28-11-17 – Story Songs
Picking up on a variation of a theme, I was invited to receive the baton and run with tradition in presentation; of set music genres/styles, variously and intermittently programmed throughout the years, at the club. So, having announced the [advisory] road map of proceedings I kicked off with my own road trip offering, 'Yellow-jacket' – a Stephen Fearing song followed by a New Orleans thing, 'Storyville' by Robbie Robertson, played in dropped D and open G-over-D tunings, respectively in these arrangements for solo performance.
Jane followed me in the Americana with her lap steel, slide guitar, performing 'It Stoned Me' by Van the-Irish-man Morrison and 'Bobby McGee' [trad-arr], supported by Martin on alto-saxophone. Then it was George, Mary and Jack [electric bass] performing 'Sway' and then Jack's own Latin tinged 'Thank You For Calling' before Keith Wilson came on mic continuing with the self-penned song agenda with two story-songs of his own: 'Tale Of Two Acorns' and 'Terrible Portrait'. And, as if to expand on this trend of personal creativity, Chris Martin then gifted us with a particularly poignant acoustic performance of 'My Mum Alzheimer’s And The Care Home' followed by a similarly articulated, sensitively treated, ballad to the dispossessed simply entitled 'Paul' – enough said.
Jayne picked up her guitar and gave us 'Dixie Chicks' and then a personal homage to the mega stress factors of rearing four daughters [‘especially that youngest one …’] conveyed fluently through her maternally cathartic song, 'You Worry Me'.
In a change of pace Jamie, a newcomer to the club, ably encouraged by C M, gave us 'Hallelujah' and 'Hotel California' which saw Martin sitting in again, which in turn moved me to join in on a bit of slide [albeit non-transcribed] guitar, to add a bit of air to the mix; and as Simon subsequently assured us in his respiratorial resonances – 'tunes help you breathe more easily' … indeed they literally-in-context continued to do just that with his tuneful renditions of Kate Wolfe's "One More Song" and with the cut-time [alla breve] emotional intelligence of 'Help'. Clive followed this, coming in at ninth with a well-received performance of set pieces; a couple of songs often associated with the singing of John Nicholls, 'Over The Lancashire Hills' and 'Red And Gold' – the later having been originally composed by the singer/songwriter Ralph McTell.
And then, to extend an hitherto Aeolian metaphor of breathy tunes [sans guitars at last], Ella sat down at the house piano to sing a breezy number of which, regrettably, I didn't quite catch the title but certainly came to again on my return as she proceeded with a beautifully modal take on the, still rather emotive, story of 'Lord [and Lady] Franklin' and the historical significance thereof in what had turned out to be the perfect penultimate performance prior to the novel instrumentation of the concluding female/male duo, 'Moonbean' [sic] comprising of vocals/electric-guitar and upright double-bass. They concluded with their own, young-spirited version of the standard 'Autumn Leaves' with a noteworthy bass solo to see us melodically home after enjoying what had turned out to be an eclectic evening of musical styles and genres in balance with each and all under the banner of a preset theme which could well have seemed a bit restrictive in its scope – Creative Freedom will always find a way!
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