The Famous Five

 Five Go on a Musical Adventure

The candles were flickering, the fairy lights twinkling and the coals glowing in the grate as the Famous Five – Ian, Graeme, James, Phil and Pam - set off on a musical adventure at the Swan.  Without a poorly Brian Wylie to guide us (get well soon Brian and we missed you too Cath) Graeme bravely took the lead and promptly handed the blog to me – even though I didn’t have a pen!  Luckily James had a pen and paper and saved the day and promised to do the blog next time……… I managed to write that bit down.

Your blogger, Pam, started off with her old favourite, Am I Too Blue, by Lucinda Williams.  I always enjoy playing it and it’s just lovely when someone (Ian this time) joins in on guitar to do the twiddly bits.  Ian (the other half of ‘Grand Union’ with Pam) was next.  Ian dug into his songbook, found himself down under and did fantastic job with ‘Australia’ by The Rails.  Pam and Ian then became Grand Union and sang ‘If I Were a Bramble’ by The Long Ryders.  Not the Long Ryders usual type of song but a good one and very well received.

Graeme picked up his beautiful guitar next and treated us to a lovely version of Harrison, Lennon and McCartney’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ and followed it with not a Michael Chapman song but a song by one of MC’sfavourite artists – the wonderful Lucinda Williams’ East Side of Town’.  One in the eye for some politicians there I think. James brought ‘His Bobness’ into the mix with a great version of ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’ followed by Dire Straits’ ‘So Far Away’.  Wonderful stuff!

Phil took us off into another world of adventure with guitar, harmonica and the first two lines and “ a re-diddled bit” of Marc Bolan’s ‘Sitting Here’ (I think I got that right). Then one of Phil’s own songs – ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ Always good. Always enjoy these songs.

We all got an extra ‘go’ in the first round so Grand Union did one each if you see what I mean.  First was Gretchen Peters’ “ When All You Got is a Hammer”.  A great song about the plight of ex-servicemen – taught how to kill but struggling on Civvy Street.  Our second choice was Della Mae’s ‘Boston Town’ – a song about the Lowell Mills Strike in the 1800’s when the women got fed up of rubbish pay and being paid even less than men. So much still to do on equality but I was chuffed to bits that I got the end of the song right this time after messing it up royally when we were having a practice earlier.

Michael Chapman got a look in next when Graeme gave us a lovely rendition of “Fool in the Night”.  A very personal and emotional song beautifully delivered. If you don’t know anything about Michael Chapman you’ll be able to read about him in R2 (Rock and Reel) magazine very soon as he was about to be interviewed by our own Ian Taylor.  R2 mag is a must for music and gig reviews.  I recommend it.

Human jukebox James took us to New Orleans next with a brill version of Rhymin’ Simon’s “Take Me to the Mardi Gras”.  Phil and his ‘Our Monica’ took us to a place with less jolly words but a fantastic rhythm (great harmonica) with Woody Guthrie’s ‘Ain’t Got No Home’.  Wonderful.

We had a beer and chat break then before Grand Union got themselves back in gear for Pam’s choices with Linda and Richard Thompson’s ‘Dimming of the Day’ and Kim Richey’s ‘Every River Runs Dry’.  Thoroughly enjoyed doing both songs – especially the Kim Richey one as it’s not a misery fest!  Great guitar from Ian on that one too.  Ian’s choice for Grand Union was a classic by Police Dog Hogan called ‘Shitty White Wine’.  Great singing from Ian and anyone who can deliver the line ‘ a kangaroo on the label is never a good sign’ without cracking up is alright by me. 

Graeme’s second half contribution kicked off with Steeler’s Wheel ‘Stuck in the Middle’ – not stuck at all actually, fair motoring along – and carried on after some “re-tuning for something quieter” with two songs brought together – A Stranger’s Map of Texas/Twisted Road by Michael C.  Gorgeous, classy guitar playing.  James followed up with the lovely ‘Songbird’ by Eva Cassidy. Beautifully delivered and wonderfully complemented by Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Boxer’. Five’s musical adventure rounded off with Phil and his ‘Our Monica’ again for a barnstorming Dr Feelgood’s‘Back to the Night’ followed by a real treat of a medley of rock and roll classics - TuttiFrutti/I Saw Her Standing There/Roll Over Beethoven/.

There was lashings of beer and music and Five went home tired but happy.

Posted on January 7, 2017 .