Well what can one say, yet again set off for what I was considering a nice quiet night at S.A.S as a few people had texted their apologies in advance. Lo and behold seventeen artistes turn up for Swan Acoustic Session, there were some old faces some young faces and some familiar faces. The chairs were shuffled and tables moved and bit by bit a resemblance of order took place more by accident than design and in the absence of our M.C Mr David Brimacombe, the Blogger was also spammed for M.C duty.
A break with tradition as realizing I needed to see my bed at some point, I removed myself from the playing list. First up tonight was a burgeoning four piece made up of such luminary talents as Chris Dinsdale, Chris Thompson, and sadly I didn’t get Brian’s or Bob;s surname, but suffice to say they rapidly became the B.B.C……….. C band. Their first offering was a very creditable version of Pink Floyds “ Wish you were Here” This was followed by Paul Wellers’ “Wildwood” and ably accompanied by Brian on Cajon and Bob on Shaker and Saxophone. Both numbers were very polished versions of the two hits and were a taster for the gig at the swan later on in the year. In the second half the band who were now three gave us another couple of cracking songs. First up was “Walkin in the park” a Chris Dinsdale penned number, this was followed by Claptons “Tears in Heaven”. Excellent stuff boys and please come back soon.
Our next artiste is rapidly becoming a regular, and harking back to the days when he was responsible for the original session at The Swan that has morphed into S.A.S Leon! His Baby Taylor coupled with his voice as he serenaded us with “Aint no Sunshine” before giving us the male Version of “Brown Eyes Blue” which he was very keen to point out was the version of Richard Leigh who wrote it. Leon rounded off his second spot now reduced to one song due to the numbers but what a song Bob Dylans “I shall be Released” Excellent stuff as always Leon and always a pleasure to see you ensconced in your seat when we turn up.
Joe Ellis was next up, Joe has a rather unique style which bounces between the unusual and self penned numbers he normally performs. Tonight however we had “Famous Blue Raincoat” By Leonard Cohen. Joe completed his nights offering with a song inspired by a painting in Sheffield by John singer Sargent “Misses Vickers” performed beautifully Joe, Thank you.
Mike Craig was next up but also included the Blogger as” Devil amont the tailors and Speed the Plough” rattled into a version of “Masons Apron” Thanks Mike. However in the second spot Mike gave us a song that is rapidly becoming a standard at The Swan. I have had people tell me it is a better version than the original as Steve Earles “The Mountain” was greatly appreciated by all of the pub. Well done Mike as always.
One of tonights harpists up next as Frances White with her knee harp(we are still waiting to see/hear the new large harp) but tonight it was “The Rites of man” and “Off to California” that tinkled into the night at the Swan. Sadly Frances had to leave at the interval and passed the baton to our other harpist, Andee. More of that to come as we swung to the other half of the room for a rack of new faces to me anyway as Vic Longbottom assisted by his friends gave us a great version of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” before playing a classic Nic Jones song from Penguin Egs “Farewell to the Gold” This is originally from New Zealand done in a great style, and if that wasn’t enough in the second half Vic switching genres gave us”Weeping Willow Blues” A very nice sound and style Vic lets hope you and your colleagues are back again. Kevin Brown on Banjo next with a favourite of mine made famous in my world by Tommy Makem but done tonight by Kevin accompanied by Bill Hughes on Fiddle and David Kilvington on Guitar as >gents. and to round up the first half a song made famous by Freddie Fender “Before the nest teardrop falls” In the second half evin settled his debt at our altar with a crackin version of “Jambalaya on the Bayou” Nicely done Kevin and a nice arrangement. It was now the accompanists turn to show what he could do as David Kilvington with guitar hit us with his version of Fats Wallers “Autumn Leaves” before sliding seamlessly into “When somebody thinks you’re wonderful” by Harry M Woods. Finishing his second spot off with “Love is the Sweetest Thing” that I remember by Al Bowlly. Different styles but stylized playing David and great entertainment. Bill Hughes on Fiddle declined a first half solo spot but fortified himself for the second half and gave us a belting version of “Summertime” heard by the blogger tonight for the first time being played on fiddle. A great version it was as well and well worth waiting for Bill.
Andee Craig up next and having eagerly keeping an eye on her harp as people moved around the room settled down to play us some tunes but only after we had altered the lighting so that Andee could see the coloured strings. With issues resolved we were entertained to two tunes the first being “A Lament” this was followed by “The Blackbird” Andee brought her efforts to a close with a beautiful rendition of a classic Irish tune “The London Derry Air” Which with words becomes the world over as “Danny Boy” but tonight it was the Air lilting into the late night Air. Nicely done Andee and PS Thanks for the buns.
Two friends I haven’t seen for a while who had been patiently awaiting their turn to come around in the shape of Gayna and Andy who are two fifths of that great Americana band The Five and Dimers who are no longer playing sadly. However tonight we had two guitarists singing with harmonies in the same vein. “Wichita” by Gillian Welch(I was informed by one of our performers tonight that his was the better version, praise indeed.) They finished their spot off with “Going to the West” Sadly my anticipated second spot from them never happened, as perhaps the numbers tonight prevented them from staying late into the night. Please come back another night.
Another regular took his place as our penultimate artiste tonight as Andy Brown took the floor I Am Klutes “Northern Skies” was followed by a regular in andy’s repertoire “Green Mysterious Eyes” and Andy finished his set with style with his version of “Say Hello Wave Goodbye” and you can pick between whether you prefer Soft Cells version or David Grays but tonight their was only one contender and Andy won. Good man Andy.
To finish our night and both halves tonight we had the recently retired human jukebox AKA James Porter who is now becoming a regular due to finishing a working life of shifts. James gave us three offerings tonight first up was Michelle Shocked’s “Looks Like Mona Lisa” sliding nicely into “Russian Roulette” Seamlessly. Finishing an excellent night off with Paul Simons ‘Mardi Gras”
What a top nigh people I was amazed at the broad repertoire and library of styles and music. “you all come back ya hear?”