Tuesday August 9th. It's a year since I have hosted the evening. I would have been on duty back in April, but sadly, there was a funeral in the village that day, and the pub was the venue for the funeral reception, so the music night was cancelled, and I had to wait till now for my turn to come around again.
As I parked the car, a convoy of vintage cars pulled in to the car park, and the drivers and passengers swarmed into the pub. I squeezed myself past the noisy crowd of revellers in the bar, - thinking to myself that there would be lots of people already in the music room. But I was wrong. The place was completely deserted and in darkness. Luckily,all the sound equipment was set up and ready -- thanks to Simon Watt, who has kindly taken on the tricky job of getting it organised earlier in the day. -- Thank you Simon!
I was beginning to think that it would be a quiet night, but of course I need not have worried. Gradually, as usual, people began to filter in from the bar, and players and singers arrived with their instruments. This is always the surprising thing about the Folk and Blues club. It always fills up. -- But - if we know that it always fills up -- it shouldn't be surprising - should it ? !
At 8.45, we decided we should get started, rather than wait till 9pm as we sometimes do.
I began, with the Gerry Rafferty song 'The Royal Mile'. This refers to The Royal Mile in Edinburgh , where, as it happens, the Edinburgh Festival began this very same week! I followed with 'Fiddlers Green' by John Connolly. -- I've always thought this was a traditional song, but it's not. We decided that there might be time actually for three songs each instead of just two, so I turned over another page in my song book and found 'Lilac Wine' by James H. Shelton ; made famous by Nina Simone and Elkie Brooks.
There was a vacancy for the second slot on the list, so Simon Watt bravely stepped in next, and gave us 'Company of Friends' by Danny Schmidt. Then he told us one of his stories. -- About a missing sock. There is a crafty crow in the village who has taken a liking to stealing such things. -- Or was it Arnold Lane? -- Obviously a case of 'Crow's Feet', or maybe 'Pigeon Toes'. -- Then he got back to singing about 'Dead man's teeth in a Bottle'. ( I keep mine in a glass). After that, it was nice to hear his take on Bob Dylan's 'She Belongs to Me'. -- Nice.
Chris Martin took the floor after Simon, and he used the time to sing 'Tick- Tock' by the well - known song writer Chris Martin. For his second number he was joined by Helga playing on flute and sang another self- penned work , -'Sanity'. Do any of us know what sanity is ?' It sounded very good anyway. Chris finished with Jim Stafford's 'Spiders and Snakes'. I don't like spiders and snakes either.
Next on, were two new visitors up from Eastbourne, here for the first time -- Richard and Lizzie. Lizzie introduced the song 'Fear a bhata' - a Scottish song in Gaelic ('Boatman' in English) . Very nicely sung, with Richard on guitar and harmony, then followed with Cathie Ryan's 'Someone Waits for Me.' Lizzie left the floor for Richard to sing ''It Suits me Well' . His own song (I think). ? We hope you can both come again.
At number five we had Ella Moonbridge who came with her lovely new Bazooka, and her acoustic bass guitar. - She doesn't play them both at the same time. Ella chose to do just two songs, and she very nicely soothed us with Alison Krauss' 'Simple Love' , and then 'Can't Find my Way Back Home' from Blind Faith, by Steve Winwood.
Dave Backley can be found at The Blackboys music nights, and he came along to us tonight with three songs and also helped us out with some technicalities on the sound desk. Dave kicked off with George Gershwin's 'Summertime' ( a well known song at this time of year), and then Joni Mitchell's 'Woodstock'. I've only just learned that Joni never actually was at the festival herself. She was dating Graham Nash at the time,and he described it all to her, as well as her seeing it on TV. (interesting fact). Dave ended with one of his own songs, which he told me was as yet untitled, but he said call it 'Presidents and Monuments'.
Lucky number seven was Chris Liddiard with some of his own fine songs. Sometimes we don't get to hear Chris till a lot later in the evening, but tonight he got on earlier, which was good. He gave us 'Hard Time Blues', and then spoke about the high price of Levi jeans. (Try Matalan) ? The song of course was 'My Old Blue Jeans'. I'm afraid I didn't catch the title of the other song he did. But it was nice.
Time now for Mike Aldridge - The Man with the Hat- (and beard). Mike plays some great rocking blues numbers, and tonight he brought us 'Jungle Lullaby' from C.W. Stoneking and then the very painful 'Masochism Tango' by Tom Lehrer. -- Not painful to listen to, but painful to imagine! - Perhaps there should be a matching song called - - 'Sadism Samba'. Mike's third song was 'White Boy Lost in the Blues' by Lyle Lovett. "Will you like this song?" ---- " Yes- I'll love it."
Another appearance from Helga, this time sitting and playing guitar. She gave us 'Stormy Weather' by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. Was it English or German weather she was referring to? Maybe the EU climate.. This led on to 'Me and Bobby McGee' by Kris Kristofferson. Yes , Helga plays guitar and flute, - but again - not both at the same time.
At number ten we had Derry stepping up to the old trusty piano - or should that be the old Rusty Piano? Anyway, he makes it sound good, and he brought a bit of culture to us with two classical pieces - Chopin's 'Nocturne', and Schubert's 'Serenade'. Thank you Derry, we all need a bit of culture.
It was good to have started the evening early, because it gave everyone a chance to do more than just the usual two songs. We had just the right number of players tonight to fill the time.
But there was just a bit more time left for us try a bit of 'Jamming' together. So, totally un-rehearsed, we joined up to play Canned Heat's 'On the Road Again'. On guitars we had Chris Martin, Mike Aldridge, and me. On bass we had Ella Moonbridge, and on flute, Helga, alongside Rupert Cobb on trumpet. The most important part was performed by Simon Watt -- on tambourine.
It's the kind of song that could go on forever, if you let it, but after several improvised solos from the flute and the trumpet we gradually brought it to an end. -- And that brought the evening to an end.
It was great to see a few extra faces as well as our regular friends, and some new visitors. I reckon it was better than staying home to watch The Olympics on TV. Thanks for coming, everyone, and thank you to Simon,Ella,Chris and Dave for sharing the sound desk work.
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