23rd January 2018
Another Tuesday and a bunch of musicians turn up to play at the Six Bells Pub in darkest Chiddingly. It was my turn to be “in charge” of proceedings although as always, proceedings have their own ideas about that. Along with the usual suspects (you know who you are) it was nice to see Pat and Natasha. James the poet made an unexpected appearance and we had a return of Simon Scardanelli who has now moved into the locality. Particularly pleasing was a visit from Ivor Game who had driven from Watford just to play and was very much enjoyed.
I started the evening determined that we would all get three songs, which we did. My opening song involved the Kazoo and even that failed to put people off, indeed, rarely for the winter we had an audience!
Manus followed with a Jazzy version of Summertime, his own composition Ambivalence and then You are my Sunshine I guess this was Manus’s attempt to fight back against a cold, drab January. Natasha was next so we listened to her charming vocals and gentle guitar playing while she sang Clydewater and Lily of the West.
Ivor Game, a singer songwriter, is a newcomer to the club and having travelled a long way to be with us I gave him an extended set. His short punchy songs quickly connected with the audience and we all enjoyed his performance. All the songs in his set are listed here, many with links to Youtube or Soundcloud; You Lovely You, Small, You’re the One, Together, Beautiful Umbrella, Water and Wine. Enjoy.
Pat followed Ivor and she gave up Joe Hill and The Seed Man, both of these are great songs and beautifully sung unaccompanied. Time for our own resident singer songwriter Chris Martin who was also our soundman for part of the evening his homespun tunes were Ghosts, Tick Tock and View from a Window.
Simon Scardanelli is a professional musician and it shows. If only we had time to focus exclusively on music maybe we could all match his confident delivery but I somehow doubt it. His songs are powerful and can be amusing.. Tonight’s offering included Whirlwind, Jesus and the Moon, and What Good is this old Guitar (a Hoya – Clapton owned one). Check out the Spotify links if you use that service.
James is a poet but an English teacher he met in a pub told him “this is not poetry, its verse” - well that’s English teachers for you. Does anyone really care what the definition is? No, we just enjoyed the words and the poetic delivery and we gave that an A* (bollocks to English teachers). His poems, verses or whatever were 2017, Hot Tap and Beard.
For those fed up with guitars we had reached a point in the evening when it was time for a change. Ella took to the piano and sang for us Who knows where the time goes, Danny’s All Star Joint (doink, doink) and Hurricane. Ella’s playing in particular was spot on this evening; she is getting some great sound out of the battered Six Bells piano these days.
Clive started with Going up the Country, the Canned Heat classic, Where can I go without you, by Nina Simone and finished with his own composition “Runaround” which I thought had something of a 50’s vibe to it.
Last but not least was Jason Loughran. Jason’s songs were The Heart of Saturday Night (Tom Waites), his own song A Little Soul and lastly a song by his dad, Jerry Loughran Blow Gentle Wind of Life. I am pleased to say that Jason will be standing in for Mike Aldridge who has to cut down on his performing due to problems with arthritis and other bone problems. We wish Mike well and hope he will be able to come along from time to time, even if he is unable to play.
So, what of my three youtube videos? The first is one of the most beautiful songs on that platform, the second, a misplaced Christmas song, disproves that the Americans don’t get irony and the third is a really sweet gospel song that will make you want to hug a homeless person (obviously not the one with the dreads by the station or, thinking about it, the rather smelly one by the card shop, or the one with the mirror in front of him who spends all day looking up…….. Oh, forget it).
All the best,
After the intensity of snow, gales and rain, and of Christmas and the New Year……….. this was a mellow winter evening. We had a nicely rounded number of twelve spots and we began, as usual, with the host opening the evening. I started the session with a Joni Mitchell song ‘Urge for Going’, an atmospheric early song about winter from 1966, then in a very different style, a traditional Irish song that just rolls along: P Stands for Paddy.
Jane followed playing lap-slide and singing Santiago Blues, which is more of a walking song, relating, as it does, to those on the pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela. Her second song by ‘The Master’ (as she called him) was a Leonard Cohen song: Dance me to the End of Love.
Chris Martin followed and introduced us to his battered panda friend Panyan, with whom he shares a big birthday later in the year. Life’s a Race, his self-penned song about cycling ‘Life’s a race and the miles roll by …..’ was his first song, performing solo with guitar accompaniment. Keith Willson joined him with spoken words from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Nice words, very reflective: ‘The flower that has blown forever dies’.
Taking the stage alone, Keith went on to sing his song about Jesus, ‘Who’s that hippy in the picture’. He says he meant no disrespect, but he had Jesus buying a gun. Not the usual kind of song that gets sung about Jesus: ‘What happened to Jesus? …. Jesus just grew up’. He followed this cynical song with a love song called ‘The worst thing’ totally changing the mood.
Keith was still in demand (he’s a very versatile musician) and provided an improvised piano accompaniment to Simon on guitar singing ‘After you’ve gone’, first sung by Marion Harris in 1918. Simon gave Keith the chords, and with no previous rehearsal, they conjured up a nice jazzy version of the song. Music to smile to. Simon followed this with ‘Caledonia’, a Dougie MacLean song.
Kevin Jones, a newcomer and another songwriter chose not to sing his own material tonight, but sang ‘You’ve got a Friend’ written by Carole King and released on her first album Tapestry. James Taylor also released the song (which became a hit) as a single in 1971 and the song may well be more strongly associated with him than Carole. It suited Kevin’s voice as did ‘It Doesn’t Matter’, a Buddy Holly classic.
Jayne Ingles made one of her very welcome appearances this evening, singing Paul Simon's "Kathy's Song" ‘I hear the drizzle of the Rain’ … 'like a memory, a memory it falls'. She then gave her version of the classic ‘Summertime’.
Singing two of his own songs, Manus was next and gave us some technical background about 5-7s, a pattern of syllables. ‘Lightening in the Grease’ or the ‘devil on two sticks’, related to the Diabolo, a juggling device with a double-ended spinner operated with two sticks joined by a length of string. It is thought to have originated from an ancient Chinese yo yo and was first mentioned in the West in 1792. His second song ‘The Air Gap’ was all about painting ourselves into corners.
It was lovely to see Summer here for the first time. Accompanying herself on guitar and getting over some initial nervousness, her voice came through clear and strong as she sang the Dolly Parton song made famous by Whitney Houston ‘I will always love you’. She went on to sing one of her own compositions ‘Modern Day Prince Charming’ about her own aspirations for just the right man to arrive in her life: ‘When you took my hand, and we started to dance, I thought you were so cool ….’ I hope she joins us again soon.
Sylvie followed Summer and after an attempt to use the microphone, decided to abandon it, singing a personally significant song that compares the elation experienced at the first fall of snow with falling in love. Two romantic songs in succession in totally different styles from very different generations, but both so poignant.
George and Mary changed the mood again and sang ‘Little Old Drinker Me’ with lyrics that mused fondly over grapes growing in the California sun from the distant city of Chicago. They then sang the second Leonard Cohen song of the evening: ‘Tonight will be fine’, which reflects on a very intimate moment.
Clive brought the evening to a well-rounded close, singing only one song, for which Jane, Chris and myself were collected up and handed words for the chorus of ‘Goodbye Stranger’ by Supertramp. Released on their sixth album ‘Breakfast in America’ this was a far greater success for them in the USA than back here in the UK.
And so it was, we arrived at the end of another very enjoyable evening of varied material, including several musicians performing their own songs.
With endless gratitude for Simon setting up, Chris running the sound desk with Clive’s assistance and everyone who helped put the equipment away at the end of the evening.
See you next time.
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