Lindisfarne – Magic In The Air

It was my Dad who bought this album, on cassette, and I have no idea what prompted him to do so as he wasn’t a big consumer of music, but buy this he did and it found its way to me at a time where I only had a cassette player and very few cassettes, so I played this pretty much every night as I fell to sleep for quite a few years, probably starting when I was around 12 or 13 years old. I listened to it most often on a mono headphone as I drifted off, it was shit.

When I left home at 16 I don’t remember taking it with me, though I do have a vinyl copy now that I bought for two or three pounds a few years ago.

Sometimes records, or just songs, evoke memories or feelings in a way that nothig else does. For me, this record takes me to a much simpler time, a time not without drama or pressure, but seen and felt through a different lens. As a teenager I didn’t worry about a job, or money or even school, because I, like so many teenagers, had no real idea what was coming in my future and was pretty indestructable and yes, I was an expert on everything, even things I knew nothing about, because youth.

From Rock Goes To College the same year, 1978, that the album was released is the opening track from ‘Magic In The Air’, Lady Eleanor.

The album version is better to be honest.

There was a time when I knew every word to every song, and still remember most even now, but the song that I always felt highlighted the incredible songwriting of Alan Hull was ‘Winter Song’. Even as a know nothing 13 year old I understood everything that was being conveyed through the words Hull wrote, and so did Elvis Costello, who performs the song below.

When winter’s shadowy fingers
First pursue you down the street
And your boots no longer lie
About the cold around your feet
Do you spare a thought for summer
Whose passage is complete
Whose memories lie in ruins
And whose ruins lie in heat
When winter comes howling in
When the wind is singing strangely
Blowing music through your head
And your rain splattered windows
Make you decide to stay in bed
Do you spare a thought for the homeless tramp
Who wishes he was dead
Or do you pull your bedclothes higher
Dream of summertime instead?
When winter comes howling in
The creeping cold has fingers
That caress without permission
And mystic crystal snowdrops
Only aggravate the condition
Do you spare one thought for the gypsy
With no secure position
Who’s turned and spurned by village and town
At the magistrate’s decision
When winter comes howling in
When the turkey’s in the oven
And the Christmas presents are bought
And Santa’s in his module
He’s an American astronaut
Do you spare one thought for Jesus
Who had nothing but his thoughts
Who got busted just for talking
And befriending the wrong sorts?
When winter comes howling in
When winter comes howling in

That’s poetry that is. Alan Hull wrote this around 1967 and it appeared on their album “Nicely Out of Tune in 1970”. It’s good that it is still being performed today, by Sam Fender, who released it as a christmas single:

The album title comes from the song ‘Dingley Dell’ which is from the album of the same name. There are many, many good songs in this live collection and while I am not here to try and convert anybody to the music of Lindisfarne I would urge you to give it a listen, you never know, you may like it.

The album is below, it’s part 2 starting with Lady Eleanor

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/0ZEJnrAVfBHBLVaTzOSpbg

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