20th September 2016
This is an evening that started with teamwork. The task was to set up the sound system which was good because everyone learned something from the exercise. We, for the first time experimented with an instrument mic, which greatly improved with the amplification of Chris (Lid’s) guitar.
And so I started the evening with Abilene followed Easy Money a Martin Simpson song. Then came Chris Martin, he played us his own compositions Ghosts and Music of the Road. It is always tough going on second but as he had to get away early this was good timing. Clive was next, he chose to play Fields of Gold and the Steeleye Span song Harvest of the Moon, but was it to the tune of Elsie Marly?
The first victim of the sound desk was Ella. It must be recognised that in every sound system lives a tortured spirit that makes its presence felt by screaming at inappropriate moments. This is called feedback, in this instance provoked by a microphone that had gone rogue (they do that). So having deafened Ella she bravely battled through After the Gold Rush and Love me like a Man on piano. Ella had run the sound desk up to this point without incident so this was all very unfair (but life’s like that).
What can I say about Mark Samson, now a superstar, he was once one of the leading lights of the Folk & Blues Club. You can’t bottle up talent like that in a small village like Chiddingly so it was inevitable that we would find his way to London and fame. With song titles such as The Bankers and the Twats you know you are in for an interesting evening (I blame the parents). He has a new CD and I have been looking at his lyrics, I stand by my observation that he is at heart a Punk Poet.
How time fly’s, this was the name of Chris’s song, and time was flying. The evening was quickly disappearing. I had earlier persuaded a rather dubious Penny that that I could back her singing Trouble in Mind and Bring it on home to me. The first number went without a hitch but I had to deploy my secret weapon in the shape of Mike Aldridge to provide her with a decent accompaniment of Bring it on home to me in “A”. Hopefully Penny was happy with the result and it is a shame for her to come and not sing. Well done Penny (and Mike).
Mike then gave us Key to the highway and the D. W. Stoneking classic Jungle Lullaby. Derry took to the piano and played Etude by Chopin and rather inappropriately Spring Song.
Approaching the end of the evening it was time for Helga who started with a dance tune Bourree on flute helped by Ella on base and then changed to guitar for a Joni Mitchell song Kerry. Not being a "mean old daddy", as the night was still young, I offered her the chance to play an extra song and she chose Me and Bobby McGee.
So after another entertaining evening it was time to pack up the equipment and head home. Well done everyone.
6th September 2016 - Back at the helm and complete with my Bowler I sat and waited for the musicians. I’d arrived early to enjoy some peace and quiet, tweak the PA settings and scoff my Six Bells shepherd’s pie and veg - the veg makes me feel like it’s a healthy choice. It was hot and sticky in the music room and my head was perspiring under the snug fit of my hat. Once upon a time the Bowler was de rigueur for city gents and the headwear of choice for most cowboys - perhaps they all liked the feel of sweat running down their face.
It was still pretty quiet and lacking people as my intended 8:45 start time came and went. Roy has been a regular in the audience and we’ve had a few chats about him doing a bit of piano, but he mysteriously disappears when it’s his time to play. After some tough negotiations, I got him to open for us and it sounded great: ‘The wonder of you’ (Baker Knight).
People continued to roll in and as ever we eventually had enough performers for a full evening of entertainment. The eclectic mix of older men (many with beards) and their guitars were cunningly dispersed by your MC between a couple of our star female performers, a female poet and a three man band, who were normally a six man band.
I did a couple of songs off my ‘The last Song’ album http://www.cjmartin.info/albums.htm#last ‘Insomniac’s dream’ - ‘On paper wings’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HaRaqLZAO4 I needed a performer and everyone was being sheepish. Clive was running the desk (thanks Clive) and was therefore in my eye line, so he got the nod and gave us a melodic bit of Cat Stevens from his early Cat Stevens period and then did an Australian song about pink parrots: ‘Father and son’ (Cat Stevens) ‘Galleries of pink galahs’ (John Williamson).
Anne’s a regular listener, but hasn’t been on the metaphorical stage for a while, so I asked her to give us one of her distinctive agricultural poems. ‘Over reaction’ told an amusing tale of the life of a naughty pig.
Simon had been in earlier and set up the PA, which makes life a lot easier for everyone else (thanks Simon). He was buying into my philosophy of do your own songs and gave us a new one and an older one with a new bit in it. There was stuff about a dead Uzbekistan dictator and some mirth at the expense of Keith Vaz: ‘I’m glad to be alive right now’ - ‘I refuse to sing the blues’.
Lisa was just back from her extended summer vacation in Italy: ‘Careless love’ (Traditional) - ‘Until it’s time for you to go’ (Buffy Sainte-Marie).
John was joined by Rob on his Telecaster: ‘Tell him what you want’ - ‘It hurts me to’ (Standard) - ‘Dark end of the street’ (Dan Penn and Chips Moman).
Ella had a new pickup for her Bouzouki and it was stuck on with magic chewing gum. It fell off and the gum was re-masticated and then did its job - actually, it gave the instrument a really good sound: ‘As I roved out’ (Cathal O'Byrne) - ‘Fields of Athency’ (Pete St. John).
It was time for Corin (vox & harmonica), Tom (guitar & vox) & Simon (electric piano) to entertain us. This was the acoustic incarnation of their normal six- piece ensemble, Conspirators: ‘Johnny Dep’ - ‘The day Kelly Ross died’ - ‘Red at night’ - ‘Painting you over’. You can see the Conspirators at the Chiddingly Festival on 1/10/16.
Jason on Ovation gave us one of his and the last song written by Bob Marley: ‘Colours red black & blue’ - ‘Redemption song’ (Bob Marley).
Mike Aldridge on his Ovation: ‘Ruff and tuff’ (Stranger Cole) - ‘No good hooligan wife’. I asked a trio of 12-bar men to close the evening: Mike (guitar), John (guitar & vox) & Rob (Telecaster): ‘Howlin’ for my darling’ (Howlin’ Wolf).
Another one done and dusted, we packed away the PA and headed for home. Thank you very much and Goodnight x
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