous being that he was. The music touches on themes of love - shared, lost, and unrequited, and is very different, as promised, to the last one I posted. It's probably no coincidence that some of the artists included also lost their lives in unhappy circumstances, and were troubled along their own paths, Nick Drake and Elliot Smith in particular spring to mind. Many of the musicians on this mix are among my favourites, you probably wouldn't regret exploring their works further if you appreciate what you hear. The Drag City label gets quite an outing here too.
I'm sharing it in the hope that you it touches you in a way that reminds you of absent friends who you miss, and encourages you to keep the bond with those you love close, as we never know what the fates have lined up for us.
Before I give you the track-listing, I'd like to quote from one of Joe's favourite songs (real audio link) which I can still hear him singing in the echoes of my mind. It's written by a very talented and versatile musician, Neil Innes, and is probably very familiar to those of you of a certain age, though perhaps not with the pathos I attach to it within the context of this posting.
It's not much of a life when you're just a pretty face
Just to be whoever you are is no disgrace
Don't be scared if you don't fit in
Look who's in the reject bin!
It's the Raggy Dolls, Raggy Dolls
Dolls like you and me.
Raggy Dolls, Raggy Dolls,
|00:00||Archer Prewitt||Way of the Sun||Gerroa Songs|
|04:45||Laura Veirs||Ether Sings||Carbon Glacier|
|08:25||Elliot Smith||Roman Candle||Roman Candle|
|17:39||Smog||Rock Bottom Riser||A River Ain't Too Much to Love|
|23:04||Bonnie 'Prince' Billy||Ain't you Wealthy||Master and Everyone|
|27:04||M Ward||Were you there?||Duet for Guitars #2|
|29:37||The Tami Show||I Can't give you anything but love||Grind My Nails|
|31:58||Gary Higgins||It didn't take too long||Red Hash|
|35:44||Devendra Benhart||Rejoicing in the Hands||Rejoicing In the Hands|
|37:20||Judee Sill||Crayon Angels||Judee Sill|
|40:00||Low and Spring Heel Jack||Hands So Small||Bombscare EP|
|43:50||Cat Power||I Found a Reason||The Covers Record|
|45:22||Vic Chesnutt||In My Way Yes||Silver Lake|
|50:30||Giant Sand||Bottom Line Man||Chore of Enchantment|
|55:05||Lambchop||Caterpillar||Is a Woman|
|61:17||Edith Frost||Tender Kiss||Telescopic|
|64:45||Nick Drake||Northen Sky||Bryter Later|