2nd April 2019
Clive and I started jotting down the running order of performers, as they arrived, in lieu of Jason, whom was the billed host for this evening but had been unavoidably detained – However, he's back in the game and busy at the day job so that's good news in itself in the scheme of things. My list totaled up at 13 but as Jason never made it, we ended up as 12 in all and Jamie, at No-2 was thereby brought forward, moving up the list to a new beginning, reborn and backed-up by Martin. L on bass with supportive introductions by Clive whom was by now keeping a tally of who was doing what having already helped Chris in assembling the PA as Simon had delegated this over to other key-holders due to a bout of flu; there will be lots of colds and snivels to come now he's a grandad ... #2 I’m now informed and he’s graduated to Man-Flu to boot.
So, Jamie and his guitar kicked off with 'Nutshell' by Alison James and 'Plush' by Stone Temple Pilots. Then it was Chris, ascending up the running order from the desk to follow on from that. But he didn't seem to mind filling the second slot – it's never bothered me either as it happens and he started with 'Outta Here' as a solo then bolstered in his second original singer/songwriter piece by Martin on bass again with 'Martinette' vocals by Lisa and Heather on ‘Scrapheap Blues’ – all of which, in an it's-all-in-a-name sort of way, reminded me of a great little pre-Brexit/New Labour novel I once read entitled 'Martin Martin's On The Other Side' – an unavoidable mnemonic slip: there’s a Martin in it and I couldn't help it, sorry ... Anyway, in the here-and-now, a man called Mark was also invited up to complete this ensemble with his highly polished metal slide guitar [in lieu of John Oddie’s resonator of old, we were told] and there sure woz a lot of deputies at work tonight!
Then Clive introduced himself again and proceeded with 'a jaunty 'High Heeled Sneakers' by Tommy Tucker and another song called 'Dark Eyed Molly' before introducing Heather to recite a poem, 'People’ whilst her guitar-tech man sorted out her instrument c/w partial-capodastre, which sounded rather interesting to my ears with an open top 'E' string ringing out its dissonance [which I like] but which had to be appropriately readjusted for her rendition of Joni Mitchell's totemic 'Both Sides Now' – I've seen life from both sides now … contemporaneous indeed on both sides of the pond, in limbo, hanging on it. I bet Joni is pleased to be of Canadian descent … I know Heather and Chris had attended Joni's 70th celebration concert recently and were still buzzing from it – Heather concluded the set with 'The Town I Loved So Well' from Phil Coulter.
Mark, c/w slide guitar, came back on his own terms with Muddy Waters's [blues singer] 'Can't Be Satisfied' of the transatlantic Jagger/Richards Rolling Stones era [I Can't Get No ************] Blues Packages of the 60s. He brought us up-to-date with his own tautology in 'The Shining Sun' – a very long piece on a very shiny guitar with a blurry bottleneck breaking over the fingerboard of frets like metallic rays, and hotspot f-holes resonating to the rising mercury of the Delta atmospherics going on under the fan [inactive this time] ….
I had to follow that!
So I took a leaf out of C J Martin's playbook and invited Lisa and Heather back up, joined by Ella this time, to support me in the refrain of a couple of rhythmic vamps I'd built in to 'True Colours' since recording it recently – there was an extended coda to do with rainbows and they positively shone on that, too. It was like a triple sunshine beating down on the, you know … beats. Ahem, I did a brief medley comprised of 'Ain't No Sunshine/Summertime' but that's another sunny story altogether so I won't go there, then.
It was definitely warming up, though, as we had duo spot coming on with Kat Black and Mr White [but he doesn't know why …?] From Peacehaven-on-Sea, Kat and Andy played 'Stay' and Dylan's 'It's All Over Now Baby Blue' which was nice to hear – there was more Bob to come, ultimately from Oliver but now it was time for the ebullient Lance to perform, uniquely, his own songs: 'Every Day' and 'Get Up And Dance' with which he had me jiggling on the stool with his sunny disposition acting as a bit of a livener.
More Joni now, this time from Ella in a stand-up performance with her flat-back bouzouki strapped on to provide a nicely twangy backdrop [Ella felt that there may have been a bit of a tuning problem here but it has to be said that, up to a point, a little variance in each pair of strings on these type of steel-string instruments can add a modulation of its own that can be effective, expansive even – like a chorus pedal would simulate, and people pay good money for such paraphernalia – subjective though it is, it's worth taking a chance on it I would vouch] as she played 'Carrie' and 'I think I understand' – replete with ‘like stepping stones on sinking sand’, what a line to tread … what a line to write, eh? Straight ahead, all good here!
What a lineage to follow? In a nice bit of programming of opposite numbers tonight, it turned out like the roll of the dice to be Lisa's time to come back up. Also in solo mode, she sat down on the high stool and gave us her interpretations of 'I Have To Say I Love You In A Song' from Jim Croce and 'Song To A Siren' by Tim Buckley as a nice offset to what had preceded her reflective performance.
John Stevens covered an off-the-shelf version of 'April Come She will' ... well he got that right. It was Paul Simon whom had ascribed a gender to this month of months that we find ourselves in whilst he was working with Garfunkel, in harmony; Simon being the preeminent songwriter. But then [after a nice, harmoniously sunny March, mostly …]. Star Man.
Oliver: 'Gold-Watch Blues' and the other Bob Dylan song of this long night – “She Belongs To Me” which had enough gravitas to act as an apt conclusion within the atmosphere it seemed to generate, just like any good folk club at its best – my inner Sun-God was turned back on again and fully appeased.
So, looking forward to Chris Martin's, on the other side of songwriting night coming up next time, as a platform for all singer-songwriters with hearts, and minds, and songs of our own [as opposed to the singer-songwriter genre at large, as a general theme]. But, on the sunnier aspect of things, I don't know which gender I would apply overall to 'Summertime' and other covers anyway, which is just as well because I'd probably get booted out for being so subversive, and rightfully so!
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