musician, artist, mama, beekeeper, human. that’s how frazey ford describes herself. her music is as excellent and wide-hearted as that sounds. we’ve been slow to catch up: we’ve missed four the be good tanyas records and two frazey ford albums. the first we heard and saw of her was the video for “done”, a life-buoyant, calmly fierce sea change song accompanied by a laid-back pavement-dance riot (and featuring deadly clothes, giggles, a dinosaur, a hula hoop and an otis redding vinyl). it made us want to dance with frazey. library, backyard, newsagent’s, parking lot – anywhere she wants, anywhere. our first dance turned out to be in a church. sitting down. it was exhilerating.*
13th october 2015, the union chapel in london, candles and hot chocolates. frazey ford in a black jumpsuit, sparkling with wisdom and healing. her lovely band. songs like “september fields”, “bird of paradise”,”the gospel song”, “you’re not free”, “natural law” and “blue streak mama”. “one more cup of coffee” for bob dylan and radiant “the happy song” dum-dums for otis. frazey talking about how her brother is like a “firecracker”. about recording with al green’s band. about how a forty-year-old argument was forgotten over “weather patterns“. i’m terribly grateful to them for playing that song. it helps me breathe. i am also glad my dungarees have lots of pockets to keep all these songs in. i have “weather patterns”, “done” and “if you gonna go” right here in the top pocket. and oh, “ootischenia” (a the be good tanyas song about frazey’s parents running from the vietnam war to communes in canada), how chuffed i am to have made your acquaintance. as i am sitting here remembering how “indian ocean” washed over the wooden benches of the union chapel, i am still wearing my dungarees like a hug, every pocket full of beekeper soul ♫
* apart from the support act david ward, during whose set i felt both ill and ill-tempered. maybe i just didn’t get it. how you can “cobble together” (his words) a dead friend’s poems into a song, how his song “mother” could possibly be about “instinctive human kindness” (his words). how he, by playing his own version of them, managed to prick holes into both bryan adams’s “heaven” (a perfectly good song) and bob dylan’s “i was young when i left home” (which means an awful lot to me and is itself a respectfully inventive and sincerely heartfelt reinterpretation of the traditional “900 miles“/”900 miles from home“, both referenced here in woody guthrie’s version).