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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