Sir Richard Bishop of Sun City Girls
I posted something on here in dedication to the Sun City Girl's Charlie Gocher back in February. Here's a link to that post if you're interested in checking it out. I'm not sure if the links are still up for the music, but let me know and I can re-up them.
I have been alerted by someone that the link for the Sun City Girls live show from La Sala Rossa is no longer active. Here is a reup of that show:
Sun City Girls- La Sala Rossa Disc 1
Sun City Girls- La Sala Rossa Disc 2
Sir Richard Bishop's solo stuff is worlds away from the avant garde experimentalism of the Sun City Girls. Still, he is the only person I know of that can play an acoustic guitar so loud that you'll be reaching for your earplugs. I have seen him live about four times now, but there is really no way of explaining the beauty and noise created by his gifted hands. He is equal parts John Fahey, Django Reinhardt, Manitas De Platas and Fred Frith, but this only scratches the surface of his sound. You have to experience his music in a live setting to truly appreciate the multiple sheets of sound that resonate from his acoustic guitar. One minute he is playing a mellow ballad which slowly unfolds into a mind-bending journey into dynamics and rapid-fire riffing.
Yesterday, I witnessed an amazing Sir Richard Bishop live performance at Exiled Records in Portland, Oregon. He performed at Exiled Records last year around September too, so I think it is becoming an annual thing. He started off the set looking bedraggled and that he had less than 40 winks the night before. Nevertheless, he delivered a masterful set of inspired covers as well as songs from his various albums. This was a decidely mellow set by Richard's standards, and he even admitted to the crowd that he was in a mellow mood. He did an Ennio Morricone cover, a few Django Reinhardt covers including "Echoes of Spain", and two Sun City Girls songs.
However, the highlights for me were the two lengthy improvisational workouts towards the end that aren't available on any of Richard's records, at least not in their entirety. These two pieces began with a mellow tempo that culminated into a series of dynamically soul-stirring finger-plucking exercises. Then, the whole thing explodes into a frenzy of start-stop riffing that would make Thurston Moore and Nels Cline proud. The entire standing-room only crowd at Exiled Records clapped exuberantly with their mouths held agape after such an astonishing performance.
After the show, I was inspired to figure out what the two improvisations were at the end of the show. I was able to find Richard's show from last year's Exiled Records in-store performance as well as his performance from the 2006 Halleleuwah Festival at Disjecta. I was pleased to find out that both of these performances featured the improvisations that I heard at Exiled Records yesterday. The sound on both of these recordings is excellent and I highly recommend that you download them for your listening pleasure. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Sir Richard Bishop has a new slab of wax coming out on Drag City on September 25th entitled Polytheistic Fragments.
Sir Richard Bishop-Exiled Records- 9-2-06
Sir Richard Bishop- Halleluwah- Disjecta- 9-1-06
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