..were the words I uttered when we rocked up at 8.30. How wrong I was, when in the space of the next ten minutes EVERYONE piles in, with a couple of returning and (for the blogger) new faces!
First up was the acclaimed duo, Craig & Wylie, Brian complete with plastic overflow pipe whistle (don't let the 99p price tag fool you, it sounded lovely) and Mike on guitar and they did two jolly numbers- Westport Races into a self penned tune Crolla's Reel. Blogger next and I have to admit I was pretty nervous with a large audience, but I got through Smash the Windows/Morrison's Jig and then for contrast played Alan Menken's Colours of the Wind. There aren't many non-trad songs you can play on a 20-string lever harp but that one you can, with some re-arranging.
John Nixon of the Dingham Hilbillies with a very shiny guitar then gave us his soulful interpretation of the Stereophonics' "Every day I think of Money" and Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". Following his compatriot, John "Chief Heckler" Daure played Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927" (with some help from the audience- it was a very helpful audience tonight) and the SAS Classic "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road" by a certain Loudon Wainwright III. The latter was a definite crowd pleaser with much singing along and clapping!
It is always a pleasure to see returning faces and next was one in the shape of Helmuth, all the way from Aachen, Germany! For us tonight he played "Spancil Hill", a pleasant Irish song I have not heard before and a lovely rendition of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' (much audience participation in the chorus). Rob and Caroline were next and gave us Sheryl Crow's "We Oughta Be Drinkin'". Their voices combine beautifully especially for blues/country pieces and this was no exception. Rob then did a solo of John Hyatt's "Til I Get My Lovin Back". I think this is the first time i have attended an SAS where someone played John Hyatt and it wasn't Graeme Morrell!! ;) Following were another duo - a couple familiar to the Swan Acoustic but who have not been for a while due to living in Dorset (we'll forgive you for leaving the north as Dorset is a beautiful county).
Richard and Leslie Quayle (guitar and vocals respectively) played and sang "Summertime", an Irish song and "Black Water Side" by Bernie Andrew. Great stuff from both musicians. James "Ten Shifts" Porter then made an appearance with "Courting is a Pleasure" and Carol King's "Way over Yonder".
Mike Craig (solo this time) did a soothing song called "Moonshiner" and then was joined once again by Mr Wylie for another SAS classic- the Civil Wars' "20 Years" with Brian on mandolin (which is definitely NOT a banjo) and Mike on guitar and vocals. I have heard the original of this and far prefer Mike and Brian's version, which tells you just how good it is. Last for the first half but not least was Graeme, with the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" minus the falsetto, although an audience member who shall remain nameless offered to help him achieve said falsetto, but I won't say how - this is a family friendly blog!! Speaking of family, Graeme's next offering was a song called simply "Mother's day" which he wrote himself, presumably as a present for someone- I am sure she was thrilled by it as it was an excellent song.
After a swift beer break we resumed. A few folks had departed to get to their beds, but quite a few remained and so we started the second half with Richard and Leslie who gave us two numbers called "Silver Whistle" and "Spare me a Dime" both great songs full of emotion. Please come back and don't leave it so long next time! :) Mike and Brian (Brian playing banjo this time, which is definitely NOT firewood) then played two Irish songs (a definite Emerald Isle presence tonight) - Planxty George Brabazon by O'Carolan and Blackthorn. Rob and Caroline returned (a few duos tonight as well) with Bryan Adams' "Sweet Carolina" and Rob did a solo of Bruce Springsteen's
"Youngstown". A really nice mix of songs tonight. Next up was Helmuth, who sang "Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears" which tells the story of Annie Moore, a young woman aged 15 who
took her two brothers age 14 and 12 to their parents in New York. She was the first immigrant to the US to be processed through the Ellis Island facility in New York Harbour.
This was followed by Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight".
James Porter was next and he played "Wake Up Little Sparrow" and the Rolling Stones song "The Spider and the Fly". Mike then gave us an A.A.Bondy song "Lovers' Waltz" and Tom Waits' "Come on Up to the House", very cool song about getting some respite from life. And Graeme finished off with Jim Croce's "Lover's Cross" and Minnie Ripperton's "Lovin' You".
It was a great night, see you next time!