Battersea Park. July 29th. 1985
A gig to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Can you imagine that happening now?! Another day of music. Free in a London Park!
Wandered off to see Jimmy Page playing on a small stage with Roy Harper. THE Jimmy Page. THE Roy Harper. Roy had sung “Have a Cigar” for Pink Floyd. Led Zeppelin wrote “Hats Off To Roy” about him. The songs were OK but I didn’t quite get it. Usual feeling of “big brother music”. Now, though, I think albums like “Stormcock” are amazing. Sigh, youth. Roy looked a bit untogether on stage. I’d seen them recently interviewed on the Old Grey Whistle Test, halfway up a mountain in Wales. Roy was a bit shot in those days and they came over as very defensive. Was he mad? I’ve got video of Roy playing Stonehenge Festival that same year, which says a lot about him. No rock star he, living in a rock star pad.
John Sebastian. He was at Woodstock and his whole act and performance was the same, pretty much. He’s ripped to the tits in Woodstock but if you see footage from other festivals of the time he acts the same way. All tie-die and goofy. “ Do You Believe in Magic?” and “Daydream”. I didn’t mind but it seemed, well, a bit sad. What do you do after something like Woodstock? Still, you didn’t see Woodstock legends every day of the week and at least we knew the words!
Christy Moore was amazing. He was the Guv’nor of folk in the 80s. Big powerful voice, beautiful guitar playing. He did one song about all the young Irish men who’ve come to London over the decades for gold and end up drinking on the streets of Camden and can’t go home to Ireland. Lost souls. I saw the London Irish in a different light after that song. Proper folk music.
Paul Butterfield Blues band were sixties Rock Legends. Like an American John Mayall’s Blues Breakers. The hub of serious white blues. His guitar was dirty and loud. It had a presence that the British pub rock I’d heard didn’t have. Maybe it was Civil Rights or the Draft and Vietnam or the assassinations of King and the Kennedys, but American Sixties guitar was an altogether angrier beast. The Stooges and MC5 couldn’t have come from Chipping Sodbury.
Alan Price did the one about Simon’s amazing, dancing bear. He was in the Animals and gets all the royalties from their biggest hit, “House of The Rising Sun”, much to his bandmates’ chagrin.
A nice day out. Once the GLC was scrapped these gigs stopped.