A smashing time was had by all


A pleasant evening saw a small gathering of folk at The Swan for the first Tuesday of the month of ‘Swan acoustic sessions’

Having used my ace card of not doing the blog due to early shifts for the last 5 years,

I had the rug pulled from under my feet when someone mentioned “retirement & time on his hands” so here we go.


A smashing start to the night from Mr Wylie when a glass was shattered at the opening bars of the first song. I wondered if Brian had let out a high pitched note until I saw Leon with a guilty face and guitar poised in mid air.

After a cleanup Brian continued with a couple of sad songs first was ‘Jesus Wept’ not too sure if I knew this one, but I think Ralph Mctell has done it. The next song was ‘John Condon’ this I have heard Brian do before, it is a very poignant song about a 14 year old boy who joined the Army mainly for a new pair of boots and was killed .

Next up the man whose name reads like an Eye Test card ‘Leon Sienkiewicz’

With a great song by Darryl & Oates, that I first heard by Paul Young ‘Every time you go away’ followed by the Arthur Alexander song ‘Anna’ recorded also by the Beatles. A favourite of mine and the name I chose for my first daughter.

Leon cleverly mixed picking & strumming, an improvement on an earlier attempt of this song by me some weeks ago.

Next up Rob ’Roy Rodgers’ Watkins (there’s nowt wrong with Roy Rodgers or Gene Autrey) methinks he should borrow a shirt from Mike Craig. Joking apart Rob’s voice fits Country music like a hand in a glove. His songs were Tom Russell’s ‘Blue Wing’

With some nice gentle picking & Jesse Wincliff’s ‘A Showman’s Life’.

A nice surprise, next up was Brian’s lovely wife Kath with ‘You suffer so well’ by Eleanor McEvoy. Nicely done ‘Must get up more’

Next up was Andy Brown with a Kris Kristofferson song. A song done by many including Janis Joplin ‘Me & Bobby McGee’. This suited his bass type voice well.

Second song ‘Diamonds & Rust’ by Joan Baez a song wrote about an out of the blue phone call from Bob Dylan.

Now Frances White performed. Her personal audience gets bigger by the week it seems. Three tunes ‘Maid at the Spinning wheel, Rites of a man & Off to California’

Off to California I love, having played it some years ago with a Fiddler friend.

Delightful as always never missing a beat (or should that be a pluck)

James ‘Purveyor of the popular song’ Porter up next with Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’

& The Moody Blues ‘Nights in White Satin’ First one went ok but for some reason The simple chord sequence of the second song disappeared from my brain halfway through. In my defence it was an attack of the nerves rather than Alzheimer’s.

More beer needed to get back on track.

Break – phew

Second half Brian gave us ‘Don’t let the sun catch you crying’ By Gerry ‘Pacemaker’ Marsden. I would have thought Brian a bit young for the Merseybeat scene but he obviously likes a good song and performs this one well. Next one was ‘Joanna’ by Jon Allen who appears to be well known, but not by me.

Leon’s next song I had not heard before but the guitar picking was definitely Bob Dylan. Leon gave me the title but my shorthand notes let me down. It was Bob, as was the next one ‘Tomorrow is a long time’ nice stuff!

I own 18 Dylan Albums, must get some more.

Another surprise tonight was Leon’s wife Carol, who I have not had the pleasure of meeting before, who then did a cracking version of ‘Mississippi on my mind’

Kath again with what I think was a Mariy Gauthier song. Must improve my shorthand but I do remember the vocal was good.

Rob then bossed it up big with The Bosses ‘Thunder Road’ Next was ’Liberty’s sweet shore’ by John Doyle (Not sure I got the second one correct but it was enjoyable anyway.

Andy again with Bob Dylan’s ‘Love Minus Zero/No Limit’. Great song with Andy sounding a bit Leonard Cohen. Then Andy gave us a self penned song about his son’s next step in life after Graduation. This song went from Punk to Jazz – what more could you want?

James Porter.JPG

Me again, with an old Irish Ballad ‘Courting is a pleasure’ I first heard this from a Nick Jones album that I got after seeing him in concert last year. Next song was Ewan Mcoll’s ‘The first time ever I saw you face’. The first time I have done this after much practice. The extra beer seems to do the trick for performing as these were delivered OK but the shorthand for song titles went downhill.

Seems no one wanted to go home as several more songs were played, can’t remember them all but to name a few:- Rob did a John Prine song ‘A town this size’ Leon did the hilarious ‘Can you sing any Bob Dylan’ and I did ‘In the Jailhouse Now’ with a bit of help from Rob & Brian on Guitars.

See you next time

James P.

Posted on July 5, 2014 .