The third of the Oysters Three to join us At The Barrier is Alan Prosser. Taking a cue from bandmate Ian Telfer, he’s come up with exactly what he loves, or at least what he really likes…
What I really like is to be in a creative writing session…or a playing session where the musicians have, at least, some things in common.
For many years, I’ve been a part of an ad hoc bunch of musos called The Country Counts…and as you can probably guess from the name, we play quite a lot of Americana but also British Folk and country and pop songs that we’ve grown up with. We number from four to eight, sometimes nine, in any one session and though it’s mostly guitars, there is a fabulous trombone player, a fiddler or two, electric guitar, slide guitar, harmonica and bass and some cracking singers. In fact, everyone except the bass player usually takes a lead vocal (tho’ even he, when the wind is in the right direction, will warble Crystal Chandeliers). The material ranges from Sacred Harp to The Band, Tom Waits to Dylan, Hank Williams to the Beegees, Richard Thompson to Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello to Randy Newman…..well…you get the idea. Point is ….anything goes….no pretensions…although there’s pride in getting it all good, perfect ain’t the point.
When I was starting out, I used to be in many sessions and then the focus was more British/Irish traditional songs and tunes and they were great learning arenas. I also lived in a community of musician/pizza makers and the sessions in the cellar and the local pub were mighty. Those days were some of my happiest and most drunken. Nowadays, I find it harder to turn up at a strange session and just join in and I’ve stopped the drinking now too. I really miss some of that. I used to play for the Morris Dancing with my small, but loud, Alex Johns parlour guitar trying to play all manner of chords to otherwise straight English tunes. Just me and a melodeon player named Ray. We used to get quite a few black looks from the squire.
The band I play in doesn’t live near anymore and so the collaborative writing sessions are only when a new collection of songs is needed. I have, however, found fun and satisfaction writing with other musicians who live near…..both are harmonica players though with differing styles and one writes pretty good lyrics.
Lastly, I really like a session where there is constant access to coffee, tea and biscuits…..dunking to go with the noodling…..when the conditions are right it’s my sort of heaven.
Other musicians that I like….the list is endless. I’ve just watched Biffy Clyro on BBC iPlayer…..fantastic concert they did in Glasgow…..they’re my favourite at the moment….
Our thanks to Alan for musing over all the things he enjoys – and quite right too when you ‘why does there have to be only one?‘
Check our review of the new/current Oysterband album – Read The Sky -and watch our for their upcoming tour….
Here’s a bit of Biffy on Later (with Mike Vennart on backup guitar…):
You can read more from our extensive archive of Why I Love pieces from a wide array of artists on an even wider array of subjects, here.