Sunday, February 01, 2009

Whippersnapper: The Hard Times of Old England

This week's video, chosen with the credit crunch in mind, was recorded on 18 June 2008. It is an appeal for English jobs for English workers.

We last saw Dave Swarbrick on this blog as the fiddler and singer with Fairport Convention on Sir Patrick Spens. I also saw him play live with Band of Hope in Leicester some time in the 1990s.

In this video he is playing and singing with the legendary 1980s folk group Whippersnapper, which has recently reformed.

As Swarbrick's obituary, published in the Daily Telegraph on 20 April 1999 said:

Dave Swarbrick, the violinist and singer ... was one of the most influential folk musicians of the 1970s and 1980s, especially with the group Fairport Convention. A small, dynamic, charismatic figure, "Swarb"—cigarette perched precariously on his bottom lip, unruly hair flapping over his face, pint of beer ever at hand—could electrify an audience with a single frenzied sweep of his bow. He never failed to produce a dramatic effect, whether on fiddle or mandolin, whether playing in tiny folk clubs or at huge open air festivals

If you are puzzled by the dates, the explanation is that Swarbrick is one of those rare people who has been able to read his own obituaries. He had been ill with emphysema for many years, and latterly confined to a wheelchair, and the Telegraph jumped the gun by announcing his death.

Happily, he has since received a double lung transplant and, judging by his website, is much fitter and performing regularly.

No comments: