It was one of those quiet evenings that has a slow start, but we started none-the-less. I began this evening of no particular theme with the Irish traditional ‘As I Roved Out’, followed by a song I wrote for the Songwriters’ evening earlier in the year: ‘Bless the South London Irish’. This was a song about my dad, but I added another verse to bring it up to date. Having just upgraded my bazouki to the more usual flat-back Irish style, I was enjoying the warmer tones. It’s a beautiful thing, and I felt that it compensated even more effectively for my lack of virtuosity.
Clive played next and observed that when he had arrived, the place was like the Marie Celeste but without the plates of food. Simon had been along earlier to set up, thank you so much Simon, but Clive found himself alone. The room soon became more lively as our audience filled out. He gave us Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘Early Morning Rain’ followed by Don McLean’s ‘Starry, Starry Night’ as a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh: ‘This world was never meant for anyone as beautiful as you…’
Keith Wilson followed, playing guitar to accompany two of his own songs. The first he described as a ‘silly’ song ‘Do Something, Say Something’ and then ‘Too Sad to Sing the Blues’ in his own unique jazz blues style.
Simon took the stage and told us about his daughter’s wedding at Lewes Castle on the Saturday following the Reggae Evening. When his wife asked if he was feeling emotional , his reply was that he just didn’t have enough breath having climbed 152 steps before even walking his daughter down the aisle. He had also gone with a generous supply of festival-style rain ponchos, but his daughter’s optimism about the weather, won the day. Simon tells a good story. He decided to sing Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’: may God bless and keep you always, may your wishes all come true…..
More of the wedding story was shared. As father of the bride Simon was aware of the onerous responsibility of making a speech. He had missed Reggae Night, having planned to focus on this mission whilst alone for the evening. He sought advice from the usual advisory service at the pub, where all ‘experts’ directed him to the internet. Having consulted the ideas of Churchill, Martin Luther King and Kermit the Frog, he was left with his own integrity on the subject, since he didn’t want to win a war or woo a frog.
‘The night came down like a party dress.....' Simon sang Gillian Welch’s gently waltzing ‘Barroom Girls’.
Mike Foy changed the pace and the volume with a punchy version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going to California’. There were some technical issues with a mic which lead to a ‘more reliable Mike’ as the offending piece of equipment was replaced. More reliable Mike went on to sing an emotionally charged song about Brexit which included the use of two capos. ‘A Leaving Song’ written at 3 in the morning.
Mike Aldridge offered us some humour in his usual inimitable way with a song about poisoning pigeons in the park and maybe a squirrel or two, with his sweetheart. He’s such a romantic. The romantic theme continued with a song about friends who share everything with each other.
As often happens on these evenings, there is great variety in the songs which are performed. Chris Liddiard followed with two of his pensive songs which contemplate the nature of existence and mortality: ‘Where the Hell am I Going?’ and ‘Will we be Singing in Heaven or Singing in Hell?’ He did observe that he used to write love songs, but times have changed. He also reminded us that at the next White Horse evening everyone will be singing his songs back to him. That’ll be an interesting night to remember.
Liz and Derren have visited the club before, but not for sometime. Their daughter Bunny was going to join them but decided to leave it for another time. They sing duets to the accompaniment of Derren on guitar and Liz on Auto-harp. With some really lovely harmonies, they gave us John Holt’s ‘In My Neighbourhood’ and ‘Angel Band’, a Stanley Brothers song.
There was time from another song from most folks and Simon began the last round reminding us that in four weeks’ time we have a ‘songs from the 50s’ evening which he will be running. ‘Try a little Tenderness’ was his final song of the evening and Mike Foy gave us a blues number: ‘Ramblin’ on My Mind’. Clive followed with a Percy Sledge song that for some reason moved the music stand so deeply, that it attempted to throw the words all over the floor. Chris Liddiard sang ‘Never felt more Like Singing the Blues’ which he remembers from the days of doing a paper round in 1955. This was a song made famous by Guy Mitchell and Tommy Steel. Mike Aldridge wound up the evening with another tender love song, the ‘Masochist’s Tango’. This was quite hilarious and it was unfortunate that not more people were left at this point to join in the laughter. So the evening had been up and down and around the full arena of human experience and emotions and ended up with a laugh. Nice one Mike.
Thank you again Simon for setting up and to Clive for manning the sound desk. We look forward to 9th August when Clive will be hosting the evening. See you all soon J Ella
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