"It's a small world


Well it’s nearly time for the next Swan Acoustic session and I’m just writing up the blog from the last one – wait 2 weeks for a blog etc etc ………

The first session of April was like a reunion and it was a cracker.  You know what it’s like when music people get together and realize they’ve met each other years before at other events and even at birthday parties for aged uncles where one group was entertaining the others.  It’s a small world. So it was friendly (as always) and fun and we had a world premier and (possibly) bid adieu to another song.  The missing element was David.  Where were you?  We missed you – no David, no pics!

Part 1 of the evening was kicked off in fine style by Brian and Cath Wylie with Cath singing a lovely version of ‘Spancil Hill’ with Brian following up with Jon Allen’s ‘Joanna’.

Barry Lane was next playing some good ole country style stuff with Don Reno’s ‘I’m The Talk of the Town’ and Charlie Sizemore’s ‘Devil on the Plough’ in which Lothersdale got a mention even though it’s a long way from North Carolina.

They haven’t got a name for their singing trio yet (suggestions were made – I thank you!) but Susan Holmes, Cath Harney and Pam Johnson (yourblogger)   were up next to sing Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’ and Neil Young’s ‘After the Goldrush’.  First time we’ve sung as a trio at Swan Acoustic and we loved it.

Paul Dove followed with a lovely rendition of AlyBain’s ‘Sophie’s Lullaby’ and ‘Simple Song’ from a terrific album ‘Made of Sky’ by Canadian singer/songwriter Tom Lips.  

John Waller gave us two of his self-penned songs – as always impeccably delivered – the first – ‘Kerguelen’ was a world premier (using standard Size 14 Font) and told a story about the Kerguelen Islands in the South Indian Ocean which are, unlikeAddingham, very far away from civilization.  The second was from the back catalogue and provisionally titled ‘Routine’.

Electric harp playing next as Frances Wright gave us ‘Morrison’s Jig’ and an Irish hornpipe ‘Rites of Man’.  That’s the great thing about Swan Acoustic – such a range of music and styles and it all works together.

Graeme Morrell stepped up to the microphone (figuratively speaking – there is no mic) and had us all transfixed with the wonderful George Harrison’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ followed by Elton John/Bernie Taupin’s ‘Your Song’.

James ‘Human Juke Box’ Hunter next with Elizabeth Cotton’s ‘Freight Train’ (how many different versions of that song are there?) and the wonderful Iris DeMent’s ‘You’ve Done Nothing Wrong’.  Thank you for reminding me of that particular song, James. It used to be one of myfavourite singalong in the car songs and now I’ve revived it.

The first half of the evening was rounded off in fine style by Gloria with a beautiful version of The Loch of Shallin (a song known by many other names I learned) which tells the sad story of a mother visualising a black coffin in the loch and asking if her son Willie has drowned. The sad songs are always they best. And then it was back to the Sixties with the Kinks ‘Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon’. Marvellous.

Part Two of the evening started with the wonderful voice of Cath Wylie, accompanied by Brian Wylie, singing ‘Landslide’ written by Stevie Nicks.  There was some debate about who wrote the song.  It was Stevie Nicks.  We checked.  Brian Wylie then sang this song, possibly for the last time, ‘Gotta Get the Monkey Off Your Back’ – a self-penned song dedicated to a friend.  Hopefully no need to sing that song any more giving more time to sing plenty of others.

For his second set we had two great songs from Barry Lane  ‘Song for Life’ by Rodney Crowell and ‘Can’t Sing the Blues’ by Stu Page, a singer/singwriter who died too young and proved that a lad from Leeds can indeed sing the blues and write country songs.

Susan Holmes and Pam Johnson up next to sing what Pam always refers to as ‘the morning after the night before song’ aka Laura Cantrell’s ‘The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter’ from her album ‘Not the Trembling Kind’.  

Cath Harney’s voice then joined Pam and Susan for Boo Hewerdine’s ‘Follow My Tears’ and the Irish classic ‘A Bunch of Thyme’.  Love that song with some lovely harmonies from Susan and Cath.

Making a Swan Acoustic debut (I think) Mike Harney was up next with ‘Then I Kissed Her’ which the Beach Boys did but we all remember the Crystals singing ‘And Then He Kissed Me’.  Mike followed that with a love song of a different kind - Neil Young’s’ The Needle and the Damage Done’. Great stuff Mike.

John Waller chose Leonard Cohen’s ‘That’s No Way to Say Goodbye’ and Al Stewart’s ‘Bedsitter Images’ which has more lyrics than anyone ought to be able to remember for his second half contribution.  Great songs sung by someone who clearly enjoys singing them.

Graeme Morrell next – will it be Al Stewart fest time? Yes! Al Stewart’s ‘Soho (Needless to Say)’ – another challenging tongue twister of a song was a triumph.  Graeme followed that challenge with a Michael Chapman song ‘That Time of Night’ and told us the story of Lucinda Williams recording one of Michael Chapman’s songs and wanting to sing it with him on stage and emailing him to invite him to join her tour but Michael doesn’t really do email so he missed the chance.  Glad we didn’t missGraeme doing these songs though.

James Jukebox back again in the second half with Fred Neil’s ‘Everybody’s Talkin at Me’ from Midnight Cowboy and the gentle and soulful ‘Cold Water’ by Damien Rice.  Lovely, lovely.

The evening ended with Gloria giving us a tune from the 1860’s ‘Michael Turner’s Waltz’ also known as part of "Six German Dances" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  The Michael Turner (1796-1885)in the title was a fiddle player from Sussex who turned the original tune into a waltz.  And very lovely it is too.  Next was ‘The Bold Princess Royal’ a classic sea story which vividly recounts how a mercantile sailing ship rebuffed an attack by a pirate. Wonderful playing and story telling in song. Gloria then invited us all to join in for a finale song – ‘The Night They Drive Old Dixie Down’ (inGminor).  It was a blast.  

Thanks all for a fantastic evening.  Look forward to doing it again.

Posted on April 20, 2015 .