The Ken Project

Ken in New Orleans, early FiftiesPrompted by some correspondence from Chris Kennedy in Holland trying to find the correct words for a song Ken had covered, Postman’s Lament, I felt compelled to record my take on this Johnny Wiggins song, with its poignant and weary melody. If you YouTube Ken’s version you’ll see I didn’t quite follow the jazz path on this one… Jordi helps seal the deal by harmonising the last verse. Drums by Mark, rest by me…

Here’s Ken’s version

I’m taking a look at some of the songs that were associated with Ken because of working with Mike Pointon and Ray Smith for the Ken Colyer Trust on the definitive biography of Ken, a large pictorial book, the text of which is taken from interviews with many people who knew Ken, as well as letters to and from Ken.

More information here:

Here’s K.C. Moan, a song recorded by Ken in the early days of skiffle, with Bill and Alexis. Mike Hammond of The Dodge Brothers added some guitar and a harmony vocal to it, and Mark plays bottleneck on my little travel guitar. Oh, and I bought a Theramin, too and played that on it for more atmosphere! So, drenched in feedback and trains, here’s K.C.Moan

And, again, here’s Ken’s version

And then Sportin’ Life—I would guess taught to Ken by Brownie McGhee. I use part of Ken’s version here, with Bill on washboard, so I won’t post his version. Ludicrous amounts of guitar and echo and treated backing vox courtesy of yours truly, madly and deeply.

Darkness on The Delta next!

10 thoughts on “The Ken Project

  1. My pleasure, Martin. Where was the photograph taken? There’s quite a collection of records on that shelf.

  2. I am eagerly (even impatiently) awaiting publication of this book. Any idea when it’s due?
    The photograph may have been taken at Dick Allen’s place (rather than Dick Wellstood)?

  3. Sorry, meant Dick Allen. I’m putting in the first corrections, and am trying to get it to printers by the beginning of June for September/October delivery, fingers crossed…

  4. I see. So the KC Trust’s ETA of March/April was a little over-optimistic? No matter. I look forward to the book very much.

  5. Hi,

    I am sorry if this is not the appropriate place, but I have been trying to find out what has happened to the Ken Colyer Trust for my father & as their website has vanished, this seems to be about the only link that a Google search produces that offers any hope of an answer.

    Thank you for your time,

  6. My copy of the book arrived at the weekend. What a superb thing it is. Many congratulations and many thanks for all the work you put into it, Martin. Everyone concerned has done the old boy proud.

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