Well the second half of the year after the Summer Hiatus that never was, beckoned us to The Swan in Addingham. It’s a fine establishment with real ales a plenty, and a fine place to hone your playing skills amongst fellow musos who enjoy the Craic. It was a strange night in that there were several new faces and some returning faces and one who shall remain nameless and recently retired still managed to be late.The recently formed duo, Craig & Wylie were first up and played a mixture of tunes and songs from their burgeoning set list. First up was the tune set consisting of the “Blackthorn stick “with a key change and into “The Kesh”Songs next with Mike in the driving seat, as “Picture in a Frame” wafted delicately around the room, to be followed by the raucous “Gulf of Mexico by Steve Earle but here given the Craig treatment.
One of the new faces next as Andy Wilson took the centre of the floor with his guitar in hand. I think I heard him say he had come over from Knaresbrough, if that’s true then well done Andy. He began with a very nice finger picking version of “Life in a Northern Town” by The Dream Academy. Very nicely done with some tricky picking to overcome and this was only his second public playing out. If that wasn’t enough he then followed that with “Ghost of Tom Joad” by Bruce Springsteen excellent stuff Andy and please come again, t was a shame you had to get back.
Another new face next up as Julian Hide swung a strange looking box onto the floor and extracted a fabulous Italian piano accordion and proceeded to play it effortlessly as the “Runrig Jig” was followed by “The Swedish Jig” with fantastic left hand accompaniement he slid effortlessly into a Rabbie Burns song “Ae fond Kiss” showing his versatility with a fine singing voice to go with his playing. The second set saw Julian carry off a crackin version of Steeleye Spans’ “Summer Lady” followed by a Phil Cunningham tune “Sarahs song” before rounding off a polished Quattro with “The gentle light that wakes me” a wonderful tune by Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham and a perfect tune to round the set off. Well done Julian, I hope its not long before your back.
A returning face as John Waller from the Topic and other places came back with a topical set as all four of Johns songs had a WW11 theme but not your usual drum banging sabre rattling rhetoric, no here we had areas of the conflict seldom heard and as we commemorate 100 years of the start of the war that was to end all wars we realize how little distance we have travelled in that time such as the paltry yards of the Somme taken and retaken at such a cost. Johns first song was in memory of Irene Nemirovsky, a Romanian jew an the author of a long forgotten diary book of life in the war until 1941“The Suite Francaise” John is obviously a well travelled man and his next sortie was in the form of “The Pines of Panerai” a sad song about the brutal execution of hundreds of thousands of Jews in the forest near the town of Panerai. His second set again had that Baltic flavor as “ljubijana” The pointing finger statue speaks volumes in silence. Rounded off perfectly with “The Silence” John has a website for those interested in more of the sounds and stories behind these fine songs at www.john-waller.co.uk
Next up was a gentleman who had popped in last week to have a listen and brought a guitar with him this week, another new face in the shape of Vic Longbottom Who sang a fantastic character song with “Our dads drunk again” before carrying on with a favourite of mine “Farewell to the Gold” by Paul Metser. Poignat enough that it was the anniversary of our frien Dave who I first heard it from. Vic then carried on in the second half with A Loudon Wainright II song “ A Handful of Dust” before finishing with a song by a very underated guitarist Wizz Jones “Lullaby” A perfect way to finish the spot, well done Vic see you soon we hope.
Not a new face next but a new instrument that had brought Frances White in tow, and what a fantastic instrument it was. For those that aren’t familiar with the set up Frances is our resident Harpist and tonight was her first time at The Swan with her new harp and for the first time purely acoustic.” The Blarney Pilgrim” chimed around the walls To Be followed by “Just around the River Bend” They sounded fantastic on the new harp and I cant wait to hear the remainder of France’s repertoire. Excellent as always.
Late but certainly not least, sorry Last but certainly not least was James Porter AKA the human Jukebox. James commenced with a Gallagher and Lyle number “Stay Young” (I wish James) this was followed by The Beatles “Strawberry Fields” a classic. “Wake up Little Sparrow” which was the first song I ever heard James do at the old “Addingham Acoustic Session” James then finished his spot and our session off with Fleetwood Macs “Man of the World” and so another night at Swan Acoustic Session came to a close, we await the next one and who knows it might feauture……………………………YOU! BCW