14th November 2017
I clocked in early for a chicken pie with veg and after the sound check sat back and waited for the players and fans to role in. First to show were the four white horsemen of the apocalypse - ok, it was just four of the regulars from the White Horse evening, which no longer resides at said venue - after a nomadic period of pub hops they’ve now settled at Deanland. Anyway, a splattering of regulars and a couple more horsemen rode in and we were ready to ride.
9 acts and 11 players, so time for three songs each. 8:45 and I said ‘Good evening’ and opened with my open mic night classic, ‘I like to be sad’, which closes with the immortal words, ‘Now would you like a proper song about sadness and loss, or should I just clear off cause no one gives a toss’. Not a murmur from the stables, so I launched into ‘Journey’, my newest composition, followed by ‘What’s in a life’, which bemoans that open mic phenomena of men tuning guitars… and as the song says: ‘For (rude word beginning with F)’s sake just tune up before you go on’. After this warning, I can report that there was very little machine-head twiddling on stage and nearly everyone sounded in tune!
Time for some Jazzzz, ‘nice’ - Manus flew into ‘Little Wing’ and then gave us his Vladimir Putin inspired version of Blueberry Hill - yes, there really is a version by Vlad on You Tube https://youtu.be/IV4IjHz2yIo and to close we got a bit of Stones and ‘Honky Tonk Women’.
Country pickin’ time: it was great to have Glyn back at the Bells - he was joined on ‘Country Cocking’ by Paula with tambourine and BVs. ‘Big River’ is my fav Johnny Cash song and Glyn did a great version for me. He called his capo a ‘cheater’, the only other time I’ve heard it described as such is on a live Grateful Dead album, ‘Bear’s Choice’. To close a great set of Americana, we got ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ - ‘You know, feelin' good was good enough for me’.
Paula paying her first visit to our little evening, started with ‘Drift away’ and then played one of her own compositions, ‘I wish’, in which she wishes to be ‘the girl of your dreams’. Food and drink featured in Paula’s third song, which seemed to revolve round a jug of red wine.
George & Mary (two voice & guitar): John Prine’s ‘I know one’ - Phil Ochs’s ‘There but for fortune’. For their final number, Luther Perkins (ie Glyn) joined them on Johnny Cash’s ‘I still miss someone’.
Simon was on the desk tonight - thanks. Three self-penned ditties, all with his unique underlying humour. First up, he regaled us with ‘Too much snow’ complete with Dylanesk kazoo solos. ‘The Togglers Anthem’ was prequeled with a rambling story of a 17 year old Simon, a chap called George, a boat, some scaffolding, a van and a unique AA type service for cars and boats that didn’t float for long. Simon’s closing song was called simply, ‘Kim Jong-Un’ and was about a rocket man. I suggest he watches out for men with umbrellas and young woman who approach him in public places.
Clive and his Rhythm Devils gave us Canned Heat’s ‘Let’s work together’, and we did - Horseman corner were fired up and banging away on a malaise of rattily percussion instruments. Question: Is percussion instruments an oxymoron? In a world of covers, it’s good to hear folks play their own songs - Clive revisited his younger days with an early composition, ‘Two sides’ and reckoned bar an octave on the voice it would have sounded the same back in those halcyon days of his wild youff. Tabacco Road, complete with enthusiastic percussion section drew down the curtain on Clive’s set.
Jason and his Ovation gave us a bit of Leadbelly - ‘Take this hammer’ - some Beatles: ‘You’ve got to hide your love away’ and for his finale, the Stone’s ‘Wild horses’ - them horses are just crazy and they get everywhere.
The last of the horsemen sang about Love, Heart, Blues & Hurt: Andy (12 string) & Marilyn (6-string) opened with ‘I love you and you don’t love me’ followed by ‘Open season of our heart’ and to finish, Dylan’s ‘Living the blues’ which segued into ‘I don’t hurt no more’.
Nearly bedtime, which meant a bit of ‘Toast for one’ https://youtu.be/mhnIUH7cW90 from me, with Simon on BVs, dancing & lead kazoo and the audience on ubiquitous shaky percussion stuff and some lead guitar. 11:00 and I said goodnight - we packed the PA and the horsemen flew away. x
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