6th February 2018
So, here I am, as your new host, who is delighted to have been asked to join in the running of this long-standing local music club. Well, my first ever night as host was great fun, and I was made to feel most at ease by all of you who came along. Especially as I was taking the place of my dear friend, Mike Aldridge, who is stepping down after years of loyal support.
Billed as a 'Blues Night' I, therefore, opened the proceedings with my self-penned song "Blues is a Country", my own rally cry for the forgotten heroes of the Country Blues, whose influence is so often around us, but never really fully credited. One of those heroes being Arthur "Blind Boy" Blake, whose mirthsome little song celebrating the sins of the flesh, "Diddy Wah Diddy", I did follow with. And I gave a nod to another Blues legend, Big Bill Broonzy, by top and tailing the song with a piece of his guitar blues boogie. I also threw down the gauntlet in trying to fashion the evening's most stretched out, and ever-so-slightly-self-indulgent, ending to a song. I have recently attracted a degree of opprobrium for this habit of mine, so I felt I had to fight back! Ha! Ha! Only joking, of course, as I only wanted us all to fill that room with love!!!!!
Anyway, the stretched lips from certain quarters of the audience began to relax as I put down my guitar and proceeded to introduce the fine gathering of performers, starting with Manus & Paul, who laid down some infectious electric blues. Paul on electric Fender Bass guitar was a cool foil to Manus, who rung out some beautifully cooking blues on his Fender Telecaster. Their songs were the classic "Drown In My Own Tears" (written by Henry Glover), Cream's version of "Crossroads" (written by Robert Johnson), and a lovely 12-bar instrumental jam to close their fine set.
Then Simon played a beautiful and sensitive set, including gentle readings of Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis", and you can't have a blues night without a nod to Memphis, can you? But then he topped this with a fine and fitting tribute to our dear friend, Chris Liddiard, by playing one of Chris's many simple and beautiful songs, "Someone Like You". Chris has been such a supporter of the local music scene and so many of us owe him so much. So, Chris, if you are reading this, I hope you are well and I want to say how much I have appreciated your efforts over the years.
Chris Martin is one of the most prolific songwriters on the local scene and a staunch supporter of so many open mic nights in these parts, so it was a pleasure to introduce him as he played guitar and sang his songs of experience including "Many Ways To Pay", "Life Ain't Been Easy". And then he did something really special as he sat at the old bar-room piano and poured his heart out on the beautifully chilling "Right For Me".
Penny then returned for her own set, accompanied by the wonderfully talented Keith Willson, who played some fantastic blues piano. Penny just gets into the classic blues with a heartful of soul and is always great to have along at any music evening. It was a classic set covering "Careless Love", "Walking Blues" and "Stormy Monday".
Lisa has been a regular performer on the open mic scene for many years and it is always a joy to hear her voice and accompaniment playing her sweet sounding Martin guitar. She covered two classics, one sung by her idol Elvis, "I need your love tonight" (written by Sid Wayne and Bix Reichner) and the incomparable "Georgia on my Mind" (by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell). That brought back sweet memories. And so it was an absolute pleasure to join her for a duet version of my father, Gerry Lockran's song "The Lifeline", a song about helping each other through the tough times.
I've known Helga for about 12 years and she has always been so supportive of so many music events locally and so I was delighted for Lisa and her to perform "Carrie", that most uplifting Joni Mitchell song, and The Everly Brothers bittersweet but upbeat "Gone Gone Gone". Then Keith once again provided fantastic accompaniment on guitar as Helga, on flute, and he treated us to an instrumental blues.
It is always great to welcome new talent to any of our open mic nights, and we were treated to a fabulous set by a young guy named Chris Shepherd, who played a beautifully resonant guitar and augmented his fluid playing with tapping and percussive slaps around the body of the acoustic. He covered three songs by Newton Faulkner, including "Teardrops", "Clouds" and "I'm not giving up yet". I've checked Chris out on Facebook via his 'Chris Shepherd - Guitarist' page and I think we need some more talented young performers like him to come along to our music nights.
Our dear friend Clive then stepped up to treat us to a sweet interpretation of Delta Blues legend Robert Johnson's "Love In Vain", a song that never loses its resonance.
Tonight was a joy for me, not least because we were treated to some lovely female voices from Penny, Lisa and Helga, and so Ella took her turn and sat at the piano and enchanted us with her sweet and special blues. Ella is a wonderfully engaging performer and her "Sporting Life Blues", Bonnie Raitt's "Love Me Like A Man", and Chris Smithers's "I'll guess you'll never know" captured the evening's mood so well. Beautiful, Ella!
Keith Willson then took the stage with his guitar for his own set, after providing so much great accompaniment, and laid out a melange of blues and jazz to close the evening so wonderfully.
So thank you all for your support. It was great fun hosting and I look forward to doing so again.
But I will see you for the next session which I understand is hosted by our dear friend, Chris Martin, who is deserving of the same generous support.
Until then, you all take care.
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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