Tuesday, March 8, 2011

John Wesley Harding: Little Musgrave

A couple Thursday nights ago, I had the opportunity of hearing an interview with Wesley Stace who performs under the name of John Wesley Harding. It was the public radio show “To the Best of Our Knowledge” and Stace was discussing how he has woven music into his third novel “Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer.”

Stace, who has taken his stage name from Bob Dylan’s eighth studio album, “John Wesley Harding,” used an appellation which in itself a takeoff on the name of the western outlaw John Wesley Hardin. I remember reading somewhere decades ago that the real John Wesley Hardin was a relative of folksinger Tim Hardin. I cannot confirm this and I read this probably forty years ago about the time when I got Dylan’s releases as my second album by Mr. Zimmerman. If there is truth in this, which I am beginning to doubt, the name really comes full circle.

Back to Stace or Harding or whatever moniker he is using for whatever project, he sang his version of the song “Little Musgrave” based off of the same song that Fairport Convention recorded under the name of “Matty Groves.” “Little Musgrave” is our traditional Tuesday song today and eventually I plan to get a copy of “Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer” as the premise sounds intriguing to me.

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