The Magnificent Seven (Well Magnificent Six plus Blogger!)
With two amusing, entertaining, detailed and lengthy blogs by JD to follow I feel as though I have drawn the short straw. John D could not make it tonight (presumably to avoid having to do three blogs in succession) and our normal warm up man (and all round organiser of SAS) Brian reported in sick and an early night in bed with the lovely (but also sick) Mrs Wylie was the preferred option for him. However a total of seven performers did turn up and provided some excellent music.
Before I move on to the events of the evening I thought that I should, on behalf of all at SAS, offer best wishes to our leader Brian on his upcoming visit to hospital. We look forward to seeing you “fit as a fiddle” (or should that be “blarge”?) at the next SAS on 18th October.
John Nixon started things off this week with The Joker (probably in homage to the absent JD!), the platinum selling Nr 1 from 1973 by the Steve Miller band. I have just read the lyrics – haven’t a clue what it is about! This was followed by the Elkie Brookes classic Pearl’s a Singer. John was on top form tonight and gave us excellent versions of these two songs.
Len Harvey informed us that he was in 60’s mode tonight. Starting with the Nancy Griffith song It’s a Hard Life (yet another example of SAS broadening my musical experiences – there were quite a few such instances tonight). I’m not sure where the 60’s element was in this song as my research shows it as a 1989 song – maybe Len just meant he was feeling his age tonight! This was followed by a definite 60’s song – I’m Bound for the Mountains and the Sea from the 1964 album Ramblin’ Boy by Tom Paxton. Great stuff as usual by everyone’s favourite blog critic.
Rob Watkins gave us an excellent version of John Prine’s Sam Stone followed by the ex-Planxty man Christie Moore song So Do I. A lot of Irish people like to holiday in Portugal and I am always surprised at the number and popularity of Christy Moore songs that are sung in the clubs and bars frequented by the Irish (not that go in many!)
So far three singers all with lovely mellow songs beautifully performed. Ian Wingate up next! I have not had the opportunity of blogging an Ian Wingate performance before – those who have seen / heard Ian will understand my dilemma! I think his first offering was Dum Dum Di Dum Dum Dum. To be honest it all went too fast to be able to put anything meaningful down on paper but I know it did involve swapping body parts ! What I do know is that we were all absorbed by the rapid flow of highly entertaining proverbs and double entendres. The Dum Dum song was, as usual, one of Ian’s own songs, but next up was a rare cover. Nothing is ever straight forward with Ian – this was Ian’s version of an Alex Harvey song based on a poem by Jacques Brel called Next, about the loss of virginity in a mobile army brothel. This was very different to the usual fare served up by Ian (although the style was unmistakably Ian’s) . Nothing funny in this song, but a very moving piece delivered very well.
Blogger up next with two Richard Thompson numbers - Walking the Long Miles Home and (as it was in the same tuning and as Mike Craig was not present) Vincent Black Lightening.
To finish the first half we had Pam Johnson with her Ukulele. I must confess that I was not particularly looking forward to this (being a fan of guitars with full sounds and deep bases), but after her two songs I have to say that I completely changed my mind. This was the highlight of the evening for me and a complete revelation. Her version of Linda Thompson’s No Telling What a Love Song Will Do was brilliant. This was followed the traditional song Bury Me Beneath the Willow, perhaps most recent version of which was by Alison Kraus. As an aside I was at a wedding yesterday and was sitting next to a lady who lives in Nashville who is a governor at a school that Alison Krauss’s children go to. She is also a good friend of Ricky Skaggs and we have an invitation to go and stay with them!
Enough of the name dropping and onto part 2. The laid back Mr Nixon, who was singing as well as I have ever heard him (I can imagine the comments as JD reads this!), sang Rod Stewart’s I Was Only Joking, a track on his 1977 album, Foot Loose & Fancy Free (that’s Rod’s album not Nixi’s). The classic Hotel Californian completed John’s excellent work for the night.
We were lucky enough to get two sets from Len tonight. The Weaver’s version of an anonymous poem My Get Up and Go Has Got Up and Went was followed by Tom Russell’s When Irish Girls Grow Up. Both played and sung with aplomb.
Slaid Cleaves had been noted as being worthy of a listen during the interval discussions and Rob Watkins proved the point with his My Drinking Days Are Over. To finish off Rob played the Ryan Adams song Oh My Sweet Carolina. Rob, like everyone else tonight, was on top of his game.
The pub Dulux dog promptly got up and left the room as Ian Wingate picked up his guitar and took to the stage. Obviously a dog with a very sensitive nature. Bugs On The Ground was a self penned song that was definitely not for the squeamish. Followed by another cover (two in one night must be a record). This time it was Jethro Tull’s Locomotive Breath from their classic 1971 album Aqualung. Surprisingly Ian was not wearing Dick Whittington style boots whilst standing on one leg.
Blogger again with Little Ol’ Wine Drinker Me that was followed by a Fred Wedlock song which was allegedly written following a visit to SAS – The Oldest Swinger in Town.
Pam Johnson had swapped her Uke for her guitar for the second half and started with a song recently recorder by my new friend’s friend Alison Kraus – How’s The World Treating You written by Chet Atkins & Boudleaux Bryant (how’s that for a name!). Fish Swim by Mary Gauthier (who I know is one of Pam’s favourites – I can see why) finished her performance for tonight.
James Jukebox Porter called in on his way home from work to perform two songs – Paul Simon’s Take Me To The Mardis Gras and Donovan’s A Song For You. I have never seen JJ with lyric sheets – how on earth does he do it?!!
And that was it – a really good night with some seriously good performances – can’t wait for the next one on Tuesday 18th October! See you there