The evening started with the team building task of setting up the PA. This was quickly accomplished proving that we are all getting better as sound engineers. Chris Martin had the job of driving the desk and the sound was first class throughout. That’s good because if the sound is right it makes everything a lot easier. We are not supposed to notice but Roy provided some background piano music while we were getting organised, Roy is anything but an exhibitionist but he has a light touch and can certainly play. Perhaps one day he will overcome his shyness. We all have to make that leap Roy!
I started off with the Louden Wainwright song The Doctor followed by an old country number She thinks I still care. Then we had Jane & David, infrequent visitors to the club but very welcome. Great rhythm and pace were the hallmark of their set which included Sail this ship alone, The first cut is the deepest, Wade in the Water and later Some Boys. Great vocal control from Jane and some mellow guitar by David – what more could you want?
Then came Ella’s turn. Ella’s first song was After the Gold Rush which sadly all went horribly wrong. We all know what that feels like - don’t we! Undaunted she tamed the unruly piano with a far more difficult number Danny's All Star joint, a Ricki Lee Jones song. With great character she had another go at After the Gold Rush later and this time she nailed it. Hooray!
Clive was next with Come and take me to the Mardi Gras (which my spelling checker wants me to turn to Marigolds) with a sneaky bit of additional cajon playing by Manus. Being something of a folk song buff he then played Is it Summer so Soon (The skylark song). Manus followed with The First Time Ever I saw your Face, Strolling Down the Highway and later Days of Wine & Roses. These were after the style of Bert Jansch so not the easiest of arrangements!
Helga attacked Me and Bobby McGee with gusto and then went on to Carrie, the Joanie Mitchell song. Later she played flute alongside Keith on a blues number – good stuff Helga.
The sound man then took the stage, Chris Martin the clubs legendary singer songwriter gave us Standing Room Only, Living in a Funked Up Country and later Diary. Chris will be running his annual Singer Songwriter night next time so you have two weeks to brush up your own tunes (or better still write a new one).
Chris Liddiard came next, as you probably know, Chris suffers from Parkinson’s and last night we got a glimpse of how difficult that can be. However, we will learn from that and make adjustments so that we can help Chris get to the stage with the minimum of effort in future. In front of the microphone Chris still comes over perfectly and he gave us four songs My Sweetheart is Sweet enough for Me, When I Grow too old to Dream, Goodnight Irene and Auld Irish Waltz.
Penny Payne has a fantastic voice and looks so relaxed in front of the microphone, add Keith Willson on guitar and great things are guaranteed – on this occasion C. C.Rider followed by Summertime. Keith then played his own compositions Like You Could Have Tried, The Slow One and Baby Steps. Awesome jazz chords – how does he do it?
This week I have put an eclectic mix of YouTube videos on the Homepage, Jazz, Blues and Classic Rock – something for everybody. I hope to see you all again in two weeks time for another great folk night. Remember to bring your own songs and ignore the road closure signs.
All the best - Simon
'What a brilliant evening! There was a wonderful selection of different performers, styles and content.
But before I continue with a run-down of performers, I would like to say a very big THANK YOU to Simon Watt, who set up the sound equipment during the day taking the pressure off the evening. For this I am especially grateful because Simon has been rather poorly. I must also thank Chris Martin for tweaking the quality of the sound, doing sound checks etc and to Clive also, who with Chris, manned the sound desk during the evening. All of these efforts paid off big time because we had good sound consistently and no nasty feed-back.
As is customary, as host, I started the evening. I was in a ‘traditional’ mood and sang ‘She moved through the fair’ and ‘Singing Bird’ (traditional Irish) accompanying myself on bazouki. We moved swiftly on with Simon at second position singing ‘All around you’ involving a long cold winter and a two slice dinner, a Lonesome Brothers song. This was followed by ‘American Boy’, an Eliza Gilkyson song.
Simon often has an interesting or amusing anecdote to share. This evening was no exception as he told us about the Bruce Springsteen song ’41 Shots’ which he read about in Springsteen’s biography. Apparently a black man was stopped by police and as he looked for his identity to show them, they thought he was going for a gun and shot him 41 times. 41 times?
Because of this song the police refused to guard Bruce and he received letters of abuse from Republicans. Ricki Lee Jones sings a similar song where the young man was shot dead as he reached for his ID, because the police thought he was going for a gun. Maybe it happens too frequently.
Chris Martin followed with ‘King of the Flies’ from his album Standing Room Only, watching the traffic flow ….. He said he had trouble finishing it. His second song was ‘View from a window’ which is a song from his album of the same name and is indeed about the view from his window. Apparently Chris is in the process of recording another CD with the assistance of ‘Banjo Dave’ on vocals. I’m sure we will hear the new material all in good time.
Terry Lees had chosen to join us for this evening and shared two songs with his characteristic guitar style which is always a treat to hear. ‘Ruby Tuesday’ was his first song, followed by the Dylan song ‘Buckets of Rain’. He let us all know about The Bob Dylan Story which is on at the Winter Garden, Eastbourne on 25th February. He’s going, how about you?
I like the Bert Jansch song ‘Blackwaterside’ and do a very different version from Manus, (mine is a very simple version!). Manus has a complex guitar style which is probably more jazz orientated. I love the song, so very much enjoyed hearing it. His next song was ‘The Blues Run the Game’ a Jackson C. Frank song covered by Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Davey Graham.
Helga followed Manus on classical guitar and sang for us the anthem that arose in the 1960s when the Berlin Wall went up. Helga had made a translation from the German into English. Translated, the song means ‘Take Heart’, so a song of optimism in adversity, and particularly poignant for her which I believe she communicated to us all. Helga completed her spot with St James Infirmary. This song has several different versions and the last time two people sang this same song on the same evening, there was no very obvious conflict, they sounded so very different.
More reverb next for Penny, accompanied by Keith Willson and singing an early blues where the ‘apron strings were wearing through’. I apologise for not getting the title. It was not remotely obvious that they had not performed this song before given the confidence of its delivery. Her second song was ‘I went down to the river to pray’ a traditional American song which was popularised in the 2000 film ‘Brother Where Art Thou?’
Richard and Liz followed Penny and preferred to perform totally acoustic. They have been to the Folk and Blues evenings before, but we haven’t seen them for a while. Welcome back. With new strings on his guitar and having only heard the song a week ago, practiced it for the first time this evening, they were, according to Richard, out there without a safety net. Liz has a lovely voice and I don’t think we noticed the guitar slipping out of tune as they performed the 1944 Leadbelly song ‘Where did you sleep last night?’
Liz left Richard to take the part of a lovely young lady to sing ‘Maids when you’re young never wed an old man’, a humorous traditional Irish song.
Next up was another duo, Kim and Lee, who had come along for the first time from the distant seaside resort of Hastings. Yet another different style. Lee played guitar and sang while Kim played flute and sang harmony, giving us ‘Really don’t mind’ from Jethro Tull’s fifth album Thick as a Brick (1972). They followed this with a self-penned and delightful ‘The Gnome Song’. Beautiful atmospheric flute with Lee’s guitar and voice …. searching for a sequinned gown. I hope they find their way back another time.
The lovely Lisa followed with a version of Elvis’s ‘Don’t be Cruel’. It didn’t sound anything like Elvis, of course, but was beautiful and atmospheric. Her second piece was the spirited Johnny Cash song ‘The Ring of Fire’, without the rather Mexican sounding trumpets and with a much more imaginative guitar accompaniment. Thank you Lisa. It’s always good to hear you sing.
Clive took the spotlight next and sang ‘Hi-Heel Sneakers’ an up-beat blues written and recorded by Tommy Tucker in 1963 (apparently). I don’t know how many of us have heard of Tommy Tucker but it has been recorded many, many times by different people including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, John Lee Hooker, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder – a whole lot of people we certainly have heard of. Great song Clive. He followed this with ‘The Path of Love’ a beautiful, wistful Beth Neilson Chapman song. Very nice indeed.
Keith Willson followed with another change of style. Keith writes all of his own material and he began with ‘Requiem’ from his ‘Calmer Waters’ cd: ‘Close your eyes, we’re all here’. A very atmospheric song followed by a different mood: ‘Maybe I deserve to cry, maybe I deserve to crawl …..’ in the lyrics of his second song: ‘The Worst Thing’. Keith is one of the few guitarists who doesn’t ‘plug-in’ and thanks to the technical skill of the sound-team, there was no feed-back from the two mics! Wonderful.
The mellow vibe continued with Bob Aldridge who sang ‘Rock-a-Bye Sweet Baby James’ from the James Taylor’s 1970 album of the same name. He went on them to sing ‘Desperado’, from their 1973 album also named ‘Desperado’. Mellow and more mellow.
Jason Loughran followed Bob and continued the vibe with his own song from a few years ago: ‘Strange Sailings’. Maintaining the mellow and maybe melancholy mood, Jason then sang Jim Coce’s song ‘Time in Bottle’, a song he was re-introduced to by a friend. The song is about valuing time and it went to the top of the US charts in 1973 when it was released. Tragically Jim was killed in a plane crash later that year making the song seem at this distance, to have a prophetic quality.
Enter Mike Aldridge and the mellow bubble was popped by Mike’s first country song, a Hank Williams song about wedded bliss and how once the first six months of marriage is over, if you can survive the following six months then ‘you can take it’ for the rest of your life. Some may remember the final song of the evening, the one that Mike sings about friends sharing things, an irreverent little ditty by Tom Lehrer: ‘ I love my friends and they love me …. Whatever we get we share’.
And so we ended the evening with a smile on our faces. What a brilliant evening it was. Thank you to everyone for joining us at the 6 Bells Folk and Blues. See you soon, Ella'
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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