Compact and Bijou


That’s what Ian said when he sold us the room for last nights Swan Acoustic Session, due to some runners having a meal at The Swan. We sojourned to the side room where we enjoyed a very nice evening with some lovely music. Dot and Ged popped in for an hour and stayed all night, and it was a pleasure to see both of them even if they had some weak excuses for not performing although Dot was well upstaged by her dog.

Anyway Blogger up first with a hastily prepared set that was not adhered to and subsequently allowed for random comments like “What does that asterisk mean after that G chord or being unable to read my own writing. Definite C.R.A.F.T moment .Anyway after torturing my guitar into a rendition of “Black is the colour” ( I know her hair is not Black) and a passable version of the first song I ever performed at The Swan “Writing on the wall” by Mick Hanly, which sounded exactly the same as when it was first performed, you see nothing if not consistent. John Nixon was next up without his trusty sidekick Pablo, John gave us a topical song around the problem with the I.M.F by Graham Parker “Hotel Chambermaid, which caused a lot of reminiscing with the older elements of our musos tonight. John’s second offering was instantly recognisable to all but him when he strummed the opening chords to Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” excellent stuff John but probably back to normal soon when Pablo is back in town. That done  it was time to hand it over to Eric Morecambe. Sorry that should read Mike Craig who unfortunately taking my lead had a few Andre Preview moments of “all the right chords just not necessary in the right order”. Mike gave us A.A Bondi’s “Lovers Waltz” which is a lovely song if not a Waltz and then Richard Thompsons “Beeswing” with that classic line “white horse in her pocket and a wolfhound at her feet” you meet a different class of girl at The Swan Mike! Great stuff none the less and set the scene for the comedic second part. Andee was next up and in spite of the paisley pattern on the carpet and never having played or even been in the room before played two lovely barn dances on the harp, the first was “All around the Fairy Fort” and “The New Broom” and these were followed by “The Glass of Beer” and the Humours of Tullough” The harp sounded really nice in the closed room atmosphere of the side room allowing its sophmorphic elements to pervade our otherwise tired souls. Well done Andee.

Rob Watkins was next  having just enduring a marathon session week in Ireland with Blogger, Kath and the “Internationally Famous Wild Geese” and a kitchen session on Saturday followed by a gig at wait for it…….. The Swan….. decided that you can not get enough and sometimes its easier to wean of slowly and gave us  a John Prine number “Sam Stone” Great stuff Rob, Caroline was next up with her accompanist and gave us her version of a classic song “Dimming of the Day” a lovely blend of guitar and voice and more to come later. Ged and Dot neatly side stepped our request for a song and it was left to Gloria to round our first half off, Gloria was teaching flute earlier in Leeds and it was nice to see her again and well worth the trip over. The first offering was an Irish tune “Lovely Glenchesk” and rounded our first half off with a self penned song whose title I never got (shame) but the content was based on a master craftsman’s efforts in creating a wheel and the spokes of life etc. Small consolation for such a glaring error from blogger. We then broke for beer and the usual ablutions.

The Second half kicked off with the blogger and a Bobby Sands number “Back home in Derry” Bobby died on hunger strike 30 years ago  this year but left a legacy of songs behind. Dougie MacLean’s “Caledonia” was next and I sang it in too low a key AGAIN! But hey ho.

John Nixon was next up and this time we had a Bruce Springsteen number “The River” which John performed in a growling Drawl reminiscent of a hard drinking, chain smoking cowboy, well two out of three isn’t bad. And then talking about that gives us a long lost Richards/Jagger “Salt of the Earth”, who says this is just thrown together. Great stuff John, and here he comes Andre Preview, with a couple of Tom Wait songs with a comedic twist brilliant. Mike though long and hard about his choice before settling on “Hang down your head” and “ Innocent when you dream” I can now officially hand the mantle over to Mike and know it is in safe hands as the words and chords were never as Tom envisaged but added to the humour of the night.

Andee by now had relaxed as this allowed her to follow Mike with consummate ease as she performed” Aran Boat Song” and “Captain O’Kane” the former gave rise to some comments as it required a bit of nimble finger work changing a note which intrigued Dot. The latter gave an opportunity for the room to discuss whether it was written by O’Carolan. It was that sort of night!!! But great tunes all the same.

Rob and Caroline conspired together having had their solo slots in the first half, we had “O My Sweet Carolina” by” Ryan Adams” and a great version of Gram Parsons “Grievous Angel” Lovely Harmonies and effortless picking on guitar. Gloria was our finale tonight and her penultimate song was a self penned “Leeds Brig” a historically accurate song and encompassing all Leeds Brigs Torrid years of work and strife with more than a nod to an infamous murder. To finish with a flourish was a taste of Midsummer madness “Iron Tongue” based loosely on Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Nights Dream” a fitting finale as this month sees the solstice.

A great night all round and thanks to all for coming, sees you all in two weeks 

Posted on June 8, 2011 .