A Mixed Bag Night


I look back at the Swan Acoustic session and its predecessor Addingham Acoustic with mixed feelings. I am pleased to have witnessed the burgeoning talent that the nights have encouraged. The varying styles that we have witnessed, the characters that have come and gone and those who have stayed. I never cease to be amazed at the variety and styles of music that everyone brings and I think that’s what makes Swan Acoustic special for me.

I can remember the first time a lot of people made their debut at both sessions and even my own first tentative steps in playing guitar to accompany myself in the days when Tim Morning welcomed Kath and myself to Addingham Acoustic. It is worth more than money to see those people improve week after week and you are never to old to learn as I watch even newcomers to learn what I can. Long may it continue. Thank you for your friendship, thank you for the music,and thank you for helping us keep a music session going in Addingham.

When I arrived the first thing the landlady Nicci said was lets put another log on the fire. This had me worried for a time as my mandolin was thought to be a banjo by someone who shall remain nameless but plays a harp and has her own roadie! Banjo joke usually start with them being kindling for a bonfire hence my concern.

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Blogger up first and taking the opportunity to try out some Craig & Wylie material. So “Devil among the tailors” with “Speed the Plough” with blogger on Mandolin and Mike on guitar, was quickly followed by “The Blackthorn Stick” and “The Kesh Jig” In the second half we had “Jackie Colemans” “Star O Munster” and to quote Mike probably our finest performance of “The Masons Apron” It was nice to get some positive feedback on this material.

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Leon was next up and never ceases to amaze me with the amount of differing material he can conjure up. Carrying on the Irish theme Leon gave us “Whiskey in the Jar” and was a fantastic version if somewhat diminished by some mandolin accompaniment. Then another quality piece reinforcing my views in the opening paragraphs “Moonriver” The second half saw an evocative song by Leon “She Moved Through The Fair” and to round off illustrating the variety and tastes of this gentleman was “ Life On Mars” by David Bowie. Excellent stuff as always Leon.

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Andy Brown next up and as Andy has an inimitable style, you are never sure what you are going to get as he is so self depreciating  of his style and ability. An Elvis number was his first as “Suspicious Minds”was given the treatment and then to prove it was no fluke the Doors “Come on Baby Light my Fire” bellowed around the room with vocal accompaniement. Two different compositions in the second half and I believe the first one was his own as “No Bettter Than You Ought to” was rounded off with a melancholic song of drug abuse”What Shoots Up” Well done Andy.

A relative newcomer to our happy band next in the form of Joe Ellis and staying hemed in the corner Joe just slipped into a song his brother wrote around a famous picture presently in Weston Museum Sheffield The MissesVickers by John Sargent Joe put it to music and the song “Misses Vickers” was born. Excellent stuff and he wasn’t finished as a Rob Wyatt song “Ship Building” The song was given to Rob by Elvis Costello and Clive Langer. And was written around the Falklands war and the need to revive the shipyards to replace the ships lost in that conflict. The second half had us tapping our feet to Joes own composition of, to use his words “A Cheesy pop song” as “Lonely Town “rang round the room. Just to show his all round ability he gave us a Leonard Cohen song “Famous Blue Raincoat” Great stuff Joe yet again.

Our Old friend Chris Patrick was our next singer and Chris has a reputation for a good rousing style but tonight was to be different as without Graeme who was on holiday in Portugal we had a new finger-picker as “Its so nice” a self penned song was given the picking treatment. Now he was warmed up it was into “Too Much His Own Man” complete with a couple of scat verses. His second spot had another self penned song(I like the sentiment in this one) “Amanda Bell” a Mersey ship and lost love were followed by “Find My Feet and Then Fallover” a great set from a man with a damaged finger and I am jealous of anyone who can fingerpick. Well Done Chris.

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She who shall not be named for mixing my mandolin for a Banjo much to Mikes merriment. FRANCES! Replete with her harp lauched into “The Boys O Ballisodare” and “Dublin Streets” Frances is rapidly becoming our resident harpist and has made me a Disney fan as a result! Frances rounded off her single spot with a tune from her harp tutor entitled “Charlottes in Spring” and for the faux pas regarding my beloved stringed instrument lovingly hand made by Mr Steve Agnew, guess who is doing the next blog? Only joking lol.

My good friend and counterpart rounded both halves of the night off, Mike Craig tried out a couple of new numbers this evening with a Sandy Wright song “Shining Star” it may be new but it was definitely polished and to re-inforce  his ability another new song as “Great Lakes” by John Smith was given the treatment. Mike had sent me an old recording of his of an Irish standard “Moonshiner” but this was no bog standard rattling out of this standard. No. here was a different tempo and inflection that transforms it into something else and that’s what it was. At this point I think I joined Mike for “Twenty Years” but as a result of playing I didn’t write it down. That was the completion of our night and hopefully we will see some old faces at the next one


Posted on February 9, 2014 .