Blogger arrived late as usual to a tumultuous cheer. At last – my hoards of fans had come to see me play and stardom and riches were just around the corner! This illusion was shattered very quickly when it turned out that Brian had decreed that the next one through the door would be have to do the blog and …… you guessed it!
There was to be an Irish theme to the night to mark St Patrick’s Day - something about which yours truly had completely forgotten (I always forget St Patricks Day, but this year I forgot that we were supposed to make reference to it in our choice of music). Unfortunately the reference to our Gaelic friends over the water led to many “sorry, can you repeat that” moments as blogger attempted to accurately record the names of all the pieces played (note to self : bring English Gaelic dictionary next year). So apologies in advance for any mis-spellings.
The Swan was fairly packed tonight with nine performers (plus groupies) and a good number of onlookers representing the general public (there was a particularly high proportion of men in high-vis tops and lycra tights although this might not be so unusual for Addingham).
A full evening was set in motion by Brian Wylie accompanied by Mike Craig playing “Blackthorn Stick / Keoh” and “Devil Among the Tailors / Speed the Plough”. As noted earlier, blogger wasn’t there for this but apparently it was very good and nobody could tell that it had only been rehearsed on Sunday but the keys had been changed as had the running order. I am taking this from Kath’s notes and am not sure if she meant that nobody could tell that the keys and the order had been changed or that it had been rehearsed at all !
John Nixon up next with his very nice new (to him) Taylor 314CE Special Edition. This has a cedar top instead of the usual spruce and it does give a warm tone that many Taylor’s (including mine) are lacking. John started with “Salt of the Earth” (Jagger / Richards). JN did well with this as a game of musical chairs was played throughout (primarily because blogger insisted that he needed a decent spot if he was going to write the blog). John’s second offering was “Roxanne” by the Police, chosen for no other reason than he couldn’t play the song he had intended as he had forgotten his glasses and could not read the lyrics and he knew this one off by heart. Great stuff.
Len Harvey followed with “Sonny’s Dream” by Ron Hynes, followed by “When Irish Girls Grow Up” by Tom Russell. Both played with Len’s usual aplomb and accompanied by Brian on mandolin. Never heard of either of these before (the songs that is - not Len and Brian) but very nice easy listening. I think Len must have been on a promise tonight as he was keen to leave at the interval so this was the end of his performance tonight (for us at any rate).
A new face to SAS tonight – John Toothill. John seems to be quite a character and is obviously something of a “performer” who puts on a bit of a show, and very entertaining it was. He started with “Fiddlers Green” and had everyone singing along. This was followed by the Carl Denver song “Travelling On” which was played with gusto and I’m sure I heard a yodel in there. Excellent stuff John.
James “Jukebox” Porter joined in with the Irish theme and played “Carragh of Kildaire” (damn – no Gaelic spell checker on this computer) which I believe is a traditional song, followed by “No Woman No Cry” written by Bobrick O’Marley. No need for lyric sheets for Juke !
SAS’s Mr Laid Back aka Rob Watkins was next up. I always expect to see him in a sequinned waistcoat and cowboy boots as he delivers his lovely country style songs which in this slot were “Train Leaving Here This Morning” (The Eagles) and “Don’t Tell Me” (Buddy Miller). Excellent as always.
Andee Craig brought some culture to the evening as she played “Down By the Cellar Garden / Flying to Fleagh” and “Stars of County Down / Princess Royale”. It took me so long to get the names of these down correctly(?) I thought it best not to bother with who wrote them – probably traditional tunes anyway. Andee was on top form with these and played very well.
Blogger was next on with his Taylor this week. Tom Paxton’s “Long Way From Your Mountain” was followed by Richard Thompson’s “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight”. This selection did rather stun the regulars, not because of spellbinding quality or anything equally unlikely but because there was no Michael Chapman song included (which neatly brings me on to the fact that he is playing at Korks Winebar in Otley on Friday 25th March!)
To finish the first half Mike Craig played “Crooked Jack” by Dominic Beehan and “Courted a Wee Girl” which is a traditional song but doesn’t sound it at all in MC’s version. Very well delivered, particularly considering the state of his throat on the night!
As mentioned earlier the break saw the departure of Len, and a couple of other early birds put in requests to be moved up the order so they could get to bed for an early sleep (unless they were also on a promise).
John Toothill started the second half with “My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes”, a humorous ditty played on the guitar. This was followed by a medley of George Formby songs played on the ukulele, including “Pasadena Town”, “Oh Mr Blue” and “Leaning on a Lamppost” (I did not check to see if they are all GF songs, apologies if not), complete with an instrumental uke break in the middle. Very entertaining – please come back and visit us again John.
It was also past Nixie’s bed time but he did manage to stay awake long enough to give us excellent versions of “Light My Fire” and “Norwegian Wood”.
A very unusual sight came next. Brian W playing at position number three (rather than his usual opening slot). Accompanied by Mike C (whose throat had given up by now) he ran through “Maid Behind The Bar / St Annes” & “Docherty’s Reel / Down the Broom”. I think we should start calling him Whizz Wylie !
Perhaps the strangest part of the night (perhaps even in SAS history) came next when James “Jukebox” Porter played “Someone Like You” by Adel (I am told this is currently Nr 1) and he momentarily forgot the words. Regulars will know that JP has a huge repertoire of popular songs which he plays word perfectly without the need for lyrics, so this really was a big deal! Normal service was quickly restored with a rendition of “Nights in White Satin”.
Rob Watkins back again with “Fish of the Day” by Christie Moore. He was then joined by Caroline to sing the Gram Parsons song “Return of the Grievous Angel”. I have heard them duet on this song before and I have to say that I think that this is probably my favourite all-time SAS performance by anybody. It is a great song to start with and the playing, singing and the harmonies are absolutely brilliant!
Andee Craig played more flowing harp music in the form of “Soft Mild Morning” (an air) and “Her Hair Flowed Down Her Back” (a hornpipe). Lovely playing as ever Andee.
Blogger finished with two Michael Chapman songs (he’s playing at Korks in Otley on 25th March) entitled “Kodak Ghosts” and “No Song to Sing”.
And that was it. It really was a GOOD night at SAS, although probably the worst ever night to do the blog with all these strange sounding song titles! (apologies for those that I have got wrong) .
Next SAS is on Tuesday 5th April 2011 and I hope to see you there.
PS Did I mention that Michael Chapman is playing at Korks in Otley on 25th March?!!