No pubs, but it is my diary, and my weird music is keeping me going at the moment. So here’s half a dozen of my current favourite songs for your March mood. Guaranteed Dire Straits free.

Songs that make me ache, or weep, or shudder. Or, in this first case, all three;

1) Maria McKee – “Right Down to the Heart of Londonfrom La Vita Nuova


And the lights on the bridge
William Blake and the grid
And the whisper room that winds around Saint Paul’s
Sir John Soane, found me in his parlor all alone
Weeping at the beauty of it all

“The album of 2020, already. I’m never wrong you know.” I wrote in November after seeing Maria play the whole album in Hackney .

It’s an hour of barmy baroque sentimentality, and this love song to London is the best paean to the capital since Tracey Thorn’s Smoke.

2) Midlake – “Van Occupantherfrom The Trials of Van Occupanther

See the source image

“Let me not be too consumed with this world,

Sometimes I want to go home, and stay out of sight for a long time”

We know how you feel, Tim. Branches is almost as good.

3) Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker – “Silverlinefrom Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour

See the source image

“For each pound of joy
there’s an ounce of regret”

“and I’m trying to find
that silverline
that runs through the cloud
that collect in my sky”

That string descent at 2:44…

4) Julia JacklinMotherland from Don’t Let The Kids Win

“When will I
Ever see the land?
Will I ever see the land?
Oh water can’t revive me
I need dirt in my hand
Will I ever see the land?
Will I ever see the land?
Oh the ground will give me something
I know that it can”

My very favourite song, and it means a lot right now.

5) Julien Baker“Sprained Ankle” from Sprained Ankle

“Wish I could write songs about anything other than death”. Wow.

6) Fairport Convention – “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” from Unhalfbricking

At last, one you know.

“So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
I have no fear of time”

And for the cultured among you. Bruckner 8th Symphony. 3rd Movement (Wand)

I’ve heard all of those live except, of course, Sandy.

Hope that’s cheered you all up.

EDIT : Just heard this, 50 years after release. It’s wonderful.


      1. Many happy songs. Talking Bear Mt Picnic Massacre Blues, Highway 61 and 115th Dream. Many more. He’s actually funny and happy!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve good memories of “Desire” at the time. I seem to recall that it was a collaboration rather than all Zimm’s own work, but BOTT was a tough one to follow, yes.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Etu,
        Yes, I well remember “Desire” from when it came out in the mid 1970s, especially the “Sara” song ( maybe from unrequited love of a Sarah in Horsham ).


    1. You’re one up on me then, Raymondo. Sandy Denny/Fairport Convention’s classic, “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” is the only one of those tracks I know.

      Looks like I’ve got some serious listening to catch up on as well!


  1. Thank you very much for that Martin, you have certainly broken up the watching of episodes of The Thin Blue Line in a most special way. Particularly enjoyed Silverline, truly great. The Bruckner was absolutely superb. Another help in getting through a boring day.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Personally I read music magazines voraciously in my teens and twenties, went to a lot of gigs, bought CDs on recommendation of workmates, big annual music festival of new artists every autumn, have used Spotify which lets you hear whole albums for fixed cost and sends you in all sort of new directions.

        Folk complaining that music isn’t what it was these days really aren’t trying very hard.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dave, unfortunately I am unable to go out on the pull due to advice to socially distance ourselves from the First Lord of the Treasury. I hope that answers your somewhat confusing query.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Martin,
    I don’t think I know any of those six which must prove there’s as much music and musicians as there is beers and breweries.
    I look forward to listening to them when I can get my speaker gadget working again.

    For what it’s worth six pieces of music I like are
    1690s – Johann Pachelbel – Canon in D
    1787 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
    1962 – The Tornadoes ( Joe Meek ) – Telstar
    1973 – Albert Hammond – Free Electric Band
    1992 – Julie Felix – Woman
    2013 – Pet Shop Boys – Life is a Bourgeois Construct.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never seen any of those six live, Paul 😉

      Will create a playlist of those six and we can play them in a Sam Smiths pub when we next meet.

      Some early Pet Shop Boys definitely has a melancholy quality.


      1. Martin,
        As you’re younger than me I knew for certain that you hadn’t seen either of the first two live.
        I included the last one to prove wrong Mrs TSM who keeps saying that I’m always living in the past.
        The other thing she keeps saying is that I’ve got no sense of self preservation but I’m still about after nearly 65 years.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Martin,
        That reminds me of someone who was at school with Mick Jagger.
        He said that he’d never draw an old age pension and then died within a day of his 65th birthday.


  3. Give James Grant and The Hallelujah Strings a go, I saw him on BBC Scotland’s The Quay Sessions, and was mightily impressed.
    Enjoying the blog, even without the pubs, keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Observation here and not a judgment. I’ve found that there is one characteristic of the contemporary singers that makes them less accessible for me. On tracks 1-5 the singers have a dirge like sense of ennui that I can find unapproachable. This statement is not to say I didn’t like them. Just that they don’t reach out and grab me immediately. I think you can hear the contrast between the Fairport Convention song and tracks 1-5. I don’t hear Sandy Denny holding back like I hear the others doing… Am I alone in hearing this contrast? Again it is not a value statement….


    1. Sandy has the great voice, but for me the tension and aching is present in all those tracks. Of those five newer ones it’s been “Silverline” that’s really captured people when I’ve put it in blogs before, but it’s the lyricism of all of them that gets me in the stomach.


  5. Here’s a vision for you, RM. Middle-aged bloke standing in kitchen, paused mid-washing up, open-mouthed in astonishment and admiration at Maria McKee’s “Right Down to the Heart of London”. Will be playing the rest of the album later, in the hope that it’s all that good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well done, Bill.

      On the washing up.

      Those lines that end “Sir John Soane, found me in his parlour all alone, weeping at the beauty of it all” floor me at the moment.

      Try tracks 9, 11 and 12. 👍


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