So this drizzly night, with fireworks going off outside and across the valley, a large crowd of musicians gathered to drink a pint by the roaring fire. There were plenty of
regulars and a couple of faces I had not seen before.
Brian kicked us off with a song for Remembrance Sunday, "John Condon", about a man who at the age of only 14 laid down his life in the First World War, serving as Private
6322 in the Royal Irish Regiment. This was followed by "Only Our Rivers Run Free", a song written by Mickey MacConnell in 1973. Emotional and soulful as always Mr. Wylie.
Next was Leon Sienkiewicz, who hasn't played here for a while and indeed it was a pleasure to hear his gentle renditions of two Bob Dylan numbers, "Tell me that it isn't
true" and "Lenny Bruce".
Mike Craig was up next and gave us his interpretations of "The Pines are Dancing" by A.A. Bondi and a Tom Waits song, "Come On Up to the House". I don't know what I can write
about Mike's music that hasn't already been written so instead I will compliment him on his wardrobe choices- double denim was the order tonight. Seriously though, great
Andee was next and was great to see her return to the Swan after a mad few weeks of work commitments. Silence fell and a restful atmosphere prevailed as she played a
beautiful air "Lament for Limerick" and Turlogh O'Carolan's "Planxty Burke". Planxty is a word invented or popularised by O'Carolan meaning a song composed in honour of a
wealthy patron. In return for writing songs for them, O'Carolan was invited to stay on their estates. I wonder if I write a song about the Swan pub will they give me free
The trio known as NDD or "Nixon, Dixon and Daure" were up and gave us a rendiiton of "Crossroad Blues" by Robert Johnson, the "father of blues" and a roaring and stomping
rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabamaaaaa". Pretty much most of the pub was singing along on the chorus. I expect brimmed hats and banjos next time, gentlemen!
"Hotel California" by The Eagles was the last offering from these guys-a song which I never recognise til it gets to the chorus! Good stuff.
David then gave us a rendition with his powerful baritone voice of a song about catching buses- well, why not?- called "One Way Ticket to Louise". His second song, he
explained, he was inspired to write after seeing the website of a Chinese musician raised on the grasslands near Tibet. The musician said that his people had two wings- the
horses who carried them over the grasslands, and the songs that take us through time. Great composition!
Graham played us a song about a young woman who warned her young man not to have his way with her- "Touch Me Not" I think it was called- clearly this lady in question was not
to be messed with! Anyway, it was a great song and was followed by John Hiatt's "Icy Blue heart", about a lady who has been hurt and the singer wonders if he should try to
heal her, or leave her be.
The blogger followed with "Morrison's Jig" into "Smash the Windows" and "Blarney Pilgrim" into "Garryowen". I don't know why but for some reason before I play silence
descends and it's like a doctor's waiting room. I hope the song was more pleasurable than a visit to the doc!
Brian and Peter O'Connel followed with rousing a capella "Black Velvet Band", again most of the pub joining in the chorus. I love a capella singing especially when it's done
with as much gusto as these two gave it.
Gloria was next with a self-penned song "Man in a Tree" which had references to Armley Prison in- loved the gritty lyrics. This was followed by Tennyson's Charge of the Light
Brigade" set to music followed by a tune originally written for bagpipes but translated nicely to guitar "Battle of the Somme".
James "jukebox" Porter rounded off the first half (I had used four sheets of paper by this point and was worried I was going to run out) with "The Curragh of Kildare" and a
lovely spanish-flavoured number called "Besame muscho" which has been recorded by Frank Sinatra and Andrea Bocelli amongst others but was written in 1940 by Consuelo
Velázquez. According to Wikipedia, it is the most sung and recorded Mexican song EVER. It translates as "Kiss Me a Lot" - sounds a lot better in Spanish ;)
A lot of folks had to get home for cocoa/whisky/trouble-making so the dedicated band of minstrels left to carry on the second half were started off after a swift pint by
Brian and Mike with Brian on a green lute-like instrument which I was later informed was called a "blarge" (I prefer lute-like green thingy ;)). Anywhoo, the duo played
another O'Carolan song, "Planxty George Brabazon" (some of O'Carolan's patrons had amazing names) followed by a song whihc Mike tells me was called "My Son's a Prawn". It
could have been the caffeine talking but I swear that is what he said!!
Leon then played us a lovely song by Al Green "Ain't no Sunshine When She's gone" followed by Eric Bogel's "Now I'm Easy". Very relaxing to listen to and hope to see more of
Leon at the Swan.
Mike and Brian then gave us the classic "20 Years" by the Civil Wars and Mike played "This Mountain" by Steve Earle. Always gives me the shivers that song, when it comes to
the bit about the ghosts in the mine tunnels that the company sealed. Nicely done.
Andee was next and played "Father O'Flynn" into "McAllister's March" then "Black is the Colour" into "Nelly, Your Favour I'm afraid I will not gain". (That has to be the
longest song title I've ever heard.) Superb!
A new face to the Swan, Jim Robinson then asked if he could borrow a guitar from someone as he had been at the bonfire down the road, walked past the Swan, heard the racket
*cough* *ahem* lovely music and decided to come play. Glad he did and we were treated to Miles Kane's "Come closer" (I kept thinking it was One Way or Another by Blondie-
yes, yes, I don't know indie music) and the Killers' "Mr Brightside". Please come again Jim!
The blogger followed with "Boys of Blue Hill" into "Little Beggarman", two traditional hornpipes then "Moondance". Made fewer mistakes than in the first half and it would be
when my mum had gone home after watching the first half!!
Gloria honoured my request with "Night of the Night Out" a self-penned number about a (fictional) Leeds taxi firm, then a brilliant rendition of Cher's "Believe". I never
thought that could be done on guitar but it was pulled off beautifully.
James finished off the evening with Andy Gaunt's "Cry to Me", a catchy song and a Carole King number "Way Over Yonder". Fantastic night had by all and see you on the 19th!