22nd January 2019
This is my grumpy face, I thought I would share it with you. It is because we started at 6 minutes past eight, yes six whole minutes late! We can and must do better than this. Next time we will start at seven fifty-four to make up this lost time. Ella, please note.
My first song, sung over the sound of people talking, walking about, opening guitar cases, standing with their back to me and (not that I am complaining) generally ignoring me, was aptly “I’d rather be lonely” by Louden Wainwright lll, I followed this with Gillian Welch’s “Annabelle”.
The evening went downhill from there and when I tell you that Chris Martin (yes, Chris Martin) had to tune his guitar before he could start you can see what a pitiless hand I had been dealt. Anyhow, Chris growled his way through “Ghost” and followed this with “Tick Tock” this time with a metronome making the tick-tock sound. The highlight of his performance was Simon on his sax – don’t take my word for it you can see it for yourself on the new YouTube channel – here.
Keith Willson then stepped forward with a very funny poem about “Athletes Foot” – all the reasons to avoid swimming pools you will ever need, set to rhyme - more of Keith later.
I don’t know what our swimming instructress Heather thought of the poem, she wisely didn’t say. Instead she played us Jim Croce’s “Time in a bottle” on her mellow nylon strings. She also sung for us “So far away” by Carole King.
Mark is fairly new to the 6 Bells and made a terrible mistake – he sat right at the back where there is no heating! This meant playing Rudy Toomes’s “One scotch, one bourbon, one beer” with frostbitten fingers. He then bravely attempted a guitar piece during which one of his frozen fingers detached, fell through the sound-hole, and rattled irritatingly throughout. Never mind Mark, we have all made this mistake at some time or another.
Then came the turn of John with a couple of songs by Bob Fox, “The year will rise up again” and “Virginia”. I don’t know about the rabble but I was seriously impressed. This is a man who can really present, sing and play - so I don’t suppose we will be seeing him again (but we can hope).
Lance is another song-smith honing his skills and he came up with two great songs “My dad” and “Happy new year”, both were well executed and interesting. At this point I thought we were on a roll and then George, Mary, Helen and Roberto decided that an hour and forty minutes was too long to wait to play, and left, leaving a big hole in my list and the audience. What can you do?
Fortunately Natasha, who we have not seen for a while is more patient and, as always, produced some great traditional ballads “When first I came to Caledonia” and “Barrack Street”.
Time for the Lisa & Jason combo. Jason started with the Doors,” Wishful , sinful” and was joined by Lisa singing one of his father Gerry’s songs which, if only they had remembered the new policy of emailing the song list to the blogger, I could name. Then “Into the white” by Cat Stevens.
More poetry now from Sylvie. Rabbie Burn’s “My heart is in the Highlands” and his famous “Dormouse” – you know, the the one about the “wee timorous beastie”.
Talking of beasties, Keith and Simon returned for a little cooool jazz. “Take five” followed by a very moody “Over the rainbow”. Keith on keyboard and Simon again on sax, both pieces sounding as if they had practised for weeks although I know this was not the case. Ah, if only I had their musical intelligence (or any other form for that matter).
Up next was the late night coffee guzzling Manus. Considering the temperature in the room “Light my fire” was a great (or grate) choice. He then surprised us by saying he would play a Country & Western number – no, I couldn’t believe it either. Hank William’s “Your cheating heart” – with lots of sharps and flats in it – who knew?
Finally and gallantly came Clive who has patience down to an art form (give him a good spot next time Ella). Clive did indeed send me an email to say what he would be playing it read; “The Letter” by American band The Box Tops from 1967, written by Wayne Carson Thompson and “Love minus Zero” by someone called Bob Dylan”. He was worth the wait.
Lastly, I finished the evening with “Bring it on home to me” by Sam Cooke, accompanied on sax by Simon. I have to say, I really enjoyed Simon’s sax backing – he is a great asset to the fun of the evening.
I hope you enjoy my selection of videos, some great performances starting with Mary Gautier supported by Mary Elizabeth on violin. If you don’t know J D Souther, he is a singer songwriter and had collaborated with many big names and bands, most notably, The Eagles. Neil Young is always a joy but I think this unplugged performance is especially good – I love his backing singers.
Thanks to Chris for running the sound, Heather for the photo and to Lisa for sorting out the jug.
Next time Ella is running the evening. Don’t forget, get to the Six Bells early, coats off (or on if you sit at the back), guitars out of their cases and in tune, drinks bought, sitting quietly in your chairs ready to start at seven fifty-four – I know she will appreciate it. Thanks for coming, and for those who did, staying. I will be running the club again in May – can’t wait!
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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