Tuesday November 27th
We all battled through blustery gusts and wet and winding roads to get here on this wet and windy November night. The room was very welcoming though, with a lovely roaring log fire crackling in the fireplace. I was a little bit concerned that we might be singeing while singing, but the fire soon settled down, and there was no need for me to be whingeing about singeing.
Tonight was going to be one of our famous ( And so popular) ! 'Theme Nights'.
'Travel Songs' was the choice this time. As with all themes, there is plenty of scope, and a whole lot of songs that can be found.
As host for tonight, I set off on the road with the Canned Heat song 'On the Road Again', written by Alan Wilson and Floyd Jones ,and I was accompanied on bass by Martin Lee, who had kindly offered to play along with anyone who wanted some backing. He has the smallest bass I've ever seen, a bass ukulele. ( U.Bass). He settled himself into place, and was there for the whole evening, giving us all some really nice extra sound. Thanks Martin.
Having done a song about being on the road, I thought about other ways of travel.... Ah yes! -- 'Trains and Boats and Planes'. So I chose Burt Bacharach and Hal David's song that had been a hit for him, and Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, and Dionne Warwick.
Ella Moonbridge kindly 'volunteered' to be on next, and came to the piano to give us a great version of Sandy Denny's 'North Star Grassman and the Ravens'. That's the way to travel, navigate by the North Star! She followed this with one of her favourite composer's songs, 'Woodstock' from Joni Mitchell. Ella always seems to make that old piano come alive, and there was a lovely high vocal note to finish.
Mark Lynch was here last time, together with John, but tonight just himself playing a couple of nicely done guitar instrumentals. Firstly, his own tune 'Moonrise', and then a good version of the guitar part from Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir'.
They say that Richard Thompson has ' astonishingly nimble fingers', and the same can certainly be said about Terry Lees. Terry proved this by playing Richard Thompson's 'Vincent Black Lightning', and then treating us to a lovely Irish tune - 'Kerry Road'. He told us that travel in Ireland was very slow at the time he was there. Bad roads ? - Or too many pubs?
It was good to see Jayne Ingles here again, and she came up with two travel songs in the form of Train Songs, 'Nowhere Train' by Carlene Carter and Anni O'Brien, and Elizabeth Cotten's 'Freight Train'. This song was made known by Peggy Seeger, and became a hit for skiffle man Chas McDevitt with singer Nancy Whiskey.
Chris Martin travelled away from his place on the sound desk to the microphone to give us two of his own compositions, 'Journey', and 'Another Journey' - both of which feature on his latest CD 'Journey Part 1'. On the CD cover is a picture of 'Panyan ', who many of us will easily recognise won't we !
Number seven on the list tonight was our dear friend Jason Loughran, appearing without Lisa Jackson this time, and giving us the nice 'Time in a bottle' by Jim Croce, followed by the Tom Waits number 'The Heart of Saturday Night'. Songs by Jason are always nicely done and with great feeling.
Manus McDaid is the Jazz Master, and took to the floor to play us first his great version of 'Got me on the Run', and second, James Taylor's 'Fire and Rain'. This title could be a good slogan for tonight's gathering, seeing that we've had the log fire inside and the rain outside.
Despite Simon Watts' scepticism about 'The Self - Writing Blog', he did actually give some information of his intended songs in advance. I like to think that rather than calling the idea 'The Self - Writing Blog', I prefer to call it -- 'Singer/Performer/Information/Exchange/Service ( S P I E S) .
Simon chose two travel songs. He hopped onto 'The City of New Orleans', written by Steve Goodman, and made famous by artists such as Arlo Guthrie and Willie Nelson, and then he got behind the wheel on 'The Road to Hell' by Chris Rea. Simon played the long version ,with the slow tempo intro, and then was joined by Ella on tambourine and with Martin continuing with bass as he has through the evening.
John Stephens played some nice guitar sounds on Eric Clapton's 'I can't Hold Out', which he followed with a very good take on the Jimi Hendrix song 'Hey Joe', written by Billy Roberts. With Martin Lee taking the part of Noel Redding , all we needed was Mitch Mitchell on drums to make it a real Experience.
Sylvie had arrived earlier clutching a sheet of paper on which was one of her songs, and this was the one about the cupboard full of all kinds of booze, sung to the tune of 'In the Bleak Midwinter' (Gustav Holst). -- And partly sung in French. A votre santé!
Last on the list but not least we had Oliver Hill who was here for the first time. He had been waiting patiently for his turn, and he played us a nice version of 'Donna Donna Donna,' made well known by Joan Baez, followed by the story of 'Stewball' which was done by Peter Paul and Mary.
There was still time to have a bit of second helpings from a few players, so we were served up 'I Like to be Sad' from Chris Martin ( by Chris Martin) , 'Good Morning
Blues' from Jason (by Leadbelly), 'Lady Franklin's Lament' from Ella ( trad.) , and a nice piece to finish from Manus ( by John Renbourne).
So, thanks to all who came tonight, and to Chris on the sound and Simon for setting up earlier. --- Oh - and thanks for those who took part in 'The Thank you Jug experiment' !
Next time will be the Christmas Party ! ( With singers and players as usual).
We dedicate this evening to the memory of Chris Lidiard who sadly died on November 23rd. Chris was greatly involved in the music community and much admired. He was a good friend to many people. We send our love and sympathy to his wife Jenny and to all his family and friends.
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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