14th May 2018
It was my pleasure to host another evening of music at the Six Bells and I was thrilled with the number of people who turned up. As before my job as host was made all the easier by my friends who set up the PA and prepared the running order. All I had to do was stand behind the mic and be the anchor man!
And so I started off the evening with my own gentle ballad 'Simple Smiling Face' following it with 'Handbags & Gladrags' (Michael D'Abo). As I mentioned, the other Rod Stewart classic that I considered covering was 'Do you think I'm sexy?' but I need more courage to don those leopard skin patterned tights for your delectation. Maybe next time!
One of the advantages of starting the evening is that I don't have to follow such guitar masters as Terry Lees, who played dazzling versions of 'Vincent Black Lightning' (Richard Thompson) and Scottish bag-pipe tune 'Eilean Donan'. I sat right in front of Terry and was just in awe of how he played his Martin guitar.
And then another of my favourite guitarists on the scene, Manus McDaid, took the stage and treated us to his unique jazz stylings as he performed wonderful versions of 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat' (music by Charles Mingus with the later added lyrics by the divine Joni Mitchell) and 'Georgia on my Mind' (Stuart Gorrell / Hoagy Carmichael) on which he played many beautiful chords. My relatively pedestrian guitar version of 'Georgia . . ' would be heard later in the evening, as I accompanied my dear friend Lisa who sang beautifully as always.
George & Mary performed a lovingly gentle version of The Doors classic 'Light My Fire', with a nice hint of Jose Feliciano's version, following with an engaging ''Storms never lost' (Miranda Lambert).
For rousing and gutsy classic blues our next performer always delivers and Penny was thrilling as she stormed through 'Trouble in Mind' (Richard M. Jones) and 'This Train' (the traditional US gospel song, originally made famous by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, after the song was discovered by folklorists John and Alan Lomax). Penny was brilliantly accompanied by Terry Lees on guitar and Keith Willson on piano. And yes, the piano may have a few out of tune keys, but that added to its bar-room credibility, and Keith played it for real.
Glyn then played a deeply moving couple of songs, 'How times slips away' (Willie Nelson) and the chilling 'Hurt' (Trent Reznor), which, of course, we all remember as covered by the great Johnny Cash. Glyn just understands and loves this music so deeply and it was quite emotional watching him sing and play at such close distance.
Paula's performances I have always enjoyed, having seen her play at several open mic nights in recent months, and tonight was no exception as she treated us to her lovely song 'Jug of red wine' and an engaging Elizabethan guitar instrumental. I hope to hear more of Paula's music in the future.
Now if an award for most sartorially controversial T-shirt is to be made then hands-down winner has to be Simon Watt sporting his Kim Jong-un emblazoned piece of apparel. Well, we need to move on from Che Guevara, don't we? Anyway, the music! Simon played gentle versions of 'Sometimes we cry' (Van Morrison) and 'Firestorm' (Danny Schimdt).
As well as doing a fabulous job on the sound desk Chris Martin also treated us to two of his own songs. Chris is probably one of the most prolific song-writers on the scene and tonight he performed 'I want to learn' and 'Hanging on', which he is currently recording for his new album, which I look forward to hearing.
Bob Aldridge is a beautifully gentle performer and he engaged us yet again with the classic 'Sweet Baby James' (James Taylor), effortlessly inspiring us all to sing along. His equally subtle version of 'Your Song' (Elton John/Bernie Taupin) calmly followed.
It is always pleasure to have a new performer join our scene and Heather Curry is a lovely lady and most charming singer and guitarist and she opened with 'Little Green' (Joni Mitchell) from the classic 'Blue' album. Heather is wonderful to have on our scene and I was also glad to have her play at my "Open Space" music evening in Lewes last Sunday. She followed with her mirthfully cutting song 'Show me yours' and we all hope she will regularly return to play at the Six Bells.
It was a lovely evening particularly as we enjoyed a variety of female performers and Anita Jardine is another rousing performer who always makes one smile and tonight she beguiled us with 'Wicked Game' (Chris Isaac) and her own socially aware song 'Little Bit Gypsy'. Aren't we all? Absolutely. And we must thank Terry Lees, who once again provided brilliant improvised accompaniment to Anita.
I was lucky to be able to perform a couple of songs with my dear friend Lisa, with whom I have been building up a duo act with in recent months. Lisa is the loveliest singer and guitarist and it was beautiful to go back to our original favourite song 'Georgia on my Mind' (Stuart Gorrell / Hoagy Carmichael). Some songs just define one's life and help us through and this is just one of those. The road leads back to you, indeed. Lisa played some lovely guitar as well as delivering the prettiest vocal of the evening. Another song we are really finding expression in is 'Wonderful World' (Sam Cooke / Lou Adler / Herb Alpert), which is so simple, but resonates so much.
Yet another of my favourite guitarists and musicians on the scene, Keith Willson, got up next to play his bittersweet 'Too sad to sing the blues', picking out his own rootsy melange on that most handsome guitar of his. I do enjoy the dynamic of poetry interspersed with music at these evening so it was so welcome to hear Keith read his poem 'The Organist' from a published book of his verse.
Our dear friend Clive got up next to play his topical song 'Marry Harry', featuring his new lyric to The Beautiful South's evergreen classic pop hit. He then treated us to 'Lilac Wine' (James Shelton) to ease us towards the end of the night.
Sylvie then got up to lead us all into a singalong 'Sing me a song, Mr Blue'.
And so we finished with John Pontefract, who played 'The old, old house' (George Jones) and 'How can a poor man stand such times and live' (Woody Guthrie), with a nod to the great Ry Cooder.
Such a full evening. I was very touched by everyone's support.
Let's do it again and fill that room with love.
Until then, you all take care, my friends.
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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