Funk and Skunk, Follow that Guru

I was going to rant on about wasting millions on a war, another, in Libya, pensioners, the national debt and international aid, Pakistan, China and India and some small outpost where the president spent our £40 million in aid on a jet. But I won’t.

A few weeks ago I went to the Grand Opera House in York to see a blast from the past, Loudon Wainwright 111. I was never a massive fan in the seventies and eighties but was aware that he was a great songsmith. I didn’t realize what a brilliant wordsmith he is and I am now absolutely hooked.

Our fearsome leader, or Guru, ( this will become clearer later) whom we all follow was up first, CALEDONIA, a Scottish song by Dougie Maclean OBE ( I bet none of you knew THAT), whose career started with a traditional band, The Tannahill Weavers, in 1976. His solo career started in 1981 and since then he has recorded numerous albums. He plays multiple instruments, including guitar, violin, mandola, viola, bouzouki, banjo and bass as well as being a singer and composer…. not unlike our Guru….. That’s an Irish man doping a Scottish song bit,  after which our Guru turned back to his roots with a Saw Doctors number.  I HOPE WE’LL MEET AGAIN.   I was a big Saw Doctors fan back in the mid-nineties and indeed have seen them live numerous times and have several albums, please note my favorite track is N17 so if our Guru is up to it I hope he will be on it in due course.

Addingham Hillbillys, Messrs.’ Nixi and Dauré. I really wish someone else was writing this blog because I can’t say how good they were, I really can’t and doubtless neither can anyone else!  They had practiced these numbers, well some of them, and resplendent with Martin guitar and Banjo (both instruments which are played by Loudon, whom we will call by his nickname, Loud, as I’ve seen him live and our Guru has been for a curry with him, so we feel we are friends. The Hillbilly's did a brilliant rendition of WHEN I’M DEAD AND GONE, originally by McGuiness Flint and sung excellent by Nixi, then GURU (here at last!!!) Guru is a superb song on several of Louds live albums, typical sarcastic Wainwright, and if Dauresy hadn’t f****d up the last line that would have been equally as brilliant. Both then did a solo number JD setting the tone for the next artiste with another Loud song HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELVIS, which is about Elvis not being dead and Nixi with BETTER MOVE ON a Stones classic written by Keef, who might be.

So……. Mike Craig, having had the tone set, did a perfect rendition a Richard Thompson song that had never made it onto a commercial Thompson release. GALWAY TO GRACELAND. I hope by now dear reader you can see the perfectly symmetrical flow of the evening. As an aside Richard Thompson features on several of Louds albums and has performed live with him. MAC followed with a funky version of Dylan’s IT AINT ME BABE, slightly unusual, but in any case better than Dylan, in fact nearly everyone sings Dylan better than Dylan. Incidentally Loud has a song called Talking New Bob Dylan Blues on one of his albums, just thought I’d let you know.

Relative newcomer Kevin Dixon did a duet type of thing with Nixi. Nixi and Kev used to play in a band called Dysentery but Nix left and plays in a band that’s similar. Kev has been re-learning the 6 string ax after playing bass for a while. Kev played and Nix kind of sang NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN AND OUT. Unrehearsed it was really very good. Kev also plays harpoon (see Me and Bobby McGee) so maybe next time! During the performance the “Wylie lookalike” dog walked in sat down, listened, yawned and walked out again, or may that was the “Dog lookalike” Wylie,  talk about morph

And indeed talking of morph the consensus of opinion is that Graeme Morell is Michael Chapman, performing YESTERDAY. GM/MC reliably informed us that MG/CM does perform this, and he should know. It’s a number written by Paul McCartney who has ever been bitter that it’s credited to Lennon McCartney, mind you he is a precious twat.  (That’s McCartney, not GMMC). This was followed by MY GIRL. Very different for GC/MM but very good and with a backbeat rhythm on the fingerplate of his fabulous Martin. "My Girl" is a 1964 song recorded by The Temptations for the Motown label which became a number one hit in 1965. Written and produced by The Miracles members Smokey Robinson and Ronald White. I hope your following this because there is a flow to it.

Gloria, I haven’t seen Gloria in a while so this was  nice surprise, Gloria teaches flute or something on a Tuesday, and I mention this because there is a flow to it to follow…..firstly a rewrite of a type of a Midsummer Night’s Dream THE IRON TONGUE OF MIDNIGHT which if I heard correctly was written by Gloria, pity you and Will couldn’t have come up with this at the time, you would’ve made a bomb,  either this number or the following one Gloria performed at the New Variety Club in Keighley. There’s a reason it’s the NEW variety club in Keighley and that’s because it never gets old, some of the local hoodies like bonfires. So if it wasn’t that one it was PLAINS OF WATERLOO, which seems to be a classic folk song about the battle of Waterloo. I think I have this on an early Abba album,     No?

In part Dos and before we all followed him our Guru offered a Joe Allan song called JOANNA. Two things about this, Joe Allan is a restaurant in Exeter Street in London where all the theatre performers go late in the evening, and Joanna was a famous song on Scott 2 by Scott Walker. Neither of these pertains to this song though and I can’t find anything else that does. BABYLON by David Gray was next. Gray's first two albums A Century Ends and Flesh were issued in 1993 and 1994 respectively and led to Gray becoming popular in folk-rock circles, but both failed in terms of commercial sales, not unlike our …. 

Addingham Hillbilly’s again, with another Loud composition, DEAD SKUNK , this was number one for three weeks in Little Rock Arkansas at some point or other and, I can’t say this, but it was bloody good, followed by MY OLD MANS A DUSTMAN which wasn’t a number one in Little Rock but was number one in England for weeks when it was released,  I can’t say this, but it was also bloody good, however I leave the praise to GM, “that was the best set I’ve ever seen you two do”,  Doesn’t say much for the other stuff then really does it!

MAC followed with an OCTO PUSSY’S GARDEN. That’s, like, 8 cats on grass?   Yeah man!! Again a bit funky, must be the night for funk and skunk I suppose, but nice to see MAC doing numbers that he doesn’t normally do, and then another, as far as I know, nearly new number WATERBOUND. If you want to know who it's by you need to look at an old blog as it’s on there. That’s what I was told to do but if you’re all too bone idle to look it up why should I be arsed to do it for you. Thanks MAC.

Graeme Morph Chapman performed, I thought, ONLY YOU, and he said, I think it was the Flying Pickets, but that can’t be right because the flying pickets are “Part of the Union”, c’mon….., Then someone suggested it was Alison Moyet but I can only find  FOR YOU ONLY by Alison Moyet, so I guess I strike out……………… Then a fantastic song by Jimmie Rodgers WAITING FOR A TRAIN. James Charles Rodgers ( 1897 – 1933), known as Jimmie Rodgers, was an American country singer known most widely for his rhythmic yodeling. Among the first country music superstars and pioneers this is one of the best songs of the night for me despite GMCM’s comments previously.


Back to Gloria,  MY MASTERPIECE,  Gloria wrote about a hand built guitar changing the original story about a hand built masterpiece cart. I think Gloria wrote this or certainly adapted it herself.  This was followed by Smokey Robinson’s TRACKS OF MY TEARS.  "The Tracks of My Tears" is The Miracles' most recognized, most honored, and most covered song, ranked at or near the top of many "best of" lists in the music industry over the last 40 years written in part by Smokey Robinson. Did you know that Smokie the band was originally called Smokey and they were threatened with legal action by Smokey Robinson so changed the spelling in the early 70’s.  Didn’t think you did, bet you’re glad you do now!

Ok do you see the way this is seamlessly flowing into itself, Ill explain at the end.

Jimmy Jukebox Porter popped in and gave us STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER, well it wasn’t forever it was only a few minutes but always something different James, Thank you.

Then a last finale Guru gave us ONLY RIVERS RUN FREE, Nixi with WILD HORSES and blogger with BILLY THE KID.  I have to say about Nixi and wild horses, that Gloria chimed in (or whatever the equivalent is) with a flute and the effect was brilliant.

So…. Brian goes first always, so he is followed, hence - Guru, Elvis, Gracelands, My Girl, Smokey Robinson, Tracks of my Tears. Funk and Skunk.

Pure Genius, or should that be Guinness

Posted on June 23, 2011 .