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Jim Moray at the Spitz 20 September

We thought the Spitz was just ace for Show of Hands the other night -- at the end of the gig they said, approximately, "you know, when we started, we played in a load of little pubs and upstairs rooms, and then we graduated to seated venues, because, well, they're better, aren't they... and tonight, we're wondering if we made a Big Mistake there." That show was all standing, squashed in like rush hour, sweat running off walls etc.

This one is likely to be quieter -- flick and I saw JM at Madame JoJo's a couple of months ago and there were probably fewer than 100 people there. I am told that the Spitz sets up cabaret style when they don't sell that many tickets. Still, no promise of a seat at this one.

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It's really a shame it wasn't when I'm there next week!

I saw JM at Madame JoJo's a couple of months ago and there were probably fewer than 100 people there

That does not sound good. I'm aware that he's annoyed lots of folk purists with his modernist (even post-modernist) take on traditional songs, but is his career fading already?

(Yes, I have bought -- and played -- his latest album. If I was coming to him fresh without knowing his roots in the, er, "tradition", I'd never have picked him for a folkie at all.)

Apart from the fact that the new album contains at least half traditional songs.

It's complicated. He went touring with a rock band (we saw him at the ICA and at Cambridge) and it was just all round terrible; he was bad, the other band members weren't all that good either. He can't recreate his studio sound effectively live without having a Powerbook on stage, and was advised not to do that because it's 'too geeky'. The Madame JoJo's gig was the album launch, but he didn't play most of the album.

I think the notion that he "annoys folk purists" is completely specious, rubbish journalism. I am not sure these 'folk purists' exist. There are lots of folk artists doing all sorts of things with the tradition and taking the music in loads of different directions; the variety is one of the particular strengths of folk music compared to other forms of modern popular music. We've been to seven different festivals this summer and they've all had people who are reinterpreting the tradition as well as people who are singing very traditionally.

What is certainly true is that he annoyed the 'folk purists' by ripping off Chris Wood's reworking of Lord Bateman line for line without attribution. But I think that was probably a lack of care and attention rather than deliberate malice, and it wouldn't stop people from going to the concerts.

And lots of the new folk artists have large and enthusiastic followings. JM is having trouble finding his voice though. The first EP was superb (you can hear Poverty Knock on his website), the first album was still pretty good, the second album is obviously not as good but there's still lots to like there.

we're seeing Show of Hands at the Village Pump in Trowbridge on Saturday - just 100 tickets on sale. Looking forward to it enormously.

I'm Not Keen At All on Jim Moray ...

and it was utterly fab - best gig I've seen them play. 90 minutes of pure joy.

They were brilliant at the Spitz too, just amazing.

20th September, you say...? Planning on going?

We're going, yes. I sort of assumed you'd be busy...

I should add that he's not touring with a rock band this time! Instead he's got Jamie Delarre of Mawkin on fiddle and the melodeon player who played with James Raynaud. So I have high hopes for this concert in fact.

I don't think so, actually: it's in our gap between the wedding and the honeymoon....

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