From Where The Coffee Came – 6-3-18
I have to endorse the Brazilian Musos every so often – the least I can do is drink in the works of Antonio Carlos Jobim [as I grind the beans …] and he was prolific as he introduced the Bossa Nova beat, distilled from the variously rough-and-ready Samba rhythms to The United States of America [from THE Americas, proper] whilst overseeing the subsequent inclusion of these novel song-forms into the greater mainstream: 'The Great American Songbook'. I chose to perform Jobim’s 'Wave' and the now totemic 'The Girl From Ipaneema'; I had Paul Delaney along on the bass to anchor the groove for myself and for some 'live' experience for him – we didn't really nail it but there's no shame in that. We live and we learn. It was a preview of things to come when it brightens up in due course.
Then there was the man in red – Pierre/Peter, colourfully, if not chromatically tripping out on a couple of songs to an acoustic guitar backdrop mined from within some personal orbit that was kind of alien to me. But there you go it was an interesting insight into another man's eclectic bubble of self-absorption ….Terry Lees stepped up to restore that special pro-am [professional/amateur/symbiotic] touch as always, to balance things out again whilst giving us an extra vignette with the instrumentally sublime: 'Sally River Bells'. Chris J. Martin gave us 'Tree' followed up by 'My Son from Baby Child to Man' which obviously took him a long, long time to write [there's an holistic life's journeyman in there, mate]. But I think the point was that it takes real time to perfect such heartfelt, biographic undertakings, as we all must do at some point in life, I guess.
Simon brought on the cowboy chords in service of a couple of good songs: Nicky Moore's 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie' and Leonard Cohens's 'Bird On The Wire' – his acoustic, steel-strung guitar was microphone amplified and sounded notably mellow in comparison to the DI'd counterparts so ubiquitous these days, I thought.
Dear Sylvie was also microphone amplified tonight, for some fine folk singing in the traditional sense [inspired by a book with a curious family twist on a Robbie Burns study]. Her ‘The Afton Water' was courageous in its distinction from the preemptively published title/namesake.
And then, Clive with his very own 'Diamond Avenue' which is as enviably evocative a title as one [me, for one] could ever wish for, followed up by the folk song, 'Hard Times of Old England' – sort of crossing that undefinable hinterland between the 'folk club' and the 'open mic session' [with all of the connotations inclusive of Karaoke, for some …].
And just when I thought I'd finished faffing around with plumping up that ghastly greenish cushion at the piano stool, up came Ella with the Whitest, Everest, Luckiest cushion I’d ever seen – and when I'd done with admiring it [it has this wonderfully tactile cross-hatched thing going on with it, hard to explain … I want one] Ella proceeded to sit on it and sung 'It Don't Come Easy' by Patti Griffin and Neil Young's 'After The Gold Rush' – notwithstanding how narcotic driven Young was during that period, it pales into insignificance when you hear these songs of his pared down at the piano. Without the indulgence of induced intensity, it reveals an inner beauty from the chaos – admirable in my book, but it has to be said it doesn't negate the original in any way. It says a lot of the quiddity of the man that his songs could be reduced in a synchronistic way without sounding at all dumbed-down the way in which C & W always seems to do. It’s the second time I've been struck by this happenstance that keeps creatively conceived music alive, I feel.
A change of pace/permutation:
First, in some second round of events, Jason brought on the 'Ovation -73' to give us his original ballad: 'Sunday Afternoon' which [being a hopeless sucker for ballads, generally, I enjoyed immensely] – again, that pared down intimacy only now to be further enhanced with the equitable addition of Lisa, all complete with her mahogany C. F. Martin guitar and the crystalline vocals [next to Jason's, an emotive vocal nuance], they did a personal take of this great soul song that I know – and love – but can't for the life of me remember the title of -- 'I don't know much about Trigonometry … the History I took … but I know …' Got it, yeah …! Whatever, it's great. Then, as a duo, it was time for Jason's late father's piece, 'The Lifeline' – always good to hear this one.
Lisa held her ground as they subbed in Helga for Jason so that she could augment the incumbent with some deft improvisation on flute, which was to continue in solo form in the form of an flute instrumental [obviously, unless you happened to be the duplicitously dexterous Roland Kirk!] although Helga did introduce a percussive wooden frog during these proceedings, overall. And there was some whistling going down there at one point, intermittently.
Back to the Folk:
Penultimately, Bob Melrose performed a self-assured rendition of 'High Above The Ground', a new song in his repertoire followed by, I think, Paul Simon's 'The American Tune' [reiterating my initial American/Americas preview in a rounded up kind of way I thought] then making way for a very patient David Foster-Smith with his memories of the Six Bells as a venue of 1982 [patience is truly a virtue, David] and he proceeded to shake us up a bit with his own, stridently performed, 'The Bottom Line' which is reflective of his own 'moderate success' as of what it was, and he concluded the evening with the American band LOVE cover of a love song c/w flamenco overtones.
Well, you just have to go with the lurve, I say – ta-dah.
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