Well it seemed like an age since we stepped through the portals of The Swan. We walked into a very pleasant surprise as Steve Hulme and his lovely wife were propping up the bar awaiting whatever the evening brought and what an evening. No less than eleven artistes tonight.
Blogger was up first ably assisted on guitar by Mike Craig, having sung myself out at a gig at the weekend and to spare everyone else I gave my voice a rest and brought the Whistles and Mandolin. First up was “The Blackthorn Stick and followed by “The Kesh Jig” both session favourites. In the second half with Mikes help again “Westport Races and “History Man” The first two on Mandolin and the second on “D’ whistle and “Low Whistle”.
Steve Hulme was next and very glad we were that he turned up as he always has a tale to tale or something completely different to impart on our hungry audience.
First up was a cracking homage to Stephen Stills “Four and Twenty Years” a story of a man and his demons and poverty and the loss of a good woman. This was followed by another song about leaving John Mayers’ “Torri came by” a new one on me but got me interested enough to download it. Steve did a great cover of it. In the second hald “Time Spins us Round” which I believe was one of Steves self penned numbers, this was followed by a song in French(who says we don’t do culture) as Jean-Jacques Goldmans “Quand tu Danses” beautifully delivered. Well done Steve and please don’t leave it so long next time.
Our trendy guitarist Mr Brian Rhodes was next in his beatnik look and hair that I was jealous for. Brian has a very sanguine style that belies the effort he puts into his songs and tonight was no exception as “Bad Day” by Daniel Poulter slid ever so sweetly into a classic track by Lou Reed “Perfect Day” In the second spot Brian treated us to a cracking version of? Now I had this down as Angels to fly. It took Kath to correct me as Ed Sheerans “A Team” bounced around the room. Brilliantly done as always Brian.
Mike Craig on a solo trip tonight as Andee was not up to our night at the Swan. Mike and Andee were not long back from their annual trip to “The Burren” in the West of Ireland. Mikes first two songs accompanied by Blogger were “Twenty Years” by the Civil Wars and a great version of Steve Earle’s “Mountain” I recently heard this done by the man himself and I have to say I prefer Mikes interpretation . In the second spot and having been harangued for his western shirt, Mike gave us a couple of his standards in the shape of “Pines are dancing” by A A Bondi and a blast from the past as the Flying burrito Brothers “My Uncle” resounded around the room. Quality as always Mike. I’m sorry you were handicapped on two of them by a very tired blogger.
A welcome return to Frances White and her harp and her Middle Earth Tights. I don’t know where she finds half this stuff, well I do “T’internet” but where does she find the time? Her first offering was “Moondance” a lively tune that requires a constant plucking on the bass strings whilst playing a melody over the top. Clever stuff Girl! Two popular tunes now as “Haste to the Wedding” made famous as the theme tune to “The Irish RM” and “Smash the Windows” Sadly that was all we had as Frances Left early and didn’t appear in the second half.
What can we say about John Nixon that hasn’t already been said by John Daure!!!!!! Here he was with his classical guitar that he purchased from a charity shop and as Mike quipped “after his wife had taken it there” Never the less even in his funky socks we got a passable version of Van the Mans “Stoned Me” before a song that our band Frigga used to do a Tom petty number “Free fallin” John now fronts a great band called Valkyrie. See them if you get a chance. Good to see you again John even if the pensioners bus had to whisk you away for your cocoa.
Fresh from his session in Westport, Mr Rob Watkins was next flying solo as Caroline was at home. A Todd Scneider song “Play a Train song” done as only Rob can do was swiftly followed by a John Hiatt number, “Till I get my loving back” Rob fronts a great rock and roll ban Last Orders and very busy they are. Well worth a see. Excellent stuff Rob.
James Porter or as David or MC calls him “The Human Jukebox” was next and unusually James was here for both Halves as his shift pattern usually only lets him come for the second half. A Hank William tribute song “Cold Cold Heart” got James under way followed by an old favourite of mine Joni Mitchell’s “Circle Game” accompanied by all of us old enough to remember the lyrics (Nearly all) In the Second half we had a classic “Summertime” before James rounded of his spot with “My Girl” a pleasure as always James and glad it fell on a free night for you.
Next up was a man who often gets confused with, no sorry he always gets confused Mr Graeme Morrell(ha ha) Graeme is a devotee of a prolific songwriter and guitarist Michael Chapman and is himself an excellent finger picker but tonight I think his thumbs were in charge(I had to go to the toilet so missed the opening but my friend Mike had written down)Instrumental by John Renbourne “Ladys Nothings- Fell off at End??? Toye Puffe (I am sure Graeme will correct this as it makes no sense to me) apologies Graeme for choosing that particular moment but it was a long first half. I think you are right Graeme I will try Tena for males!
Gloria was our final spot or so I thought, using the summer break from her teaching flute , Gloria made a welcome return to the Swan. A well established favourite we awaited what would trickle out of the L’arrivee guitar. HA! One of my favourites “Constable le clock” written by Michael Marra a Scottish song writer from Dundee who sadly died in October last year. How do we get from that to Steely Dans “Do it again”? with style that’s how! Gloria’s second spot was no less stylish with “Fair Margaret and Sweet William” (not sure I got that title right) and a revamp of a song mixed and matched as “Burglars Girl” Excellent as always Glo!
We thought we had heard it all when a quiet young man who had been sitting at the bag strode forward and unpacked his guitar, and as a appreciative crowd of enthusiasts willed him on we heard from UTUN who gave us two cracking Blues songs “Goodbye Booze” and “In constant sorrow” by the infamous Soggy Bottom Boys (which to be honest Graeme could have been me had I not left when I did in first half) Well done Utun and please come again and play both sets. We rounded the night off led by Gloria in the Beatles”I’ve just seen a face” Thanks to Nikki and Ian and our irrepressible MC David.
Lets do it all again in a fortnight .BCW