Saturday Single No. 387

When I discovered music blogs in June 2006, I was overwhelmed. The sharing of music at blogs and boards was, perhaps, at its height, and I was startled and amazed at the wide variety of music available. (I’ve noted before that I’m able to date my discovery of music blogs because that was the week that Billy Preston passed on, and many of the blogs I visited that week published tributes to Preston.)

Lots of the music being shared, of course, was current and/or recent, and I didn’t spend much time digging into that; I soon developed a list of blogs that were sharing mid- to late 1960s stuff I’d never heard, and it turned out that a lot of that music was British folk. Some of what I found was, to be honest, music I’d want to hear in small doses. Take, as an example, the Incredible String Band: The group’s music is, all at the same time, spare, inspired, intriguing and a little bit demented.

Whether best listened to in large swaths or smaller doses, a lot of Brit folk (and a good deal of American folk and Danish folk from the same era) came my way, and it pops up occasionally on the RealPlayer when I’m wandering at random around my musical universe. I was doing so on a small scale this morning, letting the player jump around in the seventy-five mp3s that are tagged “Saturday,” and a minor oddity showed up: “Saturday Gigue” by the Roundtable.

The Roundtable was a group of British folk musicians who, from what I can tell, recorded one album of current pop songs in a baroque style. The blogger(s) at ProgNotFrog, where I no doubt found the album in 2007, were highly impressed with the 1969 album Spinning Wheel, and offered a brief review. The commentary, which I’ve edited for style, was pulled from another source (obviously a British one), but I can’t decipher the citation except for the date of February 11, 1970:

“If you like a combination of jazz, folk, baroque, gospel and blues – kind of medieval music with pop influences – injected into eight well-known numbers and performed by a group of superb musicians playing such ancient instruments as shawms, crumhorns and regals, then you MUST buy this album. The stars are David Munrow (also on descant recorder) and Chris Hogwood (harpsichord), two highly-respected interpreters of medieval sounds, but the effect achieved when they mix with three flugelhorns, two woodwinds, piano, organ and a driving rhythm section powered by two drummers is quite amazing. You will hardly recognise Laura Nyro’s ‘Eli’s Coming,’ Lennon & McCartney’s ‘Michelle,’ or Blood Sweat And Tears [sic] ‘Spinning Wheel.’ ‘Scarborough Fair’ and ‘This Guy’s in Love With You’ are also gems and the arrangements are so complex that it will take you a dozen plays to pick out everything that is going on. It is impossible to describe the beauty or fascinating rhythms on paper. All I can say is that it is one of the finest albums I have ever recommended.”

Not mentioned in the review was “Saturday Gigue,” the track that popped up this morning. It was released as a single in the U.K. in 1969 and then used in 2004 as the B-side of a limited U.K. vinyl release of “Eli’s Comin’.”

A gigue, says Wikipedia, is “a lively baroque dance originating from the British jig.” I hadn’t known that, and learning something new is as a good a reason as any to share a record. So, from the Roundtable’s 1969 album Spinning Wheel, here is “Saturday Gigue,” today’s Saturday Single.

Note: I acknowledged in Thursday’s post about Mike Reilly’s 1971 single “1927 Kansas City” that the audio offered at YouTube was poor. Long-time reader and good friend Yah Shure noted that I was too diplomatic. He then spent a good portion of yesterday digitizing and cleaning up his promo copy of “1927 Kansas City” and sent the results to me yesterday afternoon, an act of friendship for which I am very grateful. I’ve since replaced the video with one featuring Yah Shure’s copy of the single. You can also go to the video right here.

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