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Another blast from the past!

Al Stewart

I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s show at York Barbican, in which all the musicians – including the chap not billed, who played harmonica, flute, saxophone and occasionally drums – gave sparkling performances.

Seeing Al Stewart on stage again, brought back memories of the only other occasions on which I’ve been fortunate enough to see him perform live. Both were way, way back when I was a student in Manchester and I’m no longer certain in which order they came.

Some members of the audience at the Barbican looked a little sceptical when Al related a story about being stranded penniless in New York City, gate crashing a party and spending the night with a girl who was keen to get rid of him in the morning – until she saw Paul Simon, his former London flatmate, and Art Garfunkel arriving in a posh car to pick him up from her apartment. I didn’t doubt him for a moment. On a rare (for me) visit to Les Cousins in Greek Street, Soho, Al was singing when Paul Simon made an unscheduled visit and joined him on the stage. Not only that, his (Paul’s) mother was with him and held his coat while he sang.

Al’s 1969 album Love Chronicles was the first mainstream record release ever to include the word ‘f****ing’. At a charity concert organised by a friend of mine in Manchester, he sang the entire 18-minute title track to the delight of the mainly student audience but the horror of the theatre manager. There was talk of his being banned from the city forever, which obviously didn’t happen. In fact, I believe that he’s there this very evening.

Maggie student card photo

Still a lover of vinyl, I cherish my much played copies of Love Chronicles and of Al’s first best selling album, Bedsitter Images. The above photo was taken not long before I acquired them. It’s been quite a while!

 

 

 

6 May, 2017 - Make the first comment on this story

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