Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Cricket lovely cricket

Here we are in the middle of the Twenty20 World Cup with typically cold, damp June weather and already Australia are out. Hooray! They will probably keep the Ashes later in the summer but at least we can snigger for the moment. Twenty20 may only be fun cricket, rather than the real thing, but it gets the public interested so it can't be a bad thing. I would like England to win, but if that's not possible I would like to see the West Indies triumph.
There was a fascinating BBC2 programme the other night (Empire of Cricket) which traced the rise - and fall - of West Indies cricket over the years, focusing on many of the greats, including Frank Worrell, Gary Sobers, Clive Lloyd and Brian Lara (pictured). When I went to Trinidad in 1996 Lara was very much the local hero, with a boulevard named after him in Port of Spain, but since then the game there has declined. I love the calypso cricket approach of the Windies and would love to see them rise again. But if it's going to happen it's likely to be in the short form of the game: I'm not convinced that West Indians - and Chris Gayle in particular - have the patience for test matches these days.

On the subject of the Caribbean, BBC4 broadcast a fascinating programme the other night marking 50 years of Island records, with contributions from Chris Blackwell and many of the artists he recorded over the years. Naturally the pinnacle of Island for me was the ska material in the early to mid sixties and I treasure any of those early 45s that I can find. When the label went pink and began to focus on British folk rock I rather lost interest, but no one can deny the incredible impact that the label had, with the likes of Traffic, Fairport Convention and, later on, Grace Jones and U2. An amazing success story and a UK equivalent in its way of Stax.


At 3:27 am , Blogger Private Beach said...

Each to his own taste - it's the British folk-rock (much of it produced by Joe Boyd) that I loved Island for.

At 8:14 am , Blogger Dave C said...

Yes, a fascinating programme. The Joe Boyd connection was covered in his book ‘White Bicycles (Making Music In The 1960s)’, which I found an engrossing read. The book also included more on Island recording artist and cult figue Nick Drake, who I had never heard about until reading an article in ZigZag magazine in the 70s. It’s not unusual for an artist to become more successful and famous posthumously but the multiplying factor in Nick Drake’s case can surely have been exceeded by only a few. Some might say a phenomenon out of all proportion. However his music has a timeless quality and he has been cited as an influence over the years by a number of artists in both folk and rock music. In addition jazz pianist Brad Mehldau (another of my ‘faves’) has recorded two of his songs, ‘River Man’ in 1997 and ‘Day Is Done’ in 2005.

At 3:18 am , Blogger Private Beach said...

Judee Sill is another artist who's become more popular in death than she ever was in life (so, in terms of record sales, is Elvis, but his fame was hardly posthumous!)

What is really gratifying, though, is when an artist who's put out good work with little recognition for years finally starts to get some success while they're still alive to enjoy it - Bettye Lavette being a prime example.


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