Brian “Dr Teeth” Wylie kicked off the evening in fine style with a song which was written as a reply to that famous Percy French song “The Mountains of Mourne”. Brian’s rendition was particularly notable as it featured a duet with Robert Plant (via Kath’s phone) and an unscheduled key change. Brain followed this with a Mick Blake song which features on Christy Moore’s new album. “Oblivious” rails against apathy in all its forms. It was a great rendition made even more special by a particularly tasty peppermill percussion solo provided by one of the late diners. Some people hold a low opinion of the peppermill as a percussive tool. However, this writer feels that a tastefully ground peppermill can add spice to any tune and is not to be sneezed at. In the second bit Brian gave us a great version of the Pogues classic "Rainy night in Soho" . Brian finished his stint tonight with the first song that he played at Addingham “Writing on the Wall”.
Hot on Brian’s heels and with his own brand of piquant playing was resident accordion wrangler Julian. I really look forward to hearing Julian’s choice of tunes and songs and so was doubly delighted when he kicked off one of my favourite trad songs, Patrick Cavanagh’s "Raglan Road". If in musical equations Graeme = Michael Chapman and I = Steve Earle then Julian must surely = Phil Cunningham and he put all the feeling that a true fan has into one of Phil’s slow airs, "Irish Beauty". After the break Julian started with a song written by Rick Keep from Steeleye Span "Somewhere along the road" . Julian finished in a blaze of glory with 3 jigs “The lark in the morning, The jig of slurs and the Atholl highlander” So frenzied was the playing that Julian required assistance from James to replace a slipping accordion strap mid jig. Lovely stuff Julian
Next up was SAS’s resident jukebox James Porter. In the first half James treated us to two from the songbook of Gallagher & Lyle. The first was "The SS Man" which happily turned out to be about the social security man calling around. The second was "Stay Young" which was subsequently covered by Don Williams and got to number one in the U.S. Country charts. In the second half James gaves us a great version of Sandy Denny’s "Who knows where the time goes?" and Paolo Nutini’s "Last Request" which is about meeting up with past lovers. I once considered working as a restorer of window shutters but decided I couldn’t face the embarrassment of constantly running into old louvers. Bad joke but good song from James.
A duo next , the very fine Grand Union otherwise known as Pam Johnson and Ian Taylor. They kicked off with great Nanci Griffiths song "Love at the 5 and dime" and followed this with a great version of a great song from Teddy Thompson "Don't know what I was thinking". After the break they kept it in the family witha confident version of Thompson Snr’s “Persuasion”. They saved the big guns till last and finished in fine style with a rousing and heartfelt rendition of Della Mae’s” Boston Town” with great vocal harmonies. Grand Union keep getting better and better each time I see them.
Graeme Morrell overcame his man-flu to deliver a great rendition of Al Stewart’s "Dark and rolling sea" . Graeme then almost won the “non sequitur of the evening” award as he regaled us with a tale about his new Crocs however his story turned into an introduction for a great self penned fingerstyle instrumental which he christened “Croc rag” After the break Graeme pleased himself by playing Ricky Nelson "Garden Party" which disproved the lyrics by pleasing everyone else too. Still in a crowd pleasing mode Graeme took a request from Barry to play a tricky Michael Chapman instrumental "Naked Ladies and Electric Ragtime". Only to find out at the end that it wasn’t the tune that Barry meant as the one he wanted was, “faster and more complicated”. See Graeme, you may as well just please yourself!
Barry Lane kicked off his first set with the oft forgotten songwriter Hugh Moffatt’s "Carolina Star" which featured some interesting if not entirely helpful kitchen percussion. To my shame I didn’t note down Barry’s second offering but if it’s any consolation Barry I didn’t note my own stuff down either and so shall be absent from the blog.
Barry finished off the evening in an easy country style with “He Rode All The Way to Texas” which was written by Hugh Moffat but covered by lots of other people including Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. Barry closed an enjoyable night with " Just like you" which was written by Pete Wernik who was also known as “Dr Banjo”. Barry didn’t seem to appreciate my query as to whether Pete had earned this moniker because of his selfless missionary work curing banjo players of their noisy affliction.