One of the fun things about writing this blog is rediscovering some fantastic music. One of these artists is Michelle Shocked, an amazing singer/songwriter. I think it was back in October 1988 when I saw her on tour with Billy Bragg, and went with my sister to a show in NYC that was also a fundraiser for ACT UP at the Beacon Theater. That was an amazing show. In 1988, Short Sharp Shocked was released and had some amazing play.
Shocked's music was steeped in so much tradition; of the storyteller, of classic folk music, of blues singers, and even a hint of country. All of these traditions made Michelle Shocked impossible to ignore, especially when playing live. Her voice had a richness of tone, and a richness of experience. She was telling true stories when she sang, stories she either lived or at least inhabited while she sang. A prime example of this is the song Anchorage.
There was also a strong amount of whimsy and humor in her music. If Love Was A Train is a perfect example, a blues song with lines like 'If love was a train I'd want it to be a long one, ha!' It is also there for When I Grow Up.
So the concert at the Beacon was great on so many levels. I love Billy Bragg, love Michelle Shocked, loved my sister had traveled to the city to join me, and thought it was great to support ACT UP. Michelle Shocked has released many albums since then, some of which I have, but there is nothing that brings back memories like listening to her Short Sharp Shocked followed by Billy's Worker's Playtime to evoke that night for me. For more about Michelle Shocked, visit her website here. She has plenty of great music to purchase!