Question: How do you avoid doing the blog?
Answer: Arrive at a different time to yours truly.
In accordance with more recent blogging convention I will classify by artist only without the old fashioned sub-categories of first and second half.
Brian “you ARE doing the blog Graeme” Wylie started things off with Trouble by Horslips (or did Brian say he was having trouble with his horselips), ably followed by what Brian referred to as Ballad of Anna’s Stare but which I believe is actually called Ballad of Cursed Anna. You really must try harder to get these things right Brian! Either way it was written by Jonathan Kelly. Brian’s second set started with an emotional moment as Brian recounted how he had become the owner of the sadly departed Dave Crolla’s (one of Brian’s former band mates) banjo. The family had asked him to have it as a memento and this was it’s very first outing. Now Brian always does a clever trick by playing instruments the wrong way round (right hand fretting, left hand plucking) but as this particular instrument was exactly how the right handed Dave played it, Brian played Jackie’s Reel and Star of Munster with the strings upside down as well – now that is a really good trick. Next we time see this particular instrument it will have the strings the right way around (for Brian that is, not for us normal people). Back to the guitar for the traditional Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond by Lady Elizabeth who, from what Brian was telling us, could well be his great great great grandmother.
A very warm welcome greeted Loudon John Daure III who had not been seen in these parts for quite some time. I suspect he has been too busy building a temple in honour of LWIII to come and visit us. The love affair (one way as far as I can tell) with Mr Wainwright continues to grow stronger to the extent that JD booked two of the best seats in the house for a close up encounter with his idol. He was getting a little worried that he had been ripped off as he had not received his tickets, so he booked another two of the best seats in the house. As happens in cases like this, all 4 tickets arrived in the post one morning! So JD has two spare tickets (or a lot of legroom) to see LWIII if anyone is interested but as there is just one snag – the concert is in America! I am starting to feel a bit of musical hero envy here as I only went to Otley to see Michael Chapman (although I bet LWIII doesn’t stay at your house after the concert!).
When JD eventually got round to playing he sang “You Don’t Want to Know” and “Aphrodisiac” both of which were well played and amused the audience. Unfortunately no second half appearance from JDIII as he had to get back to offer prayers to the Great Loudon.
The Gibson Brothers, otherwise known as Larry & Adrian, were next to take to the stage. This duo show real dedication to the cause with a neat red folder containing song sheets entitled “Swan Acoustic 2012”. It makes me wonder if, unlike the norm at SAS, they had been practicing. A laid back version of “Substitute” was their first offering – a very enjoyable and unusual take on the old Who number (and The Who are old now!). “Lyin’ Eyes” (Eagles) closed the first set. To open the second set we had “She Rides Wild Horses” by The Povertyneck Hillbillies (who?!!) with Larry playing some particularly nice harmonica. No Gibson Bros set-list would be complete without something from Leonard C. The set was therefore complete with “That Don’t Make it Drunk”. All good stuff.
John Nixon up next and unusually not playing immediately before, immediately after or at the same time (usually the same song) as JD. This was as a result of Mr N needing a comfort break just when he was due to start (I think it might be an age related thing). There were some mutterings from the audience about John possibly not being able to perform (musically!) due to a recent 4 hour jam session but as it turned out the extra practice (ahh – so it’s not just the Gibson Bros!) had been beneficial as he rattled off very good versions of “Hootchie Coochie Man” and Springsteen’s “The River”. No second half from JN as (in his own words) he “had to get his father back home” (JDIII).
Welcome back Chris Patrick – it seems to have been a while since we last saw you. Chris has been having a bit of a problem with his right index finger following a minor accident (involving a closing door if I recall correctly) and he seemed to take great delight in holding it up in front of the audience to demonstrate how bent it now is – I even thought he was going to get a straight edge out at one point. Chris almost always performs his own songs and that was certainly the case tonight. “A lot of catching up to do” is Chris’s version of Haydn’s Surprise Symphony where the audience is gently lulled into a near sleep like state (some were at that point before he even started!) by a gentle ballad that I could imagine Elvis singing, only to be woken by the last chorus which was blasted out Fortissimo! Having woken everyone up we were then treated to “An Old Man Keeping the Cold at Bay”. In the second half “Another Feather From Our Wings” and “Amanda Bell” were two more compositions served up by Chris. Overall four very good songs , collective more mellow than we are often used to (just an observation).
Now it was Pam Johnson’s turn. The Phil Ochs song (note the spelling – isn’t the internet wonderful!) “Remember Me” was her first offering. I have never heard of this performer before (Phil not Pam) and it was interesting reading up on him on t’internet. This was followed by “Drink” from (no surprises) Mary Gauthier. This was a good version by Pam which became even better when she removed the capo to get it in the correct key! To start the second half we had “You Only Believe Me When I’m Lying” by Zoe Muth and the Lost High High Rollers (where do they get these names from – it’s been a nightmare sorting out all the spellings for this blog!). This was a double first for Pam – first time she has played the song and first time standing up. It was very good – all that practice in the half time interval was worth it! I have to admit that the next song has got me stumped. It was by Eileen (Eilen, Ileen etc) Duel (Duval, Duvel, Dual etc) and is called Wreckless (Reckless). Whatever it was I cannot find out anything about it – but it was very good!
It was good to see Brian Rhodes returning after his first SAS outing last time, although on that occasion he was accompanied by a young lady. This time he was on his own (which rather reminds me of what happened to me when I first started coming – my good lady has only been back once since and that was only because she thought that my daughter who also came might sing!). Anyway Brian is a very good performer and, as we found out during the evening, a gifted songwriter. He has a bit of a “cheeky chappy” air about him and I can’t help but think of Norman Wisdom as he takes to stage (meant in a nice way!), although Mr Wisdom never sang David Gray as well as Brian. From the songs he has played so far I suspect Brian is a big David Gray fan. “Babylon” was the opening number. This was followed by “Your Kiss” which was written by B Rhodes and very good it was too. “Leaving on a Jet Plane” started the second spot and this was followed by another B Rhodes number entitled “Dance”. All in all a very good performance – please keep coming back.
Paul Duff used to be a regular at AA (no – not a drink problem but Addingham Acoustic, before SAS was set up) but I think this is the first time he has been to SAS so welcome back. It appears that Paul writes all his own songs (well if he didn’t write them they wouldn’t be his own I hear you say – you know what I mean!) and very good they are too. In the first half we had “Juvenile Lies” and “Sammy’s Bar”, the latter having a verse written by someone else and the chorus written by Paul (or maybe the other way round – it’s not easy being the blogger, particularly on a night like this!). The second set comprised “How Long” and “Over My Head”. I may have made this point before, but as a blogger you always try and get the names of the songwriter. Obviously there are a number of songs that I have not heard before and I continue to be amazed when, upon being asked “who wrote the song?” I get the reply “I did”.
Blogger up next with “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty and “Piano Man” by Billy Joel in the first half and “Room of Roots” an instrumental by Al Stewart (from Zero She Flies LP) and Sir Michael Chapman’s Bon Temps Rouler (let the good times roll).
And the good times did roll as it was another great evening of music. But SAS would not be complete without James “The Juke” Porter who rounded off the evening in style with Donovan’s “To Sing For You”.
Look forward to seeing you all on 15th May.