Hal Willner – The Harry Smith Project, London

July 2, 1999 – Royal Festival Hall, London, England

For the final event of the Nick Cave curated 1999 Meltdown festival, staged at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Hal Willner explored the work of Harry Smith, an archivist and anthropologist whose ‘Anthology Of American Folk’ formed the backbone of songs for the project.

Artists on the bill featured Michael Blair, Eliza Carthy, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, Adam Dorn, Bryan Ferry, Gavin Friday, Robin Holcomb, Gary Lucas, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Eric Mingus, Geoff Muldaur, Mondrian Quartet, Maurice Seezer, Bobby Neuwirth, Beth Orton, Mary Margaret O´Hara, Van Dyke Parks, Renaud Pion, Roswell Rudd, Jimmy Scott Trio, Elliott Sharp, Syd Straw, June Tabor and

David Torn.

Gavin Friday sang “When That Great Ship Went Down/Nearer to thee” with Mary Margeret O’Hara and Jimmy Scott, and “Fatal Flower Garden”.

The Independent wrote: “Gavin Friday contributed an epic version of “When That Great Ship Went Down” at the end of which veteran jazz crooner Jimmy Scott intoned “Nearer My God To Thee”.”

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