Thursday, October 11, 2007

september of their years

Looking at the latest postings on respective websites the other day, it seems that two of my musical heroes are hanging up their boots as far as live performances are concerned.

For Paddy McAloon and his Prefab Sprout cohorts it's no great surprise. McAloon's poor health in recent years has been reasonably well documented but a quite lengthy messageboard posting by a fan apparently "in the know" suggests also a lack of motivation on Paddy's part to carry on with songwriting and recording and gives brother Martin much of the credit for Sprout activities in recent years (most notably the recent "Steve McQueen" reworkings). It's been a Life Of Frustration for Sprout fans ever since Paddy admitted years ago that he'd got a huge number of songs stashed away. Looks like the chances of them ever seeing the light of day now are remoter than ever.

Also deserting the live arena, it seems, are the High Llamas. Main man Sean O'Hagan is something of a workaholic and is constantly involved in musical projects with a wide range of collaborators so it's surely not through lack of energy that they're giving up playing live. Nor is there a lack of material: this year's "Can Cladders" album was their eighth and has only been given a sole UK airing so far. Posting on the Llamas messageboard (as, creditably, he is wont to do from time to time), Sean admits that it's increasingly difficult to get promoters interested in putting the band on and that together with family commitments has pretty much put live performances to bed for the foreseeable future. Not something which can be helped but a shame nonetheless.

On a brighter note, big respect to Edwyn Collins, who steps up to the mic at the Arts Theatre in Soho in a couple of weeks' time to perform the second of three gigs, the first since suffering a massive, life-threatening brain haemorrhage a couple of years ago. Slowly recovering the power of speech and still without the use of his right arm, rumours abound that ex-Postcard stablemate Roddy Frame (back in the early 80s) is standing by for strumming duty. There must be doubts about his future as a songwriter--his recently released album was all in the can before his illness--but it'll be great to see him out and about and making music again.

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