Well, what can I say proper planning and preparation all went to pot 30 seconds after I arrived at The Swan carpark when I realised I had not brought my songs with me. Disaster! A new guitar that obviously didn’t know any of my songs or tunes, whistle in my other guitar case and only my trusty mandolin ( although with sore fingers) so a hasty 15 min practice prior to anyone else arriving and well lets see!
6 musicians joined us tonight at the Swan, a welcome return from Ian Pucknell, Kath, Graeme, Len, Dave, and the Blogger(Blagger). Dave our M.C was engrossed with Kath in a conversation about Lakeside walks so a rather tentative blogger launched into a couple of tunes on the mandolin “Devil amongst the tailors” and I believe “Speed the plough” this was RAPIDLY followed by “Dennis Murphy’s and John Ryans”. Phew think I got away with it.
Mr Len Harvey was next up with a bit of classic Paxton “Hold onto me Babe” and a classic “Gold” Len had been chatting about guitars and woods and sound just prior to the start and that guitar sounds every bit as good as the Martin it mimics. Excellent stuff Len. As we were sitting round the big table near the fire, Graeme was next in line to perform. He like the blogger had omitted to bring his book of words, but fortunately his guitar knows all of Michael Chapmans back catalogue and was in for a busy night. Atrilogy no less,”Looking for Charlie in Nagales” Mingus that is, not the drug. Was followed by “It aint So” and” Sensemelia “ (spelling?) which I thought was another drug. Excellent finger picking as always and he remembered the songs the guitar knew as well Great start. Carrying on this theme was Graemes friend Dave Artus on his second visit to The Swan, Dave is another Chapman convert but started with a different song that could have been written by himself for his daughter “We stayed awake” by Hugh Wiliams and then “That time of night” lovely deep bodied voice and Takamine guitar. Excellent songs Dave. Ian King Pucknell was next up on his return from Malaysia sans Babs so she might be under a hut somewhere. Ian gave us one of his standards to begin his spot”A couple of more years on you Baby” and rounded it off sweetly with “Lady take your time” by Allan Taylor, sparking a bit of a debate about his recent performanes, Allans not Ians. Welcome back King Puck. Kath was up next with a kindly donated guitar from Len and sang “Motherland” unfortunately Larry was not there so Kath accompanied herself and did a cracking version of this song before handing the guitar back to Len.
This was brought to a stuttering start as I was frantically trying to remember a long lost tune and the group were unaware that I had started “The Blackthorn Stick” and “The Kesh” were rapidly and I mean RAPIDLY followed by “The Masons apron” which caused our resident critic Tony to comment, “is that the shortest spot ever at the Swan Dave?” the answer YES!
Len followed this with a bit of 60’s culture a-la Donovan with “Try for the Sun” a lovely ballad not played enough and then on a roll went straight into “You’re sixteen” you are beautiful and you’re mine! I think he was referring to the guitar????? But a great spot none the less. Graeme was next up and announced the Chapman song about to be heard was one that he wished he never had to write, “Fool in the night” tells the story of an errant wife whilst the singer was working 200 miles away. Len was so engrossed watching Graemes deft fingerwork that he missed the storyline. Please pay attention at the back!!!!. This was Followed by Michael Chapmans hit “Postcards of Scarbrough” which judging by the blank expressions on the rest of was meant we were sadly lacking in an education musically. Fantastic stuff anyway. Dave was back with an Al Stewart number ably abetted by his Chapman cohort Graeme “Old Compton street Blues” and then a beautifully crafted self penned song “Garland of Blue” lovely song Dave and you are welcome back anytime. Ian was next in our circle of friends for their second spot and proudly announced that WE as in Ian and the Blogger were performing after weeks of practice NOT ! “Ride on” by Jimmy McCarthy it was a great effort as the Blogger tried to play all the right notes in the right order. Phew! Well done Ian. Old familiar territory now with “Dallas Whore” one of my personal favourites so well done Ian and don’t leave it so long next time. Kath then rounded the night off, again with Lens guitar and gave us “Good Tradition” by Tanita Tickaram. Great stuff and we want more! A fitting end to a very very pleasant night. Thanks to the members of our select committee for letting me know in advance of their absence. See you all in a fortnight with your shamrocks and plastic paddy songs as it is “St Pats” day, week fortnight, month. Begorrah and Bejabers BCW