Heavy Metal Harp/Capo Chaos. 3/12/13

Most of our blogs seem to start off by saying if it was going to be a busy or a quiet night at The Swan and this one is no exception. Quiet!

There is a fascination these days with numbers for example how many likes on facebook? or how many youtube views?.Big numbers do not always equal big quality or enjoyment. Small can be best and tonight that was the case.

With an intermittent back draft from the open fire setting the scene B Wylie full steamed ahead with

Southbound train which I missed the composer credits but have since googled and found on youtube a song of the same name by Graham Nash and David Crosby. There was a harmonica on the recording and Brian also played one.That reminded me that he was practising before we started. He mentioned getting his facial hair caught in it's crevices which led on to a story of a bra getting caught on the stairs while been carried by Mr Wylie. Each to their own. The next song by Brian was an old love song one of his written for his other half Kath. Now I am a real cynic but I do believe him. He is not one of those scoundrel charmers who would have wooed others with the same tale but the thought has given me an idea. It was a really nice song Brian and great you could sing such a personal song in public.

Next a brief appearance of a heavy metal harp. Frances our almost resident Electric Harpist had briefly over tweaked the amp and I thought she was going to start playing with her teeth as the sound was reminiscent of Hendrix in his pomp. Being just into the festive season Frances had brought a Christmas carol book and regaled us with Ding Dong Merrily On High by I think some French geezer? Then We Three Kings Of Orient Are and then Silent Night written by Franz Gruber. It's no mean feat to play a harp while sight reading at the same time. I like the fact that Frances has started to take the shackles of a bit and just go for it!

Mike Craig who has to my ears been polishing up his guitar technique (not that he needed to) played a song by AA Bondy called Lovers Waltz. It's a great song with a great hook. Next I Fought The Law Done with a clever feel. That song was apparently (Thanks Graham on the notebook) originally recorded by The Bobby Fuller Four and written by Johnny B Goode.

Brian Argh! Next covering Adele's Set Fire To The Rain which was done very well and then a song called Crash The Shutters by Snow Patrol which I had never heard before but on first hearing liked. .

I went on next and dusted off my one and only ever attempt at a Christmas song called I Grew Up With This Boy and then continued the religious flavour but rather inappropriately (being in a pub) with a song called When Jesus Comes Looking For You. “Repent Repent the end is nigh!”

Jess brother of Frances I think and possibly related to the captive audience of three people in the corner (We don't let you out once your in!) took me back to Brit Bop Britain with Blurs Beatlebum and he actual sounded very much like Damon Albarn. More was to come later.


Graham then went all Geordie with Lindisfarnes Meet Me At The Corner written by Rod Clements and for his second song gave us Rabbit Hills a very dreamy and as usual tastefully played Michael Chapman composition.

Saving the best for last Kath, other half of B Wylie ended the first half with Motherland by Natalie Merchant. She must be tired of me saying why don't you sing more! Going off on a bit of a tangent I wonder why some countries are Motherland and others Fatherland?Deuxieme partie saw BW accompanied by Mike Craig playing Mr Bojangles which an awful lot of people appear to have covered not sure if Jerry Jeff Walker was the writer? Announcing his first fingerpicking live public performance Brian sang and picked I Will Be There by Ivan Drever and I can announce he passed this test with flying colours.

We then had a period of capo confusion as Brian on the spur of the moment decided to accompany on guitar Mike Craig who had re appeared with a song by Tom Waits called Coming Up To The House. Unfortunately Brian put the capo on the wrong fret and then seemed oblivious to all the hands holding up 3 fingers to say third fret but his senses gathered and he moved it and by the end he was making musical sense with his diddlings. The capo chaos then got worse as Mike could not decide whether to use a full or half capo as well as which fret to settle on then add to that a bit of tuner fiddling he seemed to be trying to hang as much paraphernalia on his guitar as possible. I hope a picture was taken? It didn’t though affect his rendition of 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson which is always really well done.

Brian R returned to deftly fingerpick in a lazy blues style House Of The Rising Sun which was a nice departure from The Animals version. A self penned number next which I remembered the tune but not the title Dance With You. It's good sign people remembering anything when doing your own material. I find they generally only remember the end of mine.

Jess back again with Leonard Cohens Famous Blue Raincoat and then he became I reckon the only person in the UK ever to perform Bungalow Bill at an open mic. Nice choice!

To end the evening Graham with another Rob Clement number Whisky Highway which to my ears had a familiar kind of blues stroke Cajun influence that somehow also conjured up The Cults She Sells Sanctuary. Finally La Madraguda by Michael Chapman which if I heard correctly Graham told us the title had been translated for Mr Chapman into English as All dogs are Brown ??? by a Brazilian......he was having a laugh. I went on line and discovered La Madraguda is Spanish for.... ..the dawn . Although Graham survived unscathed One piece of Advice is never sing anything you don't understand because singing it in the wrong place to the wrong people could get you lynched. On that happy note I will conclude my blog and cordially invite as many people as possible to the next Swan Acoustic Session which is our Christmas special on Tues Dec17th.


 I wonder if this invitation might go viral and thousands turn up?





Posted on December 9, 2013 .