FRIDAY SONG: Laylam, CHICKENS IN THE GARDEN (James Allan Bland, 1878)

For me, this is a perfect little folk song. It has a happy little tune, an irresistibly singalong chorus, and tells a sweet story of love and generations. Best of all it conjures up that joyful sight – chickens in the garden. This will be a short blog, because the fascinating story of this song  …

‘Tricked once more…’. Happy birthday, Dr Dylan

Today’s the birthday of Bob Dylan. Here’s a piece I wrote in 2005 when Dylan was nominated (unsuccessfully – again) for the Nobel Prize: It was an odd kind of funeral. The deceased had lived a full and somewhat rackety life, and most of those who had come to bid farewell were, like him, brave …

A musical dynasty true to its art

Before long there will probably be a Rufus Wainwright song about his mother, the great – and now late – Kate McGarrigle. Rufus’s sister, Martha, might soon be working on a musical tribute, too. There could be something from Kate’s sister, Anna, with whom she sang down the years. A different perspective, more hard-eyed and …