Daily Dose: ‘Wrapped Up In Blue’ by Jackie Leven (with David Thomas)

Something put this song into my head again the other day, and I went back and I listened to it again – I used to use it as a way of practising my projection on my low notes, and it’s still pretty decent for that. I’ve not spoken about a pure folk song in a while, so I thought I’d spend some words on it, especially as Jackie Leven is a less well-known figure in the folk music tapestry these days. This is such a sedate song, and it’s pace may well throw off some people who like more intensity in their music, but I’d urge you to stick with it, because decent and emotional songs about depression that don’t feel forced or hard to listen to are so, so rare. Speaking as someone who’s known someone very well who suffered such hardship (as we all have) as well as suffering panic attacks in the past myself, this does a beautiful job of exploring all sides of those relationships with scarce few words and a lovely peaceful tune, and that makes it such an important song to have in the musical lexicon, in my opinion. It’s the last track on his Creatures of Light And Darkness (2001) album, which was the first I’d ever heard of him, and is a decent listen; the opening song ‘My Spanish Dad’ is more of a bouncy quicker upbeat affair if you like Leven’s voice but find this a bit too dirgey. I seem to remember my dad was given the album by one of his friends shortly after Leven had passed away (he followed in the great Scottish tradition of sadly dying much too young, in 2011), presumably on the assumption that we’d like a Scottish songwriter and folk musician. It was a decent assumption, and it’s a really interesting album. I could listen and sing along to this song all day, and some days, I have.

EDIT: I’ve been reminded that his output was even huger than it appeared, as he had to publish CD’s under two names as his company wouldn’t let him release as many as he wanted under his own name. Which was a bit crappy of them, but hey ho.

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