Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Diving For Dear Life



There was a really good edition of Soul Music on Radio 4 yesterday concerning Shipbuilding,  possibly the most beautiful, melancholic protest song ever written. I'm not sure that anyone hearing the song today for the first time and not knowing the back story would even consider it a protest song but more a lament for a time when this country still had a manufacturing industry.

I have always been conflicted as to which version I prefer, I love the Robert Wyatt's vocal but I also love Costello's version especially the trumpet solo, of which there is an interesting fact in the program. I think that on reflection Costello's because of Chet Baker's trumpet.

btw, if you are in the UK as I'm sure you are aware you can catch the show on the iPlayer for the next 6 days.

Elvis Costello - Shipbuilding

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The kind of programme Radio 4 do really well. There's a half decent version by Graham Coxon too, sounding very much like a young Wyatt, & the torturous Hue & Cry version should never, ever under any circumstances be listened to if you like this song!

Swiss Adam said...

Nice piece Drew. Wyatt version for me I think.

George said...

Without wanting to be too thrawn, I'd go for the Costello version.

davyh said...

RW. Plaintive. Double bass.

Swiss Adam said...

It's gone to deadlock ladies and gentlemen.

charity chic said...

Next goal's the winner!

Jen Harvey said...

Costello! :)

Jen Harvey said...

Hue & Cry did a version of Shipbuilding?

That pains me, it truly does....

drew said...

Another interesting fact is that the hi-hat on the Robert Wyatt version isn't actually a hi-hat but Wyatt impersonating one.

Hue and Cry - wankers

suggestedformaturereaders said...

Look, the Suede version was the first one I heard, OK? And it spoiled me for any others, and I've tried to prefer them but the heart doesn't lie, and I like that version best. I realise this invalidates me as a human being. That's my burden. Just be thankful you're not me.

Tedloaf said...

Well, I ask you, there was at least 50% of Hue & Cry that also called half of Hue & Cry a wanker as well.

Wyatt anyway. And then June Tabor.

dickvandyke said...

I'm not surprised Tasmin Archer failed to get a mention here - but nay mention at all of the Falkland Islands!

And hey ... did you know that ...
In common law, a 'Hue & Cry' is a process by which bystanders are summoned to assist in the apprehension of 2 Scottish criminals who have been seen or heard in the act of committing a crime.

In 'Looking For Linda', they state that the aforementioned lassie took the InterCity Express down to 'Leeds Central'. This has always grated with me, as Leeds Central Station closed in 1967. Did oor Linda disappear in the 1960s - or even before that? As the song was released at least 2 decades later, Linda may have changed markedly during those intervening years; perhaps forgoing her tartan skirt, dying her ginger hair mousey, or concealing the Paisley Snail tattoo emblazened on her milky white inner thigh? Linda. If you're out there love. Stay in Yorkshire.

Walter said...

Elvis Costello - just because of the trumpet solo.

drew said...

DVD - that was remiss of me regarding the Falklands, I wrongly assumed that everybody reading would be aware of the fact that the song was about the goings on down south in 1982.

Thank you for pointing out the inaccuracies in Looking For Linda but it will not have been the first or last thing Pat Kane has been wrong about