Well the lovely aroma of fish and chips met the three amigos as we sauntered into The Swan in Addingham, Even though it was not long after my Tea the smell had me salivating. There was no room for us at the time and as we were first there we settled into the snug (an area of the pub usually frequented by our amateur dramatic friends) and awaited whoever might turn up.
As it happens it was a relatively quiet night, Barry (who was still recovering from a recent illness) was first in, followed by Mr Ian Pucknell, James Porter brought up the rear and together with John-Paul, Kath and yours truly that was our quorum for the night.
We finally agreed to settle around the long table near the fire and after a bit of swopping about which was dictated by who didn’t want their ass roasted as they performed we prepared ourselves for the night.
Just for a change and because we had John-Paul with us Ian started us off tonight with a Guy Clark number which tells the tale of the grandson of an American immigrant but through their lives “Immigrant Eyes” This was the first time I heard Ian do this particular song albeit one I do Know and a great rendition it was. Ian followed this up with a John Prine Number, The song was preceeded by the story of when Kath and myself were introduced to John Prine in Matt Malloy’s bar in Westport, unfortunately it was months later before Kath was made aware of who he was! Never mind Kath he probably thought the same about you!. Ians song was “Hello in There” a story song whichshows us what awaits us as we get older, and the often lonely life that our elder generation endure when family don’t call as often as we would like. Well done Ian.
James (The Jukebox) was next up and he normally fills a later spot and has a head full of songs so you never know what James will pull out of the hat and tonight was no exception as Otis Readings “My Girl” was his first offering. This much covered song has had many chart entries over the years but tonight James gave a great rendition in the style of Smokey Robinson/Otis Reading although with a Yorkshire twang which I thought made it stand out from the standards James wasn't happy that his accent sounded Yorkshire to me and asked me to point out he is from Lancashire! I will have to check his members card!!. His next song he said he didn’t want to talk about! Aah, sorry his next song WAS “I don’t wanna Talk About It” a classic Rod Stewart song once again indicative of the musical repertoire contained therein. Great stuff James.
Returning like a conquering hero was Barry, illness having kept him away from us for the last few bi-monthly sessions. Barry has a wealth of country songs both obscure and popular and he will regale you with the artists name and a little biog and even writes this down normally to aid whoever is doing the blog.First up was a country song by Ralph Stanley “That Lonesome Old Song” a classic old style country song when it still had C&W in its title The second one was a story song about a young lads devotion for his father, a sentiment we all can share as everyone thinks theirs was the best but “Devil On The plough” showed that when he passed if this lads dad wasn’t in Heaven he was elsewhere with the devil on his plough!
As we had all travelled together Kath, John-Paul and myself had a go at a few numbers, to be honest it was one each in this spot with the others providing the backing required. JP was thrown in first to see how this would or wouldn’t work “Foxy Devil” an old Planxty song was aired and with judicial accompaniment was well received certainly by an over enthusiastic Ian who called it a “lovely gentle song” The Fragrant one was next as Kath had the finger of fate pointed at her and after a bit of an intro launched into an Imelda May number “Tears of Clew Bay” this is normally accompanied by a whistle but as it tends to drown out Kath’s lovely voice we swapped it for the Blarge and altogether it was a crackin airing for this song and a first at Addingham( we didn’t fall out!) Brian up last and my choice of weapon was in fact another Planxty Song “Hackler” which allegedly was a trade carried out in Ireland which is famous for its linen as A worker who separated the coarse part of flax or hemp with a hackle; a flax-dresser. Whatever it was it made for a good story song as he took on the Sergeant from Grouse Hall for the crime of Drinking!
We had a short break and then decided (that was an excecutive decision from yours truly) to go round in reverse, so this time John-Paul started the second set off with a song learnt from a dear departed friend of ours Dave Crolla “Writing on the Wall” the story of what happens when we ignore the signs of a flagging love and drive them away. A great rendition in the vein of Dave and came together well under the circumstances. Kath again with a song she had pointed out she had performed here before but not with two musicians at her side, “Landslide” a-la- Dixie Chicks with a mandolin break and guitar sounded better than before. Well done Kath. A self penned song oft performed here “Famine Song” but with a difference as for once I was unshackled from the bonds of having to play and sing! As JP played a driving guitar which lifted this song to somewhere else and allowed me to just sing-thanks JP.
Back to our reverse trend now as Barry prepared his country spot (Barry had 30/40 years) playing slide guitar which is no mean feat! We had a Waylon Jennings number now with that good old “Young Widow Brown” country at its best. Barry rounded off his spot with a song I have only ever heard when he performs it “Golden Guitar” a proper weepy song about a young guitarist killed by his father in an accident, propert tear jerker stuff! This was a Bill Anderson song as Barry informed us, a much ignored songsmith of eminence in the annals of country music.
James next with a Neil Young song “After The Gold Rush” a great version and one I had to ask the title of, as unusually it is not mentioned in the song! But a great version none the less. James rounded off his spot with a song which had us all joining in at the relevant spot with an Ugh-Aah as Sam Cookes “Chain Gang” was bandied around the room. This was the first time I heard James do this one and I want this one again please.
Ian then prepared for his finale and after a hesitant start with the rhythm of his first song he settled on “Lady Take tour time” another one of the songs that I have only ever heard at The Swan but this and his final song “Let him Roll” are two of my Favourite Ian songs so I was happy and so was every one else. We had a request from a friend of Ians for Neil Youngs “four Strong Winds” and with the aid of the internet a verion of this was found and was duly delivered as a first to the delight of said friend. This week we managed to finish around 10:45 and the three amigos made their retreat and headed back to the Bradford Badlands and left the others to belt out songs of their choice unshackled by the blogger! Til next time BCW