Troubadour: any of a class of lyric poets who flourished principally in Provence and N Italy from the 11th to the 13th centuries, writing chiefly on courtly love in complex metric form, a travelling minstrel, a singer of folk songs, jongleur, minstrel, poet-singer.

The Troubadour: Earl’s Court. Famous coffee house, founded in 1954, in the style of the great coffee houses of the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 50′s and 60′s, one of THE centres of London’s bohemian, intellectual and artistic life.

November 2012. Tuesday. The streets already dark and wet with rain. Down to the cellar for afternoon soundcheck. Elizabeth and the boys drifting in, tuning up, plugging in, testing mics, telling tales. Ghosts of the sixties … Dylan’s first port of call when he arrived in London in ’62. Hearing Martin Carthy’s renditions of the trad ballads ‘Scarborough Fair’ and ‘Lord Franklin’ here, inspired his own ‘Girl from the North Country’ and ‘Bob Dylan’s Dream’, while Paul Simon famously appropriated Carthy’s guitar part for his own arrangement of ‘Scarborough Fair’. Tom Paxton wrote ‘Leaving London’ after a gig here in ‘66:

"Last night The Troubadour was so full they barred the door …."

Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello, Adele, Ed Sheerin … Sadie and the Hotheads …

The beatniks have gone but the beat goes on.

Steve

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