Three halves, one harp and a packet of crisps

Whilst ‘The Reds’ were high kicking their way to European failure, a small but perfectly formed group gathered in a corner of the main room for another evening of ‘The Swan Acoustic Session’.  

Brian was in the vanguard as usual and gave us Eagles founder member, Jackson Brown’s, ‘Before the Deluge’.   Then ‘The Cocky Farmer’, an Eric Bogle composition. Brian noted that he had entered new territory having sung the song without a words crib sheet. He also did a harmonica solo without the harmonica. Dave rather cruelly pointed out that air guitar would also have improved the performance!

Weller’s ‘Wild Wood’ and Jagger and Richard’s ‘Wild Horses’ were the blogger’s offerings. Andy Scull was in the building but I couldn’t get him to perform his own version of the Stones’ song. ‘Wild Horses … we’ll eat them someday.’ Hope your voice gets better soon Andy.

Having had a visit from the European Harp Monitoring Authority last time; apparently more than two harps runs the risk of critical mass attainment and the subsequent self sustaining occurrence of harps in the Swan for ever, it was Frances on her own this night. In any case as Frances has a baby harp it is too little to upset the carefully nurtured guitar/harp equilibrium. Landlord Ian came out to count the instruments on more than one occasion and made everyone promise that they had no hidden triangular things with strings on their person. Brian caused apoplexy when he said that he intended to perform an ‘air harp’ version of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in the next spot. Ian begged for compliance saying that further guidance would be posted on the website.  He had had a torrid time with the inspectors who had even demanded to taste his prized collection of Irish lagers.

Anyway on to the music. Frances gave us nimble fingered workings of  ‘Haste to the Wedding’ and ‘Garryowen’ otherwise known as the theme tune to the Irish R.M. and the 7th Cavalry’s marching tune.  Lovely stuff, getting applause from pub regulars in the snug.

Pam & Brian.jpg

Pam next, taking time out from T.V. appearances to perform ‘Am I too Blue for you?’ written by Lucinda Williams with Brian accompanying on guitar, virtual mouth organ and air harp. OK just guitar! Then Waking the Witch’s ‘Rock and Roll. Beautifully sung songs and yet another outing for her Martyn travel guitar.

Into the second of our three halves and Brian opened with a Clancy Brothers number, ‘Look at the Coffin’.  ‘… the longer you live the sooner you’ll die … ‘. Then, having adjusted his capo we had ‘Continental Ceilidh’ a Christy Moore song. Top stuff.

Blogger’s brother’s song ‘Senseless Summer’ and Van’s hymn ‘Have I told you lately’ were delivered as I took time off from making copious notes for the blog.

Back to the baby harp, pick-up problems giving a slight distortion to an otherwise pure sound. Perhaps early onset of adolescence and accompanying voice breakage might be diagnosed or it could just be a loose wire. ‘Morrison’s Jig’, ‘Off She goes’, ‘Road to Lisdoonvarna’ and ‘Roaring Jelly’ were ably executed. ‘Lisdoonvarna’ sparked conversation around the match making festival held each year in the County Clare town. Famously, ‘wife and tractor wanted … please send picture of tractor’. Brian also noted that the town had some of the highest Cliffs in Europe. However, not everyone likes tall blokes.

‘Start all over again’ by Heidi Talbot was followed by Iris DeMent’s ‘Let the Mystery be’ as Pam strummed her recently restrung resin constructed Martyn.

Back to Brian who gave us the Jim Croce classic ‘I’ll have to say I love you in a song’ before finishing with ‘Tennesse Waltz’ – Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King.

Another Weller warble from me –‘You do something to me’ and then Drever’s ‘Steel and Stone’ using only one capo! That just means that I play some of the notes, some of which may be in the right order. Kris used two capos and played all the notes, all in the right order when Brian and Kath saw him a couple of weeks ago.

Frances, having taken her leave as it was well past baby harp’s bedtime left Pam to finish the evening. Willie Nelson’s ‘Back to Earth’ and then ‘I Drink’, Mary Gauthier, were a great finale to a very enjoyable evening.

Chris Thompson

Posted on March 8, 2013 .