19th February 2019
I thought it was going to be a quiet night and arriving to an empty room, I figured it would be an early night too. I was welcomed by Simon the Sax and Paul the Publican and immediately felt the golden glow of our Folk and Blues and burgeoning Jazz club, warm my cockles. And then you all started to arrive and those very same cockles made me feel alive, alive oh (there’s a song in there somewhere…).
Lovely opportunity for me to sing a couple of my own ditties to start off the music. Just for a While is a song that our dear Chris Liddiard helped me out with on the chords for the chorus. He actually sang it on a couple of occasions - a beautiful Chris interpretation that made me ache with pride to hear. Thank you to our much-missed Chris. My second song was the ‘Lala Song’ about music surrounding us wherever we go.
Manus took the dreaded second spot and performed a wonderful interpretation of Bob’s ‘Don’t think twice…’ Manus’s accomplished folk guitar picking was a joy. He then showed how versatile his Fender (and his fingers) are with an improvised Jazz Blues in E. A delight.
Keith was joined by Simon for an extraordinary performance that I will always remember.
Touching, heartfelt, original, magical. A recitation of The Weary Blues by American poet Langston Hughes written in 1925, during segregation and the Harlem Renaissance. Keith sang sections of the poem too, while Simon played the sax throughout, both creating an atmospheric and mesmerising few minutes for us all. Keith then changed the tone entirely with his interpretation of Keith Jarrett’s Heartland, played on the keyboard.
Well, what a great start to the evening. It continued from there, with Simon the Sax jazzing it up on All of Me and Watermelon Man by Herbie Hancock. Simon is adding a wonderful dimension to the club with his playing. A joy to hear.
And then, to show off how versatile and eclectic the performances are at the Six Bells, John Stephens performed David Gates’ Everything I Own and Black Velvet (originally recorded by Alannah Myles in 1989), giving me and Clive a chance to join in with a few quiet harmonies. Well, how can you not with those two songs!
Simon Watt sang Kate Wolf’s Here in California and an Irish number The Mountains of Mourne, two beautiful songs, movingly and sensitively performed. Jayne then took to the stage, performing her own song Mama Used to Say followed by (as Chris Martin wasn’t here) Summertime. But what a delightfully original version she played. Whatever anyone might think of this overplayed oversung song, it is an iconic one and hearing it interpreted so originally by Jayne was just lovely.
Clive sang two of his own songs which were so enjoyable to hear: Is it Summertime So Soon and Gonna Take a Chance. And with the bonkers warm weather we are having at this time of year, ‘Skylarks in February’ rather hit home.
Kat Black and Mr White (AKA Kat and Andy), the first time with us as a duo, delighted us with their harmonies and arrangements of Simon and Garfunkel’s Kathy’s Song and Sound of Silence. We couldn’t let them go without hearing another song, so they gave us Chris Isaac’s Wicked Game. Two lovely voices together with some terrific musical interpretations. I do hope we hear more from the Black and White twosome.
Next was Ella’s turn at the piano. I’ve been badgering her to sing James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James as she is now the proud Nana of a real baby James, and she did just that. It’s always a joy to hear Ella, but tonight she only gave us one song – always leave them wanting more, said Al Jolson…
Sylvie ‘s renditions of The Valentine’s Song written by a friend of hers and Drink, Drink, Drink, from Beggar’s Banquet brought back memories of me singing my heart out in Strauss’ Pink Champagne back in my previous! But I’ll keep my warbles to myself!
Early on in the evening I hatched a plan. Now it was time to put it into action. I invited our jazz men up, Manus, Keith and Simon who gave us an impromptu Autumn Leaves. As host of my own folk club some years ago, it was always hugely satisfying to encourage collaborations that would then go on to become exciting duos and trios etc. I hope that we will hear more from this Six Bells trio. Eat yer heart out Ronnie Scott!
To finish off our evening, Jayne sang Killing the Blues and John gave us a rendition of Space Oddity so we could end on a bit of a sing song. I had recently listened to Bowie’s 1967 solo studio album: a collection of Anthony Newley inspired ‘entertainer’ songs. Two years later when he was just 22, he had written and recorded Space Oddity. Where does talent like that come from!
And we had talent by the bucket load tonight. Thank you everyone for making it a pleasure of an evening to host.
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