Pick and Mix


Well after my well deserved rest last week I was all fired up for the return to Swan Acoustic session. We set off fairly late this week and yet managd to get there in plenty of time. Having been forewarned of a few absences we walked into the empty room to await whoever deemed to come out tonight.


We didn’t have to wait long as a plethora of musicians  made up of some stalwarts a few returning faces a long lost soul and a newbie.

Kath & Brian


First up as is tradition, if only to set the bar low was the blogger and the fragrant Kath to raise it higher to rattle off a couple of tunes, first up was a trio of tunes played for a top Irish ceili dance “The Siege of Ennis” this was followed by a tune Kath will feel she has been playing forever “Gypsy  Dance”by her Mandolin tutor of old Mr Brunon Barron.


Andy Brown was next up sans his semi dobro this week but with suitable guitar. Andy give the treatment to a Damien Rice Number “Cannonball” before careering (pardon the pun) into a Beetles track “Money”


John Waller

A gentleman who is rapidly becoming a stalwart of our erstwhile band in the form of John Waller who has been working through his back catalogue of songs both self penned and covers. Tonight it was a historic couple of songs I believe from 1969! When I was but a twinkle in someones eye, “Blind man” based on a poetic monologue  John once attended flowed seamlessly into a song although written46 years ago could have been written yesterday as John  relayed the conception of “Palestine” and the plight of the Palestinians. Whatever your stance on this hot potato the song was eloquent and honest and as a one time refugee in Northern Ireland it is “The innocent that suffer”


I suspected our next muso would make an appearance as unshackled from the bonds of teaching Flute in Leeds due to the Mid Term Break, Gloria was able to entertain us and that’s exactly what happened “Single Step” the story of the first ascent of The Matterhorn where a single step could lead to your death extolling the virtues of that band of men who took on the mountain and beat it. “Wild horses was the next to get the Gloria treatment and I have heard a few versions of this song Glorias’ version is a defining one.

Brian Rhodes

The return of the prodigal son in the form of Brian Rhodes with his hair trimmed and shoulder fixed it was like the return of the six million drachma man. He did complain though that the last time he was here he had also to follow Gloria and this may have been a reason for the long absence. See you at the summer barbeque Bri as  “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele, a belting version of this song by Brian  sailed into a Snow Patrol number not previously heard by the Blogger “Shaken”  Welcome back Brian your dulcet tones were missed.


More from everyone later but on with our Newbie Tonight “David Wardle” who apparently has been stalking…. Sorry following us through the blog decided in spite of all he had read to come along and give us a try. A Roy Harper aficionado Harpers’ “Hallucinating light” was his shoe in to Swan Acoustic Session. There was certainly no nerves present as a self penned number was outed, “Home” Well done David and more from you and everyone else later and yet there was still more.

Lewis & Mark from The Backyard Burners

Two thirds of a favourite band of mine re-visited us in the form of Mark and Lewis from that great trio “The Backyard Burners” popped in as promised to give us a flavour of their myriad of styles. Johnny Cash and his “Big River” not to be confused with a similar titled song coming later flowed into a footstomping “Rocksalt and Nails” written by Utah Phillips and once covered by Jon Martyn finished of the fine first spot..

Ian Taylor

ON we go we were only 75% through our intrepid group tonight as another prodigal and itinerant wanderer Ian Taylor still brised and battered from the recent mudbath at Valley Parade. First up was an Elvis Costello number “Alison” and a great version it was , he then us to a song from a new exciting band “The Rails” with a version of their “Send Her To Holloway” (I listened to them as I typed this) and can confirm they are worth a listen.

Rounding off our first half was last sessions blogger Mr Graeme Morrell, (Thanks for the blog Graeme) John and Graeme were having a competition  on who could remember the most obscure Al Stewart song. For my sins I was only familiar with his singles although I do confess to having “Year of the Cat” “Coldest Winter in memory” by Al  was something that I thought Graeme had witnessed but alas it was in 1709 when the sea froze. A Taj Mahal song to round his set and the first half off as “Statesboro Blues” Beer Break


Kath then commenced the second half with a version of a Christy Moore number “Burning Times” with the highest body count in any song previously heard, Kath was reticent about doing this as she had just recently re learned it but as most people say “She should sing more” Well Done! Blogger then finished off with a song from the pen of a great Orcadian writer of songs Mr Frank Keenan”s Blow you Away” was blustered through but for a first time was adequate.


Andy Brown

Andy Brown then surprised me with his version of Springsteens “Hungry Heart” Wow! Another Elvis Costello number this time as Andy gave us “Ship Building” Well done Andy impressed I was!


John Waller with his Al Stewart contribution “The Night of the Fourth of May” which was abbreviated in my notes to May the Fourth be with you, and to reinforce and nip ahead of Graeme, John rounded off another good night with Stewarts “Anna” Thanks John and we never stop learning.


Gloria now having shed her troublesome bangle gave a crackin version of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” and then from sublime to superb as Chers “Do you believe in Love” rapidly becoming the definitive version of this song. Thanks again Glo!


Brian R next again with a David Gray Number “Sailaway” before a self penned song that I want to play “Dance with You” a very nifty song. Don’t leave it so long next time Mr Rhodes

David Wardle


Our Newbie David was up for his second spot with a Tom Waits number assisted by an authentic cold snuffle added drama to the timbre of his voice for this raspy song “Coolwater” and polished off nicely with a Neil Young Number “Helpless” Good stuff David and please continue to come when you can.


Mark and Lewis with banjo and guitar returned and hit us with a self penned number “Child with a Gun” and thwarted by the Blogger the two became three for their final song and Steve Earle”s “Johnny come Lately” was given some welly! Thanks boys always welcome to The Swan.


Ian up for his second spot and a second version of a song entitled ‘Big River “originally done I believe by Jimmy Nail andrendered here with an official North East accent  before finishing off with a Nck Lowe number “Cruel to be kind “ to rockingly round off his spot. Thanks Ian and welcome back.


Graeme Morrell

Graeme to round off the night and as Michael Chapman is a reader of our blog he will be pleased to note he gets a mention tonight but first a Carole King song “You got a Friend” and then a very subtle hint as the Masters “Fool in the night saw us go home tired but elated and another session comes to an end. Thanks to our host Ian and Nikki, and our MC David and last but not least all our contributors to Swan Acoustic Session whether regular or a drop in you will always be welcomed,


Posted on February 18, 2015 .