It was my first visit back to Swan Acoustic since early July and I was caught off-guard, finding myself with the blog pen and paper in hand before I realised. It was great to be back in the Swan after my 3 month summer hiatus, on this autumnal evening with the fire crackling away in the corner. And a great night it was too, with 12 performers, so even with being restricted to one song each in the second half it was still quite a late finish.
Brian opened the evening with his guitar in hand to do a lovely rendition of a song about Irish emigration to America, Michael Conway by Solas. He then switched to the whistle and was then joined by Mike on guitar as they belted out a smashing tune called West Boat Races.
Mike then stayed in the chair and gave us two great songs. The first was The Final Trawl, a song about fisherman by the appropriately named Archie Fisher. He then retuned the guitar and gave us a terrific version of Richard Thompson's 1952 Vincent Black Lightning.
John Waller was on next with a couple of his own songs. The first was called Yer Bike, a song about the plight of the jobseeker who does what Norman Tebbit told us his father did in the 1930s. This was followed by a very funny song called Norway, about a cow stuck on a roof in Norway.
Next on was Julian Hide, who plays a mean tune on the piano accordion (and his voice is pretty good too). First he gave us three jigs - Lark in the morning, Irish Washerwoman, and Atholl Highlanders. His next number was Somewhere on the Road, a song written by Richard Kemp for Maddy Prior.
I was on next and did my version of Dire Straits number Wild West End, which always reminds me of the two years I spent living in London in my twenties (not that I spent much of it in Soho I hasten to add). I then did Owensboro, a trad American song which I found on a CD called "American Folk", and sung by Natalie Merchant.
Next up was Rob Watkins. After some debate with himself on which song to do first he decided on Union Blues by Tom Russell. Next he did a lovely version of John Doyle's Liberty Sweet Shore, another song about Irish emigrants, this time bound for Canada - very moving and it had quite a few of us softly singing along on the chorus.
Andy Brown went on next and gave us a nice, gentle acoustic interpretation of Springsteen's Hungry Heart. He then took what he called his "risky" option of following this with his take on the Elvis Costello song Shipbuilding.
Frances White was next, with her new harp and amp setup, and gave us two tunes - Maid at the Spinning Wheel and Merrily Kissed the Quaker. Lovely stuff.
Graeme Morrell came on next. His first song was It Ain't So, written by Michael Chapman (who Graeme told us, if I noted this down correctly, is godfather to the above mentioned Richard Kemp and Maddy Prior). His next number was The Saga of Ernie Plugg's Bust, by Mike Absalom, an absolutely hilarious song and really well delivered.
Next up the man they call Human Jukebox, Mr James Porter. His first song was the classic Motown number My Girl, which he then followed by Michelle Shocked's Russian Roulette. In fact James told us that Michelle was playing the same night in Otley but he'd been unable to get a ticket or he'd have been there instead of with us. Otley's loss and Addingham's gain!
A newcomer to Swan Acoustic then took the stage - Alex Moore. The first song he sang was James Taylor's Close Your Eyes on which he also played guitar. The guitar was ditched for the next song as he gave us a rousing A cappella version of Blackleg Miner by Steeleye Span.
Another newcomer then came on to finish the first half. Accompanied by Graeme on guitar, Sue Hardman gave us a really lovely version of the Tom Paxton song Last Thing on my Mind. This one got everyone singing along on the chorus and as Rob, who was sitting next to me said, it was really nice to hear the first female voice of the evening (and a lovely voice it was).
Brian opened up the second half with the song that he told us was the reason he learned to play guitar - Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying by Gerry and the Pacemakers. I must say Brian's voice really suited this song well (Ferry Cross the Mersey next time Brian??).
Mike on next, gave us a lovely rendition of Pines are Dancing by AA Bondi. Great guitar work and vocals as always.
John Waller then gave us another of his humorous songs about cows stuck on roofs in Norway, this one titled Bengt Olaffson.
Julian then gave us two lovely slow tunes - the 17th century Hacholan No More (at least I think that's what I wrote down, Google is being of no help to me on that one) followed by Mrs Jameson's Favourite.
I went on next and did my take on Elton John and Bernie Taupin's song Candle in the Wind, about Marilyn Monroe.
Rob then gave us another great song, Blue Wing by Dave Alvin of the Blasters.
Andy then sang the classic Need Your Love So Bad, by Pete Green the eccentric ex Fleetwood Mac member.
Graeme, who I have to say I thought was on particularly good form tonight, then gave us a wonderful instrumental number on the guitar - Naked Ladies and Electric Ragtime by Michael Chapman (that title will have the number of hits on the Blog page going right up once it gets indexed on Google!)
James Porter then gave us the Carole King classic Natural Woman (though in this case James was a Natural Man!).
And finally Sue Hardman, again accompanied nicely by Graeme on guitar, gave us a lovely song to end the evening - one of my all time personal favourites, the late Sandy Denny's song Who Knows Where the Time Goes.
And here endeth the blog, looking forward to the next session in a fortnight.