BUNCH OF FIVES: LAZY SUNDAYS WITH STAGGER LEE | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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DJ and promoter Stagger Lee (Lee Fisher to the members of his family who still talk to him) has already brought us various incarnations of Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee (most recently and successfully at Ernest) and reggae night Riddim. And now he’s teaming up with those lovely folk at Newcastle’s finest pub, the Cumberland Arms, for LazySundays With Stagger Lee, a laidback Sunday afternoon session in the pub’s back room where he’ll play selections from the more relaxing end of his record collection – soul, blues, country, jazz, reggae, folk and more – for what he’s described as ‘an aural hug’. Rather than expecting you to dance, he’s expecting you to drink, do a crossword, read a book, chat to friends, or just sit and listen. Ahead of the first event on Sunday 28th October, we asked him to pick five examples of the sort of thing we should expect.

“I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while now, and it was fortuitous that Jo at the Cumby was thinking along similar lines. I love making people dance, but there’s more to my tastes than that, and a whole host of records I never get to play because they’re not dancefloor-friendly. What could be better than warm, relaxing, mellow sounds on a cold Sunday afternoon?”

 

Karen Dalton – Are You Leaving For The Country?
Karen Dalton has been a ‘great lost artist’ for so long now that she’s probably not lost at all, but that doesn’t detract from her brilliance. A sixties folkie with a whole lot of soul, she never got much further than the respect of her peers at the time and her life is an awful, tragic car-crash of Judee Sill proportions. But her voice is a warm, mournful thing and totally captures the Lazy Sunday vibe.


 

Nina Simone – Baltimore
Apparently Simone hated the quasi-reggae arrangements of this cover of the Randy Newman song, but then she was always contrary and I think this a classic, a simmering, understated slice of social commentary.


 

Bobbie Gentry – Ode To Billie Joe
For my money, Bobbie Gentry is one of the most remarkable artists to never really get the credit she deserves. She wrote, arranged and produced groundbreaking songs in an era when women just didn’t do things like that. Her meteoric success and then dignified withdrawal from the public eye are the stuff of legend and boxed sets, and this debut single shows quite why she was so goddamned special. And, y’know, the higher the hair, the closer to God, right?

 

Marcia Griffiths – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Written by Ewan MacColl as a love song to Peggy Seeger, The First Time I Ever I Saw Your Face is about as bulletproof a song as it gets (cue someone posting me a link to a fucking Bono cover or something) but this gorgeous Marcia Griffiths version has always been my favourite. Griffiths had a helluva career (she was the Marcia in Bob And Marcia, backed Bob Marley in the I Threes and released a run of great solo records to boot), and her voice is like honey.

 

Aretha Franklin – Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)
Probably the best song from unquestionably the finest vocalist of all time. We’ll never see her like again.

 

Lazy Sundays with Stagger Lee is at the Cumberland Arms on the last Sunday of every month, beginning on Sunday 28th October.

 

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