Well thats it folks, summers is officially over and time to get the fires lit at The Swan in Addingham, it felt strange heading back to The Swan for the resumption of our bi-monthly acoustic open-mic session. The car park as always was full with it being the first Tuesday of the month but surprisingly so was the rooms in the pub, seemed to be some womens group meeting. They did eventually retire to the other room when they saw musical instruments arrive-some people have no taste!
Leon was already ensconsed but not in his usual seat as this had been purloined by one of said ladies but after they vacated he was happy to move to more familiar surroundings. One by one they filtered in some old faces and some new ones including a blast from the past in the form of Terry Cook a man whom I had the pleasure of playing alongside when Rainbow Morris were the new kid on the block in the Morris world.
Anyway on with the show as they say and as is traditional the blogger sets a low bar as he gets his Agnew guitar from its case and places his material on the music stand and signals to our M.C Dave that we may as well begin. I like to do unpolished songs and this was no exception as Eric Bogles "The band played Waltzing Matilda" was dragged out for an airing, a poignant remember of the sacrifices made by my grandfathers generation in the first world war. This was followed by an equally poignant Irish song "Only our Rivers Run free" by Michael Macconnell, a song highlighting that even with peace in our time that only the rivers still run free. The second set had the blogger performing two songs from a very sad era in Irish History, the famine of 1847. The first song follows a family of brothers to Butte Montana where one met his death at the hands of a crooked sheriff, "Michael Conway" by Seamus Egan from the band Solas. This led into another self penned song from the same era "Famine Song" written after a trip to Leenane in Mayo,telling of the deaths of six hundred poor souls as the wandered the county in search of food.
Leon was next up and his lovely wife declined to join him in the first set but undaunted Leon who has a lovely soft and mellow style that gets to the soul of anything he performs led us into another Eric Bogle song and "The Cocky song" a life song of a poor Aussie Farmer told in 5 verses a sad tale. reversing the trend we had a song from his Bobship as Dylans "I shall be released" was expertly performed by Leon. The second set had Leon struggling not with the song but some excessive noise from the other room, but being the pro he is he carried on regardless and this time a Jesse Winchester song "Glory to the Day" led nicely into a song that I have only ever heard Leon perform outside Dire Straits "Walking in the Wild West End" excellent song and bloody well sung. To round up his performance Leon was joined by his wife Carol and the twin voices melded a lovely rendition of another Bob Dylan song "Billy" I hope this is the start of something for Swan Acoustic. Well done Carol!
Barry was next up, a man whose reportoire of unknown (to me anyway) country-songs never fails to amaze. Barry always has his material printed on a tear off slip to present to the unfortunate blogger of the night, so no excuses for mispellllling! A couple of Don reno songs from Barry's first set "The Human Race" and "Talk of the Town" a definite picking style from Barry, who I dont think I have heard him duplicate a song yet! The second set had him delving into anothe couple of artistes, firstly with a Bill Anderson song "Golden Guitar" very apt. Gretchen Peters was next to have an airing as "You dont even know who i am" excellent stuff Barry and now everyone does know who you are.
An old friend up next as Rob takes out his new baby a lovely Gibson guitar that I believe he brought back from Scotland, (he only popped out for a loaf) but back to his spot. Rob explained pre performance that he was currently enjoying a Guy Clark Album and his subsequent songs reflected this. First up was "Stuff that Works" and performed in his own soft spoken style. "L A Freeway" was neatly performed and to carry on this current theme we had another Guy Clark song in the second set with "Magnolia Wind" I heard Rob and Caroline do this at The Bay horse a week or so ago, but even without Carolines support it was still a beautiful y performed song. Rob finished his second spot with not a Guy Clark song, but last seasons favourite artist John Hiatt as "Birmingham Train" left the station and wistfully its passenger faded down the track it was onwards and upwards. Excellent stuff Rob as always.
Mr James Porter our very own human Jukebox was next up and with mixed genres as well, a Joni Mitchell song also performed by Crosby,Stills and Nash "Woodstock" and from fresh filled American fields up to date with a man who would have been feted had he turned up at Woodstock, Paulo Nuttini with "Candy" and he then goes supergroup in the second spot with Fleetwood Macs's "Man of The World" and where to from there? Well ,The King got an outing as Elvis and "All Shook up" reverberated around the room and once again James cements his status as the human jukebox! Well done James
Another stalwart who was sat patiently waiting his turn as Graeme Morrell unpacks his trusty guitar from it's case and a break from tradition here as he opens with a James Taylor song "Wandering" Graeme has a very desirable style and mimics Taylors style perfectly before returning to familiar territory as the ubiquitous Michael Chapman makes an appearance through Graeme with "The Hero Returns" in The second set we had another James Taylor song which to my shame and embarassment I didn't note as was at the toilet. (Slapped wrist then) I was however back in my seat for Graemes's final song a cracking version of The Eagles "New Kid in Town" My humblest apologies Graeme but still an excellent set!
A new face tonight and with a five string banjo! Doug was our penultimate artist tonight with what appeared to be a well used Ozark banjo (other banjo's are of course available)"Laurie Lee" a song with nice finger picking on this banjo. A woody Guthrie song next also made famous by The Carter Family and Pete Seeger "Worried Man blues" had us singing along. We stayed with an American Theme as Steven Fosters "Oh Susannah" and indeed with a banjo on his knee Doug gave a grest rendition of this old song and then with a nod to the Irish he then had one foot in the Auls sod and one in California as "Muirshin Durkin " a song of yet again Immigration of the Irish to America but a jaunty ditty performed succinctly by Doug. A heart welcome Doug to our session.
A previously mentioned old friend to round up both halves Terry cook who I last saw playing a squeeze box but here tonight with a trusty guitar. I shall shortly be joining Terry in a 25 year reunion for Rainbow Morris later on this month. "Jelly Roll" or to give it another name "Black Mountain Blues" was Terry's first offering this was followed by "Cuckoo" Now i must have been in awe of this performance as there was a lull in my concentration I know the next song was by Rev Gary Davies, before finishing with a guitar rag. I have to admit to being very pleasantly surprised at TC's renditions tonight and I hope he turns up again. Well lets get this fire lit and see you in a week or so!