LOST AND FOUND
Well, I have to put my hands up and admit that I misplaced my notes for the last Swan Acoustic Session. I found them this evening so here goes:
A quiet night was envisaged as the evening began with a tremendous Thunderstorm, Lightening flashes and flash floods heralded our journey to The Swan. I wondered who would venture out for the session and again would there be a turnout at all with the weather so foul. There were no friendly faces when we arrived so it was looking ominous but hope springs eternal and one by one they filtered in reminiscent of “If you build it they will come”
Frank The Harp, followed by Julian Hyde with his squeezebox, James Porter, Graeme Morrell, a new face in the shape of Peter Lloyd and of course your Blogger and our M.C David and we were set to go.
As is the norm, the bar is set low with the blogger getting his material out of the way. Now I like to leave it rough and ready and tonight was no exception, having had an urge to relearn some Christy Moore stuff, I delved into one of his song books and found a couple of numbers. Even Kath got in on the act as she made me realize that she had learned to accompany me on one of the numbers and I had been playing it since in a different key. “I Wish I was In England” ably assisted by the fragrant Kath was followed by a song of seduction about the danger of Whiskey drinking or the iron behind the velvet if you over imbibe, but “Foxy Devil” it was and like a drop of poitin it was rough and ready. Just prior to leaving the house I had worked out all by myself the chord arrangement for Bobby Watts’ “The Call”a song that all immigrants would understand as we wait for the call to inform us of the death of an aging parent. I then rounded my spot off with a self penned number from a bleak time in my history of the great hunger of 1847 “The Famine Song”
The largest instrument of the night was next as Frank the Harp took centre stage. Frank is an excellent exponent of this instrument and has a wealth of tunes of songs tied deftly into his fingers. A couple of tunes up first and accompanied at his request by a couple of us we played “South Wind” leading nicely into Kath’s favourite tune the aptly named “Fanny Power” before playing a beautiful Gaelic Air “Fear An Bhata” or The BoatmanTo further enhance this versatility Frank then moved seamlessly into a country song penned I believe in 1988 with an instrumental version of “When you say Nothing at All” and if that wasn’t enough we went further back in time to 1680 for Pachelbels’ Canon, which sounded great on a harp and very well played.
From one great instrument and tunesmith to another as Julian Hyde and his accordion prior to going off on its annual service was squeezed into life with a manual dexterity that matched Franks. It was evident to anyone who knows these two gentlemen that they move in the same circles as they seamlessly support each others performances and enhance each others style. Julian has been known to sing along with himself on occasions but tonight was just the box. I say just the box but it was something else. A tune for the man who built the road on Rousay after the council refused to do it and as “ Calum’s Road” in honour of Calum McLeod a wonderful tune that led into another version of the tune but as a strathspey. Great stuff as I love a Strathspey something about the rhythm. A twist on a modern song as Georgie Fames’ “Bonnie and Clyde” which I have to say was the first time I heard it played on an accordion and we were not finished yet as we still had time for “Aint Misbehavin” A couple of Irish tunes then as “Jig of Slurs” and “Father O’Flynn” were deftly performed and to finish off well what better than a tune from the brother of that brilliant Scottish musician Phil Cunningham only this time it was a Johnny Cunningham composition “Night in that Land” Lovely stuff Julian.
A New face now in the form of Peter Lloyd who had sat quietly in the room before being asked if he wanted to perform. A nice classical guitar was produced from its case and with a flourish of fingers we were whisked off into “Arumba” as delicate as the harp but with a fiery passion this was a great tune and after a slight debate as to whether Bert Jansch had recently passed away and I had only just been informed or that he had passed away a while ago we had“I Have no time” I believe written whilst he played with Pentangle. Peter then sang a Cat Stevens number “Where do the Children Play” Sadly I only caught the back end of this one and my notes were added to in my absence. Peter then asked if it was ok to give his rendition of aforementioned Pachelbel’s Canon as he was due to perform it at I believe his sisters wedding in the near future. The result…………. Another beautiful version of this classic standard and well worth hearing again. Excelent stuff Peter and please come back.
A stalwart in the shape of Graeme Morrell next who although adamant he wasn’t of a mind to do this blog, nevertheless was certainly of a mind to entertain us. A Chris Knight number was first up as “The Band is Playing to Slow” Something I personally have not witnessed EVER! But a swift song was to follow as Joe Jackson’s “Is she really going out with him” and there was definitely something going on around here as there was a “Waterloo Sunset” from the fantastic pen of Ray Davies of The Kinks and then to round his spot off was a self penned tune. Graeme is a fine exponent of guitar and tonight it was a privilege to see and hear people who are very good at the playing of their particular instrument i.e Frank and his harp, Julian and his accordion and Graeme on his guitar as well as Peter on classical but who better to wind the night up than our human jukebox James Porter whose library of songs has yet to be surpassed and tonight was no exception.
First up was a Carole king number “Way over Yonder” and followed swiftly by a sex change as “You make me Feel “ was given a male role for this evening. James the performed the first song I ever heard him do at our old session in the guise of Addingham Acoustic in this very pub “Wake up little Sparrow by Devendra Banhart, such a sweet song and performed with guile. A Damien Rice number was given the Porter treatment next as “Coldwater” became James’ final offering. So there we had tonight a fine mixture of musos proficient in their instruments and James with his Almanac of songs and we still had time for a rousing version of “Their going to put me in the Movies” a sweet rendition of Lady Eleanor Plunkett and Farewell to Whiskey which led to our own farewells and a wet journey home for David who walks to and from The Swan. Thanks everyone for the entertainment and to David for keeping it rolling along. See you at the next one BCW