Mudcat Café message #2990180 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #132214   Message #2990180
Posted By: MikeofNorthumbria
20-Sep-10 - 07:22 AM
Thread Name: What If Lonnie Donegan had not existed?
Subject: RE: What If Lonnie Donegan had not existed?
>>> From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 09:11 AM


I've enjoyed your posts here, and in essence agree with you, but have to take issue on two points:

1) Mr Korner could never have initiated any kind of 'national craze' <<<

Guest, I don't dissent from that remember that the paragraph in which I floated that idea began with "Possibly " and ended with " But personally I doubt it".

After searching my memory for names who MIGHT have filled that gap, I thought that Alexis seemed a better fit than, for example, Ken Colyer, Steve Benbow or Diz Dizley. But eventually I concluded that nobody else had both the musical background and the stage presence to make things happen in the way that LD did.

As regards your second objection:

>>> 2) His musicians: how CAN you compare anyone in his latter-day bands to the masterful Denny Wright??? Denny, Nick Nichols and Mickey Ashman were three of the UK's finest musicians at that time, and I'm still entranced at Denny's inventive accompaniment when I listen to those records now.<<

Once again we don't have a fundamental disagreement. I agree that the Wright/Ashman/Nichols group were excellent - just listen to the way they drive "Frankie and Johnny" on that first LP.   I also have great affection for the homelier sound of Chris Barber's (often under-rated bass) and Beryl Bryden's washboard, which also generated an effective, though less powerful rhythmic pulse.

The backing musicians I was less happy with were those who came along a bit later for example the ones who appeared in his ITV series "Putting on the Donegan" (bits of which are now available on DVD) and some of the others who backed him in the '70s and '80s. They were all competent enough as musicians, but didn't seem to have much empathy with the songs themselves.

In contrast, the musicians who backed him in the '90s and early 2000s seemed (to me) to have a lot more feeling for (and commitment to) the music. I wish some of those concerts had been videoed. (Maybe there's an opportunity here for someone to follow the example of Springsteen's "Seeger Sessions" and put together an all-star band to record a Donegan tribute?)