Michael Aldridge was down to MC, but sent me a message on Facebook asking if I could stand in as he was delayed in Europe. Now, there’s a theme for the night. I opened with a couple of mine, neither about leaving Europe, or maybe they were: ‘Ghosts’ and ‘It’s only my time’.
1000 Watts: Simon had set up the PA earlier in the day and despite my request for something political and controversial; he gave us a rock and roll ditty about Elvis and followed it with ‘Beggars and Mules’ by Danny Schmidt, who was a founder member on the Brit Funk movement in the late 70s. I never realised Simon was a funkster.
Flying High: it was good to see Geoff Jackson back at the Bells complete with his baritone ukulele. It’s been about a year since his last visit and he’s been keeping himself busy playing the care home circuit and getting paid for it. Songs: ‘Come fly with me’ and ‘Fly me to the moon’.
Young Person Alert: Sam was a young man, cheered on by his family. They were all experiencing their first Folk & Blues Club Night. He gave us a couple of nice Paul Simon songs, ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’ and ‘Diamonds on the soles of her shoes’. Mary Oddie had tucked herself out of site and was hard at work knitting a sock; as you do at folk clubs. On hearing Sam’s voice, she rejoined the room and clearly enjoyed his set before returning to her illuminated sock production position.
She’s got that sinking feeling: Ella was on her Bouzouki and started with Bob’s, ‘Make you feel my love’ and concluded with a topical Lyle Lovett song, ‘If I had a boat’.
Has anyone seen Roy and I don’t mean Hodgson: Roy is one of our regular supporters; he can often be seen in the crowd amongst the old blokes and their acoustic guitars. And tonight for the first time he’d agreed to take a slot on the bill and play a bit of piano. When his time came, Simon was sent to search the building, but sadly, no Roy. Hopefully, we’ll get him up at a future event to do his thing.
Mr Soundman: Clive was on desk duties and did a fine job adjusting the mics and sliding the sliders and twiddling the nobs. He was so good we let him play a couple of songs. ‘John Barleycorn’ was followed by ‘My baby she wrote me a letter’. I don’t know what she wrote about, maybe it was to do with foldback levels and reverb; Clive didn’t say.
Two songs for a future England manager: Keith Willson complete with one of those arch top electric jazz guitars opened with ‘Those pathetic little strategies’ and kicked off the second half with ‘Keep on pushing’.
A big Ovation (it’s a guitar): Jason is becoming a regular and gave us two pretty songs in his very distinctive style. I think the opener was called ‘Didi wah didi’. He then meandered off with a traditional song called ‘Wandering’.
Irony alert - two songs from a Scotsman for England: John Oddie revisited a couple of his old favs: ‘May you never lay your head down’ and ‘Roll on’.
Sitting with the boys: Lisa Jackson spent the evening in the dark corner by the fire exit with the old boys. She gave us her distinctive interpretation of the 17th century nursery rhyme, ‘Lavender Blue’ followed by a pretty Kris Kristofferson’s, ‘Loving arms again’.
Singing for the people: Chris Liddiard opened with ‘Ain’t sweet enough for me’ and then hit us with a Union song, ‘It’s a hard hard road’.
New faces: Chris and Julia gave us ‘Don’t you grieve no more’ in their traditional folk style, featuring banjo and fiddle. They finished with a cappella performance of ‘Farewell to Tarwathie’.
Everyone had done their thing and as there was still a little time on the clock, I got John Oddie to join me for a breakneck speed version of my song, ‘I like to be sad’ which is about playing open mic nights.
And then, trying to find an inclusive way to close the evening that didn’t involve six acoustic guitars playing a 12-bar, I asked as many of the performers who were still in the room and awake to join me and give us a verse each from ‘House of the rising sun’. There was a little panic as the lyric sheet was passed around and the next vocalist tried to get on a mic and hit their mark. But, it was a good laugh and I think it worked quite well. Unity from division and all working in perfect (well nearly) harmony.
Whilst the team packed away the PA, John was giving us all reggae lessons, as it’s Reggae Night with Mr O on Tuesday 2/07/16. Now, that’s a challenge - I don’t like reggae, no, I love it, but can I play it?
Disclaimer: None of the above political nonsense was true - it was just one madman’s interpretation of an evening of good music at the Six Bells. x
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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