Review: Heath Common, Patrick Wise & Paul Taylor: Live at Spirit of 67 EP
Something special always happens when Harrogate-based Beatnik poet Heath Common and artist-cum-singer Patrick Wise get together.
Add Paul Taylor, the UK’s leading modern improv keyboard player, to the mix and the impossible is suddenly within reach.
Brought together in July for Harrogate’s bespoke celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and Sgt Pepper in a packed upstairs room of the North Bar as event number three in four successive happenings across town, for obvious copyright reasons the trio’s hauntingly original version of The Beatles’ A Day in the Life is absent from this EP.
Challenging but still tuneful, Common’s passionately delivered, bluntly thought-provoking lyrics on Oh God Save Oz, When The Dog Bites The Monkey and Gary Synder’s Lament are contrasted with Wise’s soaring, angelic vocals then transported to a higher plane by Taylor’s instinctive ambient washes and electronic interjections.
The deeply-voiced Common is a former Melody Maker journalist turned songwriter, poet and performance artist and has been described as “Yorkshire’s Jack Kerouac.”
He certainly shares that great figure of the Beat movement’s ferocious energy and ability to unpick life’s deepest realities with real pith.
Influenced by the 60s but resolutely of the present, the show was a truly collaborative effort reflecting the nature of the whole day itself.
It’s not often a live recording captures all the excitement of an improvisational live event in terms of both performance and the atmosphere in the room.
Like capturing smoke in a bottle, Live at Spirit of 67 does just that, a minor miracle plucked from the air.