14h September 2021
It was a damp and dewy starlit night….sounds like the beginning of a song! But it’s how it was. After a slightly slow start, we ended up with 12 performers outside and 2 in the back room. It will probably be our last outside gig this year, because the nights are drawing in and the air itself is becoming moister which isn’t good for our instruments or PA. So, hopefully, from the 28th September we’ll be back in the back room.
I’m so sorry if I don’t get all of the details right. I was trying to take photos, write notes and stay warm, which seems to be a little much for my poor old brain.
Simon brought his amp down and setup, like he always does, and opened up the evening with Calm before the Storm, Try a little Tenderness and his Brexit song. As always, his performance was clear and cool, with a touch of humour. Always enjoyable.
Manus followed with some slick jazz-style guitar and gave us his arrangements of Dylan’s ‘Don’t think Twice’, John Martyn’s ‘May You Never’, and ‘The First Time ever I saw Your Face’ which was made famous by Roberta Flack but originally written by Ewan MacColl (father of Kirsty) for Peggy Seeger in 1957. I do like to find out these little details! All tricky songs, and all played in true Manus style.
In the meantime, Greg was playing his electric double bass in the back room with a friend on acoustic guitar. He’d set up there and was worried about the damp air affecting his bass. I popped in a couple of times and there was some lovely music going on in there! Hopefully he’ll be able to join the rest of us when we all move inside!
Jason and Lisa were up next with their beautiful harmonies and totally sympathetic duet performances. They performed two of their own songs, ‘Go Gently into that Dark Night’, and ‘Song of Silhouettes’ followed by their rendition of ‘Ruby Tuesday’ as a tribute to Charlie Watts. Always a pleasure to listen to them.
It was lovely to see Clive, and he brought me a Sumac for my garden. Thanks Clive. He started with the politically incorrect ‘Water Melons’ song. Always good for a laugh although I couldn’t find any information on it. Then he sang his own song, ‘The Path’ and then ‘Caravan Girl so Fair’. Always lovely, clear performances from Clive, although I didn’t manage to find a couple of the writers. Sorry ☹
Ollie was up next, with his footrest, and gentle picking style. He gave us ‘She belongs to Me’, Dylan, and ‘Jersey Thursday’ by Donovan. A couple of lovely classics.
Helen was up next for her a Capella slot. Her first song was ‘On the Wings of a Nightingale, written by McCartney and performed by The Everly Brothers as a tribute to Don who left the building last month. This was followed by The Letter by the Box Tops, then Steph joined her for a performance of Wayfaring Stranger, a classic song the origins of which are unclear, but has recently had new life featuring in the film 1917. This was a touching rendition with some lovely harmonies.
Steph carried on with Some Kind of Love by John Stewart, then managed (almost) to keep a straight face through ‘Oh Pray Gentle Maiden’ otherwise known as The Chastity Belt song and I think might have been written by Jasper Carrot. The rest of us tittered!
We were pleased to welcome Peter Wilkins next, as a newcomer to The Six Bells Fold ‘n’ Blues. He opened with Ralph McTell’s ‘The Girl from the Hiring Fair’. I think this was followed by a song about the great explorer Matthew Flinders, but I had a loo break. Sorry Peter. His last song was his own composition about Britain’s Last Hangman, Harry Allen, called ‘An Ordinary Bloke’. Not easy to be a gentleman hangman. Apparently, he always wore a bowtie as a sign of respect but never lost any sleep over the hangings. He also worked as a bus driver and a publican. Interesting the things you learn hanging around Open Mic nights! Lovely to meet you and listen to your music Peter. I do hope you can come again.
Helga performed a classical flute piece on the flute, strangely haunting in the gathering dewy night, then sang ‘Let it Be’. She finally joined forces with Lisa for a performance of ‘Black is the Colour’, one of my favourites.
Keith Willson was up next with his own composition ‘Colonsay’. Keith’s guitar playing is always a pleasure to listen to. I love the way he can combine jazz, folk and classical influences to his music. He followed this with his arrangement of Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Georgia’. Lovely.
I followed with a couple of my own songs, ‘Double Entendre’ and ‘Lady by the Shore and finished with James Taylor’s ‘You’ve got a Friend, which I think is always a warming feelgood song! We were getting rather damp and chilly by then. Have I mentioned the damp before? It was starting to pour off people’s guitar cases and my scarf was definitely soggy!
Chris finished the evening with three of his own compositions, ‘The Man’, ‘Journey’ and ‘Scrapheap Blues’ all sung in his own inimitable style. I particularly enjoyed his rendition of Journey which I thought came over very well.
Thank you for coming everyone. Chris and I won’t be there next time. Hopefully we’ll be warmer, and dryer, in Madeira, but the evening will be held in the back room where we look forward to joining you all the following time.
31st August 2021
We might have expected better of the weather in August in the midst of a climate emergency but no, it was overcast and later on it got a bit chilly. But what we lacked with the weather we made up for with quality. A guitarist of the year and a radio star were among those who turned up to play.
I started the evening off with three songs then retired to a safe distance. I started with the Grateful dead song "Monkey and the Engineer", followed by "The Rocket" I don't know who wrote that and lastly my own composition "Too Much Snow". Anyone who wanted one could have a bonus track later and, with a nod to hurricane Ida, I chose the Randy Newman song Louisiana 1927.
Next came Chris Martin a man who has produced a number of CD's and is no stranger to the recording studio. From his back catalog he chose "Life's a Race", "It's Only My Time","Paper Wings" and "Toast for One". You will find all of these on Youtube if you are to look.
Chris was followed by the star of Paul Huggett's Golden Nuggets, Heather Currie who has recently released an album called "Old Friends" which is well worth a listen. Her songs were "Ruby Tuesday", "Sometimes" by Heather, Paddy McGinty's Goat and "Seasons" also by Heather.
Next up we had Guitarist of the Year Terry Lees. He was only Guitarist of the Year once for the simple reason that once you have won you are banned from standing again. What a great title and as you might expect we had a performance to match. Terry's offering were "Merrily Kiss the Quaker" and "Angie".
Accompanying Terry we had Greg on sax. It is always a treat when he turns up and fortunately he is versatile enough to sit in on most types of music. He later joined Helga and Terry in a jam and joined me on my final song.
Terry was followed by newcomers Leia and Geoff a very polished father and daughter combo. Leia sang the Billy Eiish number "Happier Than Ever" and I have to say if you know that number Leia had it down to a T. Dad Geoff accompanied on guitar. Clearly wanting to leave the punters wanting more, that was all we heard from Leia. Geoff then played an instrumental, the Irish tune "The Burren". Both were very polished and we hope to hear more of them in the future.
Helga's first song had a German title which is beyong my pay grade. She followed this with an extended jam with Terry and Greg which optimistically included "Summertime".. Helga has been learning jazz singing techniques and was able put this into practice.
Lastly we had Oliver Hill, he gave us some rock standards to finish the evening "I Can See Clearly", "Mr Tangerine Man" and "Donna, Donna" a great set to round off the evening.
Hopefully we will have greater numbers next time.
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