15th October 2019
We have recently introduced the idea of arriving at 7.45 for an 8pm start. The idea is beginning to work, and quite a number of folk appeared before the clock struck eight. The trouble is, that it still takes time for everyone to settle in and get drinks from the bar, and for whoever is hosting the evening, to meet the players and organise the running list and get the excitement started up.
So, I was a little bit behind schedule to begin, -- in fact a shocking eight and three quarter minutes late! If other hosts can get it on at the stroke of eight, they will get a prize.
I got going with the up-tempo toe tapping number from Craig and Charlie Reid, The Proclaimers' 'I'm gonna be'. -- often referred to as ' I would walk five hundred miles', or just simply 'Five hundred miles'. This song features in the nice film 'Sunshine on Leith', as does the title song (Eponymous)! -- 'Sunshine on Leith'. --This leads me on to my Lisp Twisting Tongue Twister: 'It's my belief that the thwarted thoughtless thief has been released by the Leith police.
Try saying that in a hurry!
I often suffer a mental block in the middle of a song, and this time, I found myself singing " I would walk TEN THOUSAND miles, instead of five hundred. This would prove to be a strange case of coincidence or telepathy, later in the evening. I will tell you later.
My second song 'The Path' is one of my own creations. "The summer days have gone by, colder days will surely follow.........The early years are gone, older years will surely follow." By the way, have I ever mentioned that you can find my songs on Amazon? (Search my name). What's that I hear you say? "Yes Clive! You have actually mentioned it before!"
I asked Lance about his surname, and he told me. - That's why we just call him Lance Maleski. He has his book of his own compositions which he calls his 'Bible', and from it he gave us his song which exhorts us to eat our vegetables. ( Luckily not cabbage).
This was followed by 'Free', in which he has included quotes from Pink Floyd's 'Dark side of the Moon album, and from The Beatles' 'Abbey Road'. Lance has become a new recruit for working the sound desk, and tonight he has been serving his apprenticeship under the watchful eye of Chris Martin.
Tonight we had three players by the name of Mark. Mark One was our friend Mark Lynch, who , like Lance, has been welcomed as a regular member. Mark sat on our famous bar stool and gave us the traditional song that has several different titles, but known best as 'Wild Mountain Thyme'. Mark invited Ella and Heather to sing harmony on the choruses. Still sitting comfortably, he continued with Leonard Cohen's 'Sisters of Mercy'.
It's unusual to see Chris Martin sitting away from the sound desk, but with Lance at the controls, Chris was able to try a different chair. (Not such a comfortable one). Chris's songs are meaningful and complex, even though his first one was 'Simple Message'. Then he gave us another of his self -written pieces, 'The Man'.
Next up was Jim A'Cort, choosing two of his own songs for us to enjoy. Firstly, his song about ants. When I asked him what it's called, he said -"ANTS" -- I suppose I should have known. He marched on with ' How can you miss her?' ( When she won't go away).
Pete Tindall told me he hadn't been here for twenty years. It's taken him a long time to return. He played nice bottle neck slide guitar on both of his self -penned songs, firstly 'If I lived here', and then 'Lost Highway'. We enjoyed his music, but then suddenly he was gone.
Lucky number seven on the list was Heather Curry, hot foot/ or rather/ wet foot from her fund- raising swimming challenge. She has done the equivalent of swimming the English Channel. ( La Manche - if you want the French). Tres bien! Heather gave us 'I'm gonna be a country girl again', by Buffy Sainte Marie, and then she went on to explain the meaning of the saucy lyrics to her next offering. This was the traditional ditty ' Maids when you're young never marry an old man'.
Simon Watt (The Boss), always gives us a laugh, and tonight he told us a yarn about having to sit around a candle to keep warm. On really cold nights, they would light the candle. Simon also gives us a cool and calm performance every time, and his choice of songs is always just right. Tonight it was 'The Tennessee Waltz'- music by the amusingly named Pee Wee King, and lyrics by Redd Stewart. ( Not Rod Stewart). After this, came 'Honey Pie',a sort of old fashioned style song by Paul McCartney. Simon had some great accompaniment tonight from Greg on soprano saxophone.
Jason Loughran came to the floor to play a couple of solo pieces tonight. Often he is joined by Lisa Jackson, but she was unable to come tonight. We heard one of her own songs though, with Jason singing Lisa's 'Just for a while', and then to be a fair share, he did one of his own, 'Another year, another Song'.
Coming in at number 10 , - No, not Boris Johnson, but none other than Ella Moonbidge.
Ella's fingers are good on the piano, and also on the Bazooka which she chose to play tonight. She started up with one of her favourites, 'Carey'. I've only ever enjoyed this song done by just two people -- Joni Mitchell, and Ella Moonbridge. Her second song was featured in the lovely film 'Fly away home', and done by Mary Chapin Carpenter. --And here is the telepathic coincidence that I mentioned earlier: 'Ten Thousand Miles' was the title, and I had sung that I would walk ten thousand miles. Hey, spooky? Isn't that interesting! No, not really.
Jamie Lynch (no relation to Mark Lynch),had been waiting patiently to come up to give us two of his own songs, firstly, 'Hang', and then 'Little Things'. Thanks Jamie, it was worth waiting for.
Also showing great patience was our second Mark of the evening, Mark Woodgate, playing bottleneck slide guitar, and giving us 'Death Letter Blues' by the American blues musician Son House, ( Not to be confused with the short - lived English band Sunhouse). He followed this with one of his own songs, 'Sycophantic Blues'. Is a sycophant someone who is sick of ants?
Then came our third Mark of the evening, Mark Sampson, down from London, and he sung a great song written by a veteran of the D Day Landings of seventy five years ago, Jim Radford, 'The Shores of Normandy'. Mark then did one of his own compositions 'Seagulls'. (Brighton and Hove FC).
We were just about finished now, but I decided as host,that I would like to do one more number to end with, the up-tempo song by Canned Heat,' Going up Country'. There was a tiny mishap as I got into the song, when my guitar strap, which was twisted, became un-hitched, and I became un-hinged. Losing your guitar strap is one of those problems second only to breaking a string. Anyway, it was all part of the entertainment.
So, having started the evening eight and three quarter minutes late, we also finished eight and three quarter minutes late. -- Good timing!
Thanks go to Simon and Chris as always, and also to Lance for running the sound desk tonight. Thank you to all of those who come, and who stay to the end.
Earlier this evening, Simon mentioned a forthcoming concert by Linde Nijland, who sings Sandy Denny songs, so my first video choice is one of Sandy Denny herself.
My second one should be of interest to all guitar players, - a top twenty list of acoustic guitar intros.
Then a drum solo by Ginger Baker, who sadly died earlier this month.
I’ve been doing a bit of research recently into the ubiquitous ‘blog’. Looks like we’re going to start one at work and all my instincts tell me not to.
The etymology of the word ‘blog’ is ‘web log’, ‘log’ of course being a record of important events in the management, operation and navigation of a ship. Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise always logged his ship’s adventures. I can hear him now: “Captain’s log; stardate 43421.9…" You always knew what you were going to get with the Captain’s log!
Not so the blog. It seems that anything and everything goes. And worst of all, the standard of writing horrifies me!
Having been in the publishing industry for decades, I am cynical. I raise my eyes in exasperation at the endless badly written streams of consciousness and so-called expert comment and opinion being thrust into the written word and littering the web like plastic in the sea. (Consider cutting down this sentence – Ed.) Blogs abound! There are blogs on how to write a blog, top tips on titles, recommendations for word count and content and, crucially, how to get your blog read. Everyone has become a writer! And not one blog is edited! (Don’t overdo the use of exclamation marks – Ed.)
One of my first jobs was in a London publishing house run by an ex-Fleet Street bulldog, whose pencil was as sharp as the Grim Reaper’s scythe. He was ruthless in his editing. Sentences were slashed, words were chopped, paragraphs lacerated. I was taught how to spot a badly written article and a tedious travelogue from a hundred paces… and how to turn them into a good read. (We won’t test you on this – ED.)
Still, I think of myself as a liberal, tolerant soul and I know that creativity must find a release. So, I must consider that whatever our personal views on how good or bad a piece of writing is, if a blog allows for creativity and expression and provides something positive to the blogger, then it is surely a ‘good thing’, isn’t it?
The same can be said of the open mic night. It’s a platform for creativity and expression. It’s inclusive. Anyone can pick up a guitar and come along to the SBFBC and sing something. By its very nature, an open mic night allows for all levels of skill and experience, just as a blog does. Yes, we all have a view on what makes a good or bad performance, or a good or bad song. One man’s delight is another man’s displeasure. But those of us who participate, recognise that we are all amateurs on various levels. We accept what each night brings and, most of all, we enjoy the experience of performing (I use ‘enjoy’ loosely here). I’m sure we all take home something pleasurable from each night too, whether it’s hearing an interesting interpretation of an old song, or gaining inspiration from an original composition.
Last Tuesday’s singer’s night at the Six Bells was indeed an example of inclusivity and variety. Regular performers gathered to support each other, encourage others and welcome new arrivals. We had singer-songwriter Jim join us again and share his songs with us. An American called Mark, who just happened to be visiting with friends, decided to step up to the mic and what a treat it was to hear him.
Our new committee members Heather, Mark and Lance, breathing new life and vigour into the club, entertained us with their individual music styles. Ella, Simon, Clive and Jason, unquestioning supporters of the SBFBC, made us smile, laugh and reflect. Songs reinterpreted, covers sung straight, self-penned songs of love and loss and laughter. The evening was a successful one, rounded off by Mark and John duetting with guitar and mandolin, to “In Days Gone By”. Variety is indeed the spice of life.
Conclusion? Well, with this blog, I have added more unruly words and poorly strung-together sentences to an already blog-overloaded world wide web. (Overdoing it on the adjectives here – Ed.) But I’ve enjoyed it and that’s what’s important, isn’t it? Whether you’ll read it is another matter!
Until we meet again on this musical journey - “Beam me up Scotty!” Lisa
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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