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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Auto Da Fé November 11, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to..., Uncategorized.

Well now, last weekend IEL had a list of songs for November and great to hear them. But one in particular stood out to me, that from Auto Da Fé, the 1980s vehicle for former Steeleye Span singer Gay Woods and Trevor Knight.

I’ve mixed views on ADF, on the one hand I admire the way Woods was willing to throw herself into a group that she describes as a progressive band for the 1980s. With Knight and initially what is described as ‘three Dutch musicians’ on the wiki page (though in fairness they are named: Theo Wanders, Carel van Rijn and Wout Penning) there was a considerable shift from previous outfits Woods had been in (check out the occasionally Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac sounding Tender Hooks from Gay and Terry Woods for a point of comparison as well as Steeleye Span). There was a new wave pulse to the group and Woods herself could not look any more new wave, some interesting percussion, a touch of Numanesque keyboards here and there, intriguing arrangements. On the other hand there was an occasional clunkiness to the sound and a tendency to hare off towards pop territory at a rapid rate of knots. I like November November enormously, and Man of Mine and Bad Experience are pretty good too – and lyrically the subject matter in at least some instances seems to be intensely personal, and yet watching Man of Mine I’ve a sneaking feeling that it wouldn’t have taken all that much for them to morph into Berlin or similar, should the mood have taken them.

Their only album Tatitum is not available online or off as far as I can see (though no doubt is on Spotify), but for those who like the singles – that would be me, there’s 1984’s compilation 5 Singles and 1 Smoked Cod which brings together a raft of singles all of which somehow wormed their way into my memory through a lot of play on RTÉ radio in the early to mid-80s. You’ll hear both Midge Ure and Phil Lynott’s contributions (and see the Lynott in the case of the Man of Mine video!), the latter was producer of their early material. Ure who of course famously worked with Lynott provided guitar. It’s odd and yet interesting to think that there’s a direct crossover with Visage and of course Ultravox and Lizzy.

Indeed on a slight tangent I wonder how many former rock fans were persuaded to be just fractionally open to electronic and pop music in the 1980s by Lynott’s remarkably all-embracing engagement with same? But then again perhaps the same question can be put to those who were fans of Steeleye Span given Woods willingness to cross genres.

November, November

Man of Mine

All is Yellow, Hot Hot Hot

Bad Experience


1. sonofstan - November 11, 2017

The Woodses were only in Steeleye Span for the first LP, Hark! the Village Wait and never played live I think. Early SS were so far from the horrible vehicle they became, the sort of English Heritage Knees Up Mother Brexit act they are now. The first few records were great, but the highpoint is Please to See the King, the only instance I know where Martin Carthy played electric guitar. To my ears, it’s like a folkie VU vibe, what with the droney fiddle and dulcimer, Carthy’s weird tunings and Maddy Prior’s unearthly vocals.

Best though is the version of Prince Charlie Stuart. The mingling of politics and desire that seemed to inform the Jacobite cause is truly weird.

Liked by 1 person

2. nlgbbbblth - November 11, 2017

The 45s – taken in doses like sugar in coffee – worked well as snapshots of the direction ADF were taking. They hang together well on 5 Singles and 1 Smoked Cod. I found the album somewhat badly produced and like so many Irish acts of the era, there’s practically nothing on CD. I put together a three part Irish Rock mix at the end of the summer – may be of interest. Mixcloud links are on this static page – https://apopfansdream.wordpress.com/mixes/the-last-bus-home/


WorldbyStorm - November 11, 2017

Cheers, much appreciated. I like the way you put that re the sugar in coffee and the singles. Though just on production I thought the singles a bit muddy too.


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