Okay, we started fashionably late which was good as Clive, our last regular on the list, made it just in time not to miss anything [he was followed by another couple: Becky & Terry as a bonus] which gave me an active opportunity to waffle on about last summer's “A Love Supreme” festival over at Glynde – a nice message co-opted from John Coltrane of 1964 set to a wayward take on “Woodstock” of the era, by me [cos I used to be an Existential Impressionist but I'm all Post-Modern now …]. All of which seemed to free me up to stretch out a bit on the ballad “Autumn Leaves”, as a very loose instrumental. I hope this didn't come across too indulgently but it seemed to fit; it felt right and Chris had set me up nicely with a stereophonic rig through the sound desk, so it was kind of airy and transparent as an improvisation on the written chord changes [which were adhered to].
Chris then followed me in reflective mood with his 'Something To Believe' circa 1976' and enhanced by Martin on the amplified Uke-Bass. It had an effectively recurring Sus-4 chord right there in the fabric of it [in a 'Rock' way] but tempered by a Maj-7 vibe, I thought. But the next song from Chris, 'Inside Of You' with Simon [Farmer] on soprano saxophone, was definitely of that kind of tonality [: C Maj-7/E Minor :] and the soprano floated over that as of a wash [in water colours]. Jazz is a cliche but we were all atmospheric thus far [yeah, I know – I used to be synaesthetic too but I'm better now … blah, blah …]. They concluded with 'Farewell My Love' – supremely!
Simon stayed on backed up by Heather at the piano [I would say as an accompaniest but I can't spell it so hitherto it will be deemed as 'comping' all the way]. Dial 'M' for Merger, there was nuance; it was “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” followed up with a nifty switch to Alto by Simon for “Fly Me To The Moon” and I comped on that one. It was in 'C'. Heather sang “April Come She Will” and “Carolina On My Mind” – there is something aptly shrewd about the guitar playing of James Taylor, it permeates through all of his work. I mean it is mildly syncopated in a way that always seems to leave space for bass and/or electric pianos, even when they are not there – It's implicit. Happily, Heather was playing guitar on this one and the bass seemed to be much more transparent in the lines that Martin was playing there, rather than merely comping [or 'jamming' on it]. I think it's an American thing. Mavis Staples's band had all of that over at Glynde, on it at the festival last year. Her man on the Telecaster was supremely in-and-out of it, turning-the-beat-around and really digging into the grooves that they created – it was truly inspirational [and expensive for me: I had to start acquiring Teles again, forthwith on the strength of that – will I ever play them again?] Hmm ….
Rhetorically, I digress. Simon, on guitar, followed them with a Cliff Richards pop song entitled 'Wind Me Up Let Me Go' – The BBC certainly wound Cliff up, of late didn't they – poor man … this light rendition was much more pleasant and euphorically conveyed [as Simon was a provisional Grandad throughout the duration] after which he took us on an odyssey through Canada with a song phonetically described as 'Ooh-ter-cheen-ia' – a pronoun I believe [Although it’s spelled like this: Ootischenia and is by the ‘Be Good Tanyas’]. We do get around don't we …? From there it was The Grateful Dead – “Ripple” so here’s a toast to the newborn.
Time for 'One-Woman-And-Her-Guitar' Lisa Jackson, with a couple of originals; in the true sense of the word, the second piece 'Mid-Winter Mist' struck me as an original song-form per se with its open-inversions over the static bass pedal [E-natural] which must have felt like a gift from Heaven for the actual bass-player, Martin again providing subtle enhancement with that fret-less sound-scape with those little black rubber strings [yep]. I must add, and hope, Lisa won’t feel patronised in any way by all of this purple prose of mine but any of her many facebook friends whom will have surely seen her consistently vibrant nature photography, enough to realise the tangible ‘in-tunefulness’ of her body of work will get it. And, these things do, in fact, crossover sometimes – I've been trying to achieve it for years but sometimes just being 'aware' is enough. Like, maybe it did, maybe it didn’t – it’s Art. And I don't mean to overlook Lisa's first piece, either. It felt like a prelude taken altogether -- these ramblings are of course entirely subjective.
Another person who often appears in a duo, but solo tonight, is Mark Lynch. From Danehill, he played and sang 'Lost Little Girl' from The Doors’s “Strange Days” followed by Trent Raznor's, 'Hurt' – it was relatively painless! So, Ella turned the electric piano on with “Lone Star” and “Love Me Like A Man”, Influenced by Bonnie Raitt. It was a slow-burner eventually moving me off the stool on the corner, getting up there with it to plug in and cause something of a chain-reaction with bass and then, additionally, Simon on saxophone – it's a blues in 'G' by John Prine.
At this point Clive kindly offered to move over in order to accommodate our guest duo, Becky & Terry thus giving them a platform on which to perform three songs, consecutively; “The Touch Of Your Hand” and “I Will”, both by Alison Krauss and then “Like Diamonds” by Patricia Conroy followed on by Mr Woodman and his pre-tuned acoustic guitar with a lead dedicated to itself, for 'Seven Golden Daffodils' and Greg Lake's 'Lucky Man' all of which was very lyrical and assured in performance – very reassuring within the arc of the proceedings – the problem with being of a jazz sensibility, like me, is that you never know what the time is when you really should when watches become like capodastras and other add-ons [wedding rings, mirror sun-glasses, A&R men, i-pods etc ….] it just all gets a bit irrelevant to the fundamental cause of enjoying it, sometimes. So I got up again to play an impromptu Herbie Hancock medley of “ Cantaloupe Island” c/w an almost-segue into “Chameleon” -- with its attendant bass-line picked up on, and indeed embellished ably by Martin on that quirky, but very reliable little bass instrument over there in the wings: Bom-Bom-Bom-Boom – Bom-Bom – Bom-Bom-Bom-Boom-Bom-Bom it went. It was like having an engine in a room behind a pub in a village.
It had to end ….
And who better, coming up to opus-50 [in reprise], but Chris J. Martin returning ultimately to do the honours and play us out with full ensemble for 'Toast for One' – I like that!
Before the evening began, there had been four email messages sent through. These were from four of our regular music - makers, each one a member of our Six Bells 'committee' and each of them saying that they would not be able to come tonight.
" Oh Dear" I thought to myself. ( to put it politely ) That means that we will be a bit thin on the ground tonight, and maybe the evening will be a bit disappointing and turn out to be as flat as a pancake. ( One of us had to make that joke, didn't we ? )
Anyway, as usual, it was not disappointing, and we ended up with an enjoyable night. We were a bit late starting, because I had been held up on my journey with the road being completely closed at Halland for repairs, and had to follow a diversion. Also, I had trouble with a guitar lead that I hadn't plugged in properly, which caused a bit of a technical glitch. I blame the guitar lead, not myself.
I got going with The Doobie Brothers' song 'Listen to the music' written by Tom Johnston. My second one was Paul Simon's 'Take me to the Mardi Gras'. This song had to be sung tonight. It's funny how 'Mardi Gras' is a much nicer name than 'Fat Tuesday'. As for me, I don't just do Fat Tuesday. -- More like every day of the week.
Mark Lynch has played here several times now, and tonight he was joined by John Budden, and together they gave us 'Till there was you' written by Meredith Willson, from 'The music man', and followed by The Beatles number 'Things we said today'. Mark and John live at opposite ends of the county, but they obviously get to rehearse together sometimes, because they make a good sound.
Chris Martin took time off from the sound desk tonight ( but still stepped in to help here and there),and now, stepped up to the mic to give us not just two, but three of his own compositions. (With permission)! 'King of the flies', 'It's only my time', and 'Standing room only'. Chris tells us that he has performed every one of his 100 songs at Open Mic Nights, and he is now re-singing them all , in numerical order, song by song. Tonight was number 33, 34, and 35. We've suggested that next time round he does them in alphabetical order.
Chris told us that someone else was unable to come tonight. -- This was Simon Farmer, the brilliant saxophone player who has been joining us for the last few months. He had apparently been feeding honey to a wasp and the wasp didn't like it so it stung him ! I've always found that wasps prefer beer.
Our other Simon, Mr Watt, came up next to entertain us with two of his own very clever and humorous songs, both of them very topical still: 'When Brexit Comes', and 'Rocket Man'. ( featuring Kim Jong -un.) Simon says The Brexit song will be out of date after March 29th. I'm not so sure. And how long will Rocket Man last? Jong-un could be a long-un.
Manus ( 'Jazz') McDaid, was number five on the list, and despite having a bad throat, was able to play us, in his great style, 'Song bird' written by Christine McVie, made well known by Eva Cassidy as well as Fleetwood Mac. Although a bit early in the year, then came 'Autumn leaves', written by Joseph Kosma and Jacques Prevert. We noticed a bottle of something strong sticking out of Manus' pocket. he says it's cough linctus. Huggh Hum!
Taking to the floor next we had Heather Curry with her take on another song done by Eva Cassidy, 'Fields of gold' written by Sting. ( Gordon Sumner). Then we were taken back to our childhoods with 'The owl and the pussycat' song with lyrics by Edward Lear. I think we've got a runcible spoon somewhere in the cutlery drawer.
A guest that we haven't seen for a while is Dave Dyke. He started up with 'Don't leave me this way' - The Ricky Nelson song from 1958, (not the more recent one by The Communards) followed up by Gordon Lightfoot's 'Early morning rain.' Very nicely done, with some fine finger picking.
Very patiently, Sylvie had been waiting, and she took the mic to give us a couple of her witty songs, this time with Scottish nursery rhyme themes. Never sit in the front row when Sylvie sings. - She'll make you join in with the choruses which you don't know!
There was now time to carry on into the second round, with Mark Lynch coming back to give us 'Jenifer', a song by Bert Somner, who was one of the lesser - known musicians who played at Woodstock in 1969.
John Budden then returned, this time playing on our old piano, making it sound good with a nice number from the band Heads Hands and Feet. Every time I think of them I can't help thinking of 'Heads shoulders knees and toes'. Sorry !
Chris appeared again (with permission) to do a fourth song of his own 'What happened to our love' This takes his list up to number 36.
Simon stepped back in to do a very nice take on 'It never rains in Southern California' by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood.
Following this, Manus launched into 'All the things you are' by Jerome Kearne and Oscar Hammerstein. Always classy stuff from Manus.
Another piano piece next, this time with Heather, and a nicely done song by Phil Coulter, 'Scorn not his sympathy'.
I thought it would be nice to let Mark and John finish off the night, seeing as they seem to have travelled the farthest to get here. -- Mark from the dangers of Danehill, and John from the worries of Worthing. So, back as a duo again, they sang The Korgis' 'Everybody's got to learn sometime', with some very nice guitar playing.
Thank you to all who came and sat and listened
And those who sang and played,
And to those who enjoyed it, all through the evening, and stayed.
So there goes another Tuesday night ! Now where have all those pancakes gone ??
See you next time.
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.
5th February 2019
What a quiet evening it was to begin with. Quiet that is, in terms of the number of musicians present. Perhaps there was something happening elsewhere, but this evening marked a departure from the usual style of several performers and included many collaborative enterprises. Rather exciting, actually.
My introduction wasn’t anything very unusual though. I sang two Joni Mitchell songs accompanied by bouzouki: ‘Carey’ from her 1971 album ‘Blue’ and ‘Urge for Going’ from ‘Second Fret Sets 1966 – 68’, but I am familiar with it from her ‘Hits’ album of 1996.
Jim followed, playing guitar (I had previously only seen him play fiddle) and singing ‘Wings’ a song which questions why people cage the things they love most, written by the late Brian Bedford. His second song was about the single greatest tragedy of the blitz in London, where 200 people died at Bethnal Green underground station as they stumbled and fell down the stairs, and not because they had been hit by a bomb. This poignant piece: ‘Rosemary’s Sister’ was written by Hugh Williams. Jim also enthusiastically recommended Keith Willson’s book of poetry and made a request for Keith to read the poem about his double-bass Fred placing an ad in the ‘Lonely Hearts’ section under the title: ‘The Double Bass Seeks Love’.
The poem duly delivered was full of Keith’s characteristic wit. Keith remained on stage to perform a slow blues with Ian, another musician who had joined us for the evening, offering his harmonica-playing skills. These two had not previously met, but, after some technical re-arranging, slipped into a slow blues, ‘The Slow One’, a love song about two people meeting at a wedding several years after splitting-up. Between them, they definitely put the blues back into the ‘Folk and Blues’ identity.
In a change of style, Manus, also coincidentally having a Joni Mitchell moment, produced a guitar-focused version of ‘Boho Dance’ from her seventh album of 1975 ‘The Hissing of Summer Lawns’. Joni Mitchell’s songs can be quite complex. She is a very idiosyncratic song-writer and performer, using unusual timings and tunings, but very nicely done Manus. He continued with the ‘Days of Wine and Roses’ from the 1962 film of the same name, (music by Henry Mancini and lyrics by Johnny Mercer)and Simon joined in on sax. Apparently he was not familiar with the piece, not that you would notice. Simon, who has now joined us several times, also brought some wonderful alto sax into the mix. Very chilled.
The evening moved from folk to blues to jazz then rock and roll with Clive. As a sixty years tribute to Buddy Holly who died on the 3rd of February 1959, Clive gave us a lively version of ‘Peggy Sue’. The song was written by Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison and Norman Petty, about Jerry’s girlfriend. Having watched Mama Mia at Christmas, Clive was also inspired to sing Abba’s ‘Andante, Andante’, written by Bjorn Alvaeus and Benny Andersson and released in 1980. So the evening then progressed into some vintage ‘pop’.
Chris Martin was on next, and I think it would be fair to say that his songs were not folk, or blues, or jazz, or rock and roll, or even pop, so were a different genre as yet unconfirmed. His first song ‘Bixie Bear’was complemented by some lyrical soprano sax from Simon. Bixie Bear was dancing in the moonlight, hand in hand with that wooden man. I wonder if these were friends of Panyan. Heather joined in at the piano with Simon on sax again for Chris’s 1990 song ‘Right for Me’.
Heather remained at her piano (an electric one, reliably in tune, not the house instrument) She sang a lovely, pensive song, it’s first public performance as it was only completed earlier in the day: ‘Missing You’. She followed this with an instrumental that was all up and down the keyboard, a ‘protest song’ called ‘Silent Fathers’ about men who lose access to their children.
Simon, flaunting his best Christmas jumper, a gift from his sister three years ago, sang us a ‘proper’ folk club song, ‘Caledonia Calling’ a modern Scottish ballad written in 1977 by Dougie MacLean. Then came a collaboration, with Simon on sax joining Simon on guitar and vocals for a version of the Grateful Dead’s ‘Monkey and the Engineer’. Monkey at the controls ‘left the engineer with a worried mind’. This was a song with real gravitas.
The night was still young enough for another song from everyone. I sang ‘Blackwaterside’, a real, proper folk song that I heard first by Bert Jansch. Jim had to be gone, so Keith followed with the ‘The Worst Thing’ on guitar, a song that regrets the ruining of a relationship. He changed position to play piano, and with some technical rearrangements, Manus’ last song was an instrumental version of ‘This Masquerade’ by Leon Russell, released in 1995. Simon joined them on sax and there followed some very interesting, jazzy wrestling and interweaving of threads and phrases.
Clive brought us back to folk with his version of ‘London River’ made popular by Fairport Convention, from their ‘Heritage’ album of 1998. Chris performed his ‘Xeroxed Armies’ solo: a man with nothing has nothing to lose……. . Heather, on piano, sang ‘Yesterday’ with Simon on sax adding a lovely solo. Simon on guitar ended the evening with the beautiful Mary Gautier song ‘The Rocket’ (featured in my video selection). I accompanied Simon, (rather poorly as it happens), but he brought the evening to a nicely rounded conclusion after a very musically diverse two and a half hours.
For those among us who play the piano, there is an awareness of the house piano, which, lovely as it is, is not totally in tune and a bit uneven to play, so electric pianos turn up from time to time. I love the house piano because I haven’t had an acoustic piano for years and it is so very different (challenging!), but rewarding, to play. I noticed the piano on the Norah Jones video I have posted and it looks very beaten-up, doubtless in tune however, but it probably would have been far easier to plug in an electric one. Then there’s Willie Nelson’s guitar! Now that looks like a worn-out but dearly loved instrument, if ever there was one.
The evening was uncharacteristically marked by extended periods of arranging the stage and sound equipment, but nobody seemed to mind.
Thank you all for so much musical variety and virtuosity, to Simon of the guitar, for setting the room up and Chris for managing the sound.
With new horizons and possibilities reflected in this evening, we look forward to another evening of music on the 19th.
Take care and see you next time, Ella
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!
7th January 2019
The new mood of punctuality was in evidence as I asked Simon what time the club started. “Fifteen minutes ago.” came the stern reply. I’d brought the electric piano and it was well set up, so opened with Albert Collin’s Too Many Dirty Dishes. Saw Albert in the Eighties at the Town and Country Club in London. He had a very distinctive guitar style, sharp and indeed cutting, - a Telecaster with a capo way, way up, I think on the 12th fret.
Simon was cajoled into doing the first spot and showed a soft spot for people in Hard Times. Then a tale of Chris Liddiard. Apparently, Chris had asked Simon out of the blue “Are you going to write a song about me when I’m dead?” So, Simon did - and a very fine song too: Now that the Songwriter’s gone. He said he played it to Chris, who made no comment, so we’ll never know what he thought of it.
Heather took up her guitar and did one of her childhood favourites, when she grew up in Scotland: Annie Laurie and followed with The Seekers’ the Carnival is Over. That brought back childhood memories for me also of my Dad singing Island of Dreams, with my Mum on piano and my Brother and me on guitars.
Manus did Little Sister famously covered by Ry Cooder on his Bop ‘till you Drop album and indeed King Elvis himself, but actually written by Doc Pamus and Mort Schuman. He followed with Tired of Talkin’ by Robben Ford. Manus certainly knows his way around those frets.
Good to see Mark and John, new faces at the ‘Bells, who did some unashamed pop on acoustic guitar and mandolin including Crowded House’s Fall at Your Feet. The etcetera in “The Six Bells Folk, Blues etc. Club” was becoming more and more evident.
Jason was next up with his own Another Year Another Song. Then Lisa joined Jason for a song written and recorded by Jim Croce in the early 1970s but released posthumously: I Have to Say I Love You with this Song. The poignant Handbags and Gladrags, known as the theme music to The Office, and covered by Rod Stewart among many others, showed off their perfectly matched voices and perfect timing together. It really was a beautiful sound. Lisa finished with the Carpenters’ On top of the World.
It was great to see Helga again after several month’s absence. She joined Lisa’s last song with her magic flute and then stayed on at the microphone in her own right. I stepped up to the piano for what began as a Blues in E but we soon escaped the chord structure into a much freer improvisation.
Chris Martin, performed two self-penned songs You're gone and Sanity. Simon Farmer, who is a very recent addition to the Six Bells Jamming Ensemble and very welcome too, joined Chris on the second song with his soprano sax, which he plays on Chris’s latest CD.
Simon Farmer then took the limelight switching to Alto sax as I stayed at the piano for Billy Taylor’s I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free, better known as the Film 98 (et seq.) theme, followed by Lover man, Billy Holliday’s iconic song, but, according to the Mighty Interweb, written by Jimmy Davis, Roger ("Ram") Ramirez, and James Sherman (who they? ED.) and covered by so many other greats.
It seemed that the ‘Bells was rapidly turning into an outpost of Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express or Jazz After Dark. The Etcetera was gaining supremacy. However, the blues fought back and Penny Payne, stepped up to do her gutsy stuff. Simon was drawn back by the blues force field and we had a trio. Penny sang Stormy Monday and CC Rider. She’d been at Deanlands in Golden Cross the night before, backed by the amazing Terry Lees on guitar. With adequate performing space and a mobile microphone Penny’s personality knows no bounds.
Jane came up with her guitar and did a flawless rendition of her own song I’ll Go Anywhere with You, ably supported by Helga’s Zauberflöte, followed by Paul Simon’s Cathy’s Song. I think Jane has the largest repertoire of any of us.
John Stephens did Hotel California accompanying himself on guitar with some basic chords from me on piano following a cheat sheet. John finished the evening off with Talk to me Baby, for which Simon Farmer once again speeded the Alto to the front for a jam.
The sound system being switched off and being packed away and the audience gone, we fired up the acoustic piano for a short jam of Take 5 with Manus on Guitar and Simon on Sax. We made an un-passible stab at the chords in the bridge but that’s the way of Etcetera - the new musical Genre ably premiered this evening.
For my vids this time (on the Club homepage) I’ve put up firstly the most beautiful piece of choral music: O Magnum Mysterium by Morton Lauridsen, a magnificent living composer. Is it my imagination or has more live footage of Leadbelly been discovered/posted recently? I couldn’t find anything a few months ago, but here’s Take This Hammer, performed by the man himself in 1945, as my second offering. Thirdly, Judy Collins talks about and performs her song My Father (missing out the second verse). I listened to her Who Knows Where the Time Goes? Incessantly in 1971; an amazing folk rock album with notable tracks: Pretty Polly, First Boy I loved and a country version of Leonard Cohen’s Bird on the Wire complete with pedal steel guitar.
6 Bells Folk and Blues Blog. Dec 11th 2018
Christmas time at the 6 Bells. It always strikes me as a wonderfully Christmassy place, with its traditional feel, open log fires and friendly atmosphere. So it was just up to us musicians to add to the already festive atmosphere. I’ve already posted photos, so you can tell most of us were up for it with Christmas hats, jumpers and festive tinsel.
As well as M.C.ing the evening, and doing the desk, Chris was up first to open up the floor. He performed a couple of his most treasured compositions, ‘What’s in a life?’ and ‘Toast for one’ with Ella on tambourine and backing vocals, Martin on bass ukulele and Simon (Farmer) on Sax. Both of these dispel the fact that Chris only writes gloomy songs! And it’s always really good fun to hear different instruments and Simon’s wonderful contribution to Chris’s own compositions set the evening off really well. Watching Ella is always a treat! Bass just grounds everything.
Next up was Jason, with a couple of soft, gentle and very emotional performances, Waterloo Sunset and Tougher than the rest. Both his vocals and his guitar were faultless, and again, Martin’s bass just added to his performance.
Simon (Watt) was up next and started off with his Brexit Blues: topical and to the point, ‘In ten year’s time we’ll be ok, you might just have to wait’......and in the meantime, ‘Let’s just get on with our lives’. Can’t really argue with that.
He followed this with a Mary Gauthier version of Fred Eaglesmith’s song ‘The Rocket. I did go and look this up and it’s well worth taking a good look at the lyrics and the story of ritualised grief of an old man returning again and again to the station where he sent his son off to war 40 years earlier. Really touching.
Lance followed with one of my favourites, ‘Sadie the Flatulent Horse’. Again, well written, and just....very enjoyable. He followed this with another of his own compositions, ‘Christmas Day’. All of the essential ingredients were in there, Santa, Carols, Dinner family, and of course, mobile phones!
Clive started with one of his own compositions as well. I think it was called ‘The First thing I do’ sung to the tune of ‘The First Noel, and listed a lot of pubs in Crowborough, ‘What is the point of a pub with no ale?’ I think a fair amount of research must have gone into it over the years. He then sang another of his songs, ‘Home for Christmas’ with additional bells from Ella. Charming.
Apparently Ella’s Christmas songs aren’t ready for the public yet, so she sang Danny’s All Star Joint by Rickie Lee Jones. Some great boogie playing and a really fun song. Then Ella played Neil Young’s song ‘Like a Hurricane’. It was a really lovely arrangement .
I followed with a version of ‘Mary did you know’, which I only heard of with the choir I sang with last Christmas.
It was time to treats and nibbles courtesy of The Six Bells next, while Chris and I set up my keyboard for the second half, and Simon and I adlibbed a couple of Christmas songs to help to get us both armed up.
We started off the second half with myself on keyboard and vocals, Chris on guitar and Simon on sax. I was pretty excited about this. We played a Hazel O’Connor song, ‘Will You’ from the film ‘Breaking Glass’. It’s been a favourite of mine for a long time, but I’d never known anyone who could play the sax part, and it has one of the most wonderful saxophone solos. Chris got Simon and I together and we had practiced the week before. We got through it in one piece, and I was really grateful to the boys for letting me perform with them. J
Oliver Hill sang two Donovan songs. The first, Jersey Thursday, has beautiful colourful lyrics and Olly sang it in a simple clear style. I thought the second song was something like ‘From the Land of the Crab’ but I can’t find it so I’m hoping Olly will enlighten me. Both songs were sung in a lovely clear voice with just a little crack from time to time - I do wish I could do that!
Keith sang one of his songs unaccompanied next. I think it was called ‘Jesus just grew up’. He really gets his voice and rhythm going even with no accompaniment and his words are very clever:
‘It was Christmas time in the harem,
The eunuchs sang through the halls’
Keith read out a poem he’d written for Chris Liddiard next. I must have been one of the few people there who’d never met Chris, but I’ve heard a lot about him and he sounds like a really lovely man. Keith’s poem was a wonderful eulogy.
John Stephens got up with his own made 12-string guitar next which did look beautiful. Sadly though, the changes of temperature had made it slip out of tune. So we never got to hear it this time. I did have a 12 string once, and tuning is definitely not a simple, or short affair, so John wisely chose to play his 6 string instead. He treated us to ‘Please be with me’, by Eric Clapton and then a track from Dark Side of the Moon which came over really well as he played lead while Martin accompanied him on his bass ukulele.
Paula followed with a little Christmas Medley of Hark the Herald, While Shepherds and Little Drummer Boy. Then she played a song she’s remembered from school because she loved it so much with ‘In the Bleak mid Winter’ as a mid section. Both songs were lovely and added to the Christmas feel of the evening.
Chris Shepherd came next with a very different style of guitar playing. He played ‘Summer Air’ which I think might be by the Italobrothers? Anyway, I love the way he uses the guitar for rhythm and melody. He then played Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by John Meyer. It’s really good to hear the younger musicians because they add new music and styles that I probably wouldn’t hear otherwise. Chris’s voice came over well-rounded and resonant and he seemed totally confident across all the fretboard. I was mesmerised!
Terry finished off the evening with a Christmas medley in his own inimitable style, always a pleasure to watch and listen to, followed by his version of ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ and a mention for the homeless who will have a very different Christmas to most of us.
It was a lovely evening, full of (slightly previous) festive spirit. I do apologise for taking so long to write the blog, and for any mistakes about names and writers of music performed! There have been rather a lot of festivities recently.
Tuesday November 27th
We all battled through blustery gusts and wet and winding roads to get here on this wet and windy November night. The room was very welcoming though, with a lovely roaring log fire crackling in the fireplace. I was a little bit concerned that we might be singeing while singing, but the fire soon settled down, and there was no need for me to be whingeing about singeing.
Tonight was going to be one of our famous ( And so popular) ! 'Theme Nights'.
'Travel Songs' was the choice this time. As with all themes, there is plenty of scope, and a whole lot of songs that can be found.
As host for tonight, I set off on the road with the Canned Heat song 'On the Road Again', written by Alan Wilson and Floyd Jones ,and I was accompanied on bass by Martin Lee, who had kindly offered to play along with anyone who wanted some backing. He has the smallest bass I've ever seen, a bass ukulele. ( U.Bass). He settled himself into place, and was there for the whole evening, giving us all some really nice extra sound. Thanks Martin.
Having done a song about being on the road, I thought about other ways of travel.... Ah yes! -- 'Trains and Boats and Planes'. So I chose Burt Bacharach and Hal David's song that had been a hit for him, and Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, and Dionne Warwick.
Ella Moonbridge kindly 'volunteered' to be on next, and came to the piano to give us a great version of Sandy Denny's 'North Star Grassman and the Ravens'. That's the way to travel, navigate by the North Star! She followed this with one of her favourite composer's songs, 'Woodstock' from Joni Mitchell. Ella always seems to make that old piano come alive, and there was a lovely high vocal note to finish.
Mark Lynch was here last time, together with John, but tonight just himself playing a couple of nicely done guitar instrumentals. Firstly, his own tune 'Moonrise', and then a good version of the guitar part from Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir'.
They say that Richard Thompson has ' astonishingly nimble fingers', and the same can certainly be said about Terry Lees. Terry proved this by playing Richard Thompson's 'Vincent Black Lightning', and then treating us to a lovely Irish tune - 'Kerry Road'. He told us that travel in Ireland was very slow at the time he was there. Bad roads ? - Or too many pubs?
It was good to see Jayne Ingles here again, and she came up with two travel songs in the form of Train Songs, 'Nowhere Train' by Carlene Carter and Anni O'Brien, and Elizabeth Cotten's 'Freight Train'. This song was made known by Peggy Seeger, and became a hit for skiffle man Chas McDevitt with singer Nancy Whiskey.
Chris Martin travelled away from his place on the sound desk to the microphone to give us two of his own compositions, 'Journey', and 'Another Journey' - both of which feature on his latest CD 'Journey Part 1'. On the CD cover is a picture of 'Panyan ', who many of us will easily recognise won't we !
Number seven on the list tonight was our dear friend Jason Loughran, appearing without Lisa Jackson this time, and giving us the nice 'Time in a bottle' by Jim Croce, followed by the Tom Waits number 'The Heart of Saturday Night'. Songs by Jason are always nicely done and with great feeling.
Manus McDaid is the Jazz Master, and took to the floor to play us first his great version of 'Got me on the Run', and second, James Taylor's 'Fire and Rain'. This title could be a good slogan for tonight's gathering, seeing that we've had the log fire inside and the rain outside.
Despite Simon Watts' scepticism about 'The Self - Writing Blog', he did actually give some information of his intended songs in advance. I like to think that rather than calling the idea 'The Self - Writing Blog', I prefer to call it -- 'Singer/Performer/Information/Exchange/Service ( S P I E S) .
Simon chose two travel songs. He hopped onto 'The City of New Orleans', written by Steve Goodman, and made famous by artists such as Arlo Guthrie and Willie Nelson, and then he got behind the wheel on 'The Road to Hell' by Chris Rea. Simon played the long version ,with the slow tempo intro, and then was joined by Ella on tambourine and with Martin continuing with bass as he has through the evening.
John Stephens played some nice guitar sounds on Eric Clapton's 'I can't Hold Out', which he followed with a very good take on the Jimi Hendrix song 'Hey Joe', written by Billy Roberts. With Martin Lee taking the part of Noel Redding , all we needed was Mitch Mitchell on drums to make it a real Experience.
Sylvie had arrived earlier clutching a sheet of paper on which was one of her songs, and this was the one about the cupboard full of all kinds of booze, sung to the tune of 'In the Bleak Midwinter' (Gustav Holst). -- And partly sung in French. A votre santé!
Last on the list but not least we had Oliver Hill who was here for the first time. He had been waiting patiently for his turn, and he played us a nice version of 'Donna Donna Donna,' made well known by Joan Baez, followed by the story of 'Stewball' which was done by Peter Paul and Mary.
There was still time to have a bit of second helpings from a few players, so we were served up 'I Like to be Sad' from Chris Martin ( by Chris Martin) , 'Good Morning
Blues' from Jason (by Leadbelly), 'Lady Franklin's Lament' from Ella ( trad.) , and a nice piece to finish from Manus ( by John Renbourne).
So, thanks to all who came tonight, and to Chris on the sound and Simon for setting up earlier. --- Oh - and thanks for those who took part in 'The Thank you Jug experiment' !
Next time will be the Christmas Party ! ( With singers and players as usual).
We dedicate this evening to the memory of Chris Lidiard who sadly died on November 23rd. Chris was greatly involved in the music community and much admired. He was a good friend to many people. We send our love and sympathy to his wife Jenny and to all his family and friends.
8pm: all set up and ready to get going with the music, but it has to feel right, doesn't it? It was worth hanging back a bit, I felt. Dynamics are the key to a musically viable performance and I wanted to start off with a quiet, reflective piece with a bit of technology involved as bodies settled into their respective cushions, hopefully, attentively. Appreciatively, I am glad for the support; it's mutual.
My first song was 'Pink Ukuleles' and it’s all about growing up -- I’m currently working into my own stuff again whilst embarking on a fresh recording project with some new equipment, so it’s great to test out the solo arrangements, messing with the tempos and overall meter of this piece. Followed up by John Renbourn's 3-time 'Waltz', an instrumental that appears to have come to him as a derived take on the jazz-waltzes of Charlie Mingus compositions via the prism of Davy Graham’s acoustic guitar work – I focused on the bass end of things with a bit of echo to accentuate the big-band arrangements and jazz-waltz-gospel [tongue-in-cheek] feel of Mingus, the double-bass player, himself: “Better Git It In Your Soul' – “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting” et al. And I do tend to throw myself into this sort of thing as a musician and hope for the best [soulfully]; entertainer: not-so-much.
Jazz-waltz is a great means toward syncopation and 'swing' with the built in triplets of compound time [see video selection with this sermon], I'm passionate about it; I love playing 3-over-4 also because you can't get it wrong and you can't get it right and you can't accurately score it and it confounds the time-signature pedants and it gives the musicologists a dog-with-a-bone to play around with – try it! Set your metronome at a medium tempo [most of us have internalized common 4/4 time] and stretch three over the four by strumming, soloing or whatever; you won’t be able to do it but, trust me, stuff will happen.
As I filled out the template, on the clipboard with the pen as provided by Ella, I was absolutely made up walking around like a fully equipped ticket inspector on the buses; I have the pass, already – I was about to shove the John & Mark duo on second when Simon stepped in to rescue them, astutely observing that it wouldn't have been the most welcoming of moves to place them quite so early on as they are new to us – fair play! He went second giving us 'Funny That Way' by the New Zealander Mark Laurent, husband of Chris Liddard’s sister, Breda and 'You Ain’t Going Nowhere' [written in 1967, first recorded in 1971, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits/Basement Tapes 1975] on which he was accompanied by Ella as a prelude to J & M who came on with an instrumental from the flip-side of 'Albatross' followed by Steve Winwood's 'Can't find my Way Home'. And then we had another duo, George & Mary sang Ian Tyson's 'Four Strong Winds' and 'The Early Morning Rain' as they introduced more vocal harmonies than previous arrangements by them, which is progressive, I think.
Then, this bloke with a new album – Chris Martin soloed 'Wreckage' the division bell ringing out the broken hearts and dreams prior to lulling us back onto our cushions with 'Routine' both songs from 'Journey Part-1' followed on by the reassured solo performance of Paula with her own two songs 'Empty Chair' and 'Tonight' before handing over her nice acoustic guitar to Terry Lees – this was a real treat for me tonight [if perhaps less so for him, initially at least]:
Noteworthy new para here: Terry confided that he hadn't really been feeling fully up for it this evening, and due to some degree of vertigo felt it best to sit down whilst playing us his version of 'Judy', another John Renbourn composition, which was apparently based on the idea of Davy Graham's totemic 'Angie' and which, as a variation, is a far better tune in my opinion. Terry seemed to interpret it as such as he was playing soulfully great, feeling the harmonic movement, getting close to it – It's funny how being a bit off-colour can make one mellow-out, in the positive sense; plenty of players have used drugs to get to this kind of high-meloncholia, soft focus, kind of mood -- like it’s the holy grail -- but neurologically it’s where the mind just doesn't have the time for Show Biz considerations and cosmetic abstractions as it surpasses muscle-memory and truly gets right into the necessary essence of things at hand, in the moment. And Terry, having found his stride by virtue of having that already warmed-up instrument in his hands, decided that he would in fact continue with another instrumental, 'Living In The Country' which seemed to be as therapeutic to him as it was inspiring to me [I suspect that Terry himself never took any substance abuse routes as a detour to get-out-of-it-to-get-into-it, but I certainly did and to be fair, it was a bit hit-or-miss] in my youth. You don’t have to be ill or be getting stoned but it makes you think, doesn’t it – where do you want to be with it?
But, of course, you don't always have to suffer for the art. I introduced Jason Loughran as 'the most diplomatic ambassador of open mics [and spaces] ever' and he brought his sunny disposition to bear, in a balanced way, on 'Song For Our Dead Heroes'; he judged it right by not dwelling on the theme beyond the obvious tribute being conveyed. That's the way I got it, subjectively, as there seemed to be a lingering vibe of thankful reverence in the room when Lisa Jackson then came up to join him in an otherwise lighthearted arrangement of Broonzy's 'That's The Story Of Love' and, yeah, that's the glory of it, isn't it ... anyway, time to crack open the old Joanna I'd say, as Ella set herself down at the house piano with 'Fly Me To The Moon' which came straight out of The Great American Songbook tonight and some Americana with more than a mere nod to Bonnie Rait as she forged onwards and upwards with the less whimsical, earthbound but orgasmic 'Love Me Like A Man', a raunchy Barrel-house type of blues rendition indeed.
Nice to see Jayne Ingles and the applause she received before even playing a note which appropriately set the tone of respect felt in the house in the face of personal adversity – another soulful performance ensued as once again 'The Sun's Setting Down On Our Town' tonight.
Clive Woodman slipped me a piece of paper that goes like this: 'Over The Lancashire Hills as written by Stuart Marston and sung by Fairport Convention … the song refers to the opera singer of the early 1950s, Kathleen Ferrier … The Green Fields Of France written by Eric Bogle … the singer is talking to a WW1 soldier Willie McBride at his graveside' – well put Clive.
Time again for the J & M duo in their guitar/mandolin combination on John's original 'How Many Times' and 'Living My Life Without You' and Simon penultimate performance of Dylan's 'Paint My Masterpiece' from 1971 before Lisa & Jason graciously came back on to conclude the evening with 'Living On Faith' and a nice, bluesy take on 'Careless Love' – that was a surprise! Kept us on our toes, that did, featuring Jason's slide playing on an () guitar – nice one! Apologies to Lisa, though as my programming might have cut her out in her solo capacity as I may have press-ganged the two of them into playing us out so harmoniously, and I appreciate it. Thanks for being so adaptable, both.
Thank you all!
My 500th open mic night - 30/10/18 - C J Martin
Back in late 2012, I was recording an album called ‘Me and my Martin’ and a chap who was using the same studio said I should try an ‘open mic night’. Such events had never been on my radar and I was quite happy in the recording studio and making videos for You Tube.
A bit of rehearsal later and off I went to try out these mysterious things called open mic nights. Open mic No. 2, brought me to the Six Bells on 5/02/13, after which I found myself adding the open mic scene to my music lifestyle. You meet a lot of people, hear a lot of music, some people become friends and some music you love and some you don’t, but it is an interesting world and one that should be free of ego - as an open mic is a place where you ask people to listen to you and in exchange, you listen to them. No money is exchanged, it’s a very pure way of sharing music and ideas.
Tonight was my 500th open mic night and as MC, I launched the evening with the same two songs I played at my first Bells night. ‘My mum, Alzheimer’s and the care home’ - it’ll be 7-years on 4/11 since mum died and I find it quite cathartic at this time of year giving the song an outing. ‘Life’s a race’ was my other song and completed my recreation of that night in Feb 13.
I’ve just released my latest album, ‘Journey Part 1’ and gave it a little plug - my three videos (on the home page) feature the opening 3 songs from the album. For more on my music see: www.cjmartin.info
Ok, that’s four paragraphs about me and here’s a bit about the other 11 performers who joined me for a lovely evening of music. New blood is where it’s at and we had four new faces, along with some old friends.
Mark was the first of the new faces and like me in 2013, was dipping his toe into the mysterious world of open mic nights. Playing a nylon strung guitar, he gave us a self-penned instrumental, called ‘Instrumental’ and followed that with a bit of Classical Gas’. He seemed to enjoy the experience, so will hopefully continue his open mic journey,
Clive gave me the following info on his set: ‘The path’ (my own song). This is about time moving on and the years going by and all of us trying to find the right path to the future. ‘Good year for the roses’ was written by Jerry Chestnut and sung by George Jones and Elvis Costello. This is a sad song about breaking up (not gardening). Thanks Clive, that made my life easier, perhaps I should get everyone to write a bit about their set at a future night.
Jason opened with ‘Winter time love’ by The Doors and was then joined by Lisa for Dylan’s, ‘Tonight I’ll be staying here with you’. They followed this with a song written by Jason’s dad (Gerry Lockran) called, ‘The lifeline’. Jason then exited stage right, leaving Lisa to deliver her original interpretation of the Ray Davies number, ‘Waterloo sunset’.
Manus, complete with Telecaster and mini Fender amp was mixing the musical styles with Stevie Wonder’s ‘Boogie on reggae woman’ and the Leon Russell ballad, ‘This masquerade’.
Alan and Gary had ventured over from Kent (well one of them had) for their first evening at our little club and delivered three Fairport Convention songs. Two guitars and two voices filled the room with entertaining versions of, ‘Honour and praise’, ‘Who knows were the time goes‘ and ‘Too close to the wind’.
It was lovely to see Jayne, who gave us a pretty rendition of Carole King’s, ‘You’ve got a friend’ and followed this with one of her own, ‘My mama said’.
Terry kicked off with Woody Guthrie’s, ‘Do re mi’ and closed with the Ry Cooder instrumental, ‘I think it’s going to work out fine’.
Bob was the last of our first timers, he started with a Nancy Griffiths song, ‘Gulf course highway’, which I wrote down as Golf course highway! Bob said he’d only been playing for 3-years, before finishing with a confident rendition of ‘Close to you’, about a young woman missing a lover.
Simon wanted a late slot, as Lesley (Mrs Simon) was coming along with the new family dog, an all-black number that wanted to party like it’s 1999. Complete with 12-string he opened with his self-penned ditty, ‘Halloween song’, yes, it’s that time of year. It even has a reference to a well-known open mic character named after a copying machine! Clive took control of the club tambourine on ‘A little bit of love’, dedicated to Jason, who’s rather keen on love - and we all (even me from the desk) sang along on the chorus - you could feel the love in the room.
I asked Lisa & Jayne (original Martinettes) and Jason & Simon (aspirational Martinettes) to join me for a round of ‘Toast for one’. It was great fun and brought down the curtain on number 500, a memorable night. Thanks to all the performers and audience. x
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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