On a wet night in February there is a lot to be said for sitting in a pub listening to people playing a fascinating variety of live music. There may only have been five of us but it proved to be a really enjoyable evening.
James kicked us off with and he can do a mean rendition of a Paul Simon song so he entertained us with a lively version of Mardi Gras. That upbeat tone was maintained when Phil gave us Back in the Night by Dr Feelgood provoking lots of foot tapping and the blogger to reflect on the song’s lyric about “waking up on the floor asking for some breakfast”. Very rock and roll lifestyle!
Positivity is, however, hard to maintain all night. Since tonight’s blogger was myself – Andy – no one was over surprised when I went for a sad song that I picked up from the wonderful Etta James called ‘If you could see me now’. All about lost love and declining fortunes.
Which proved to be positively optimistic compared to Barry’s contribution. He went for telling the tale of losing your home in a flood written by Phil Rosenthal in the 1980s called Muddy Waters. It sounded like one of those amazing blues numbers from the 1930s depression and Barry treated us to some lovely fingerpicking.
Graham then did what he does so well which is to sing and to play with great skill and sincerity. He treated us to a sensational version of Rainy Night in Georgia by Tony Joe White. Apparently, the writer of that song felt there like it was raining all over the world and it certainly felt like that in Addingham. No wonder Barry was singing about floods.
James then let us know that he and Julio used to hang around the schoolyard with Paul Simon whilst Phil had apparently been conned into being a soldier boy by some smooth talkingpropaganda and got a very good self-penned song out of the experience or the impressive imagination of it.
Your blogger then played Many Rivers to Cross and claimed it was written by Johnny Nash. It is never a good idea to get your facts wrong when you are dealing with knowledgeable people. I was quickly and gently corrected and it is a Jimmy Cliff song from 1969 much copied by others.
I was trying to keep the water theme going but Barry had clearly had enough of floods and deluges. He went for Railways instead and gave us the Wabash Cannonball which he’d picked up from Lonny Donegan but thought was much older. The Gibson was used once again to good effect
Graham then played one of two songs that shared the same title of ‘Run’. Your blogger is tempted to claim that this was inspired by his own recent book on towns and places that share a name but really he just wishes to plug the book. ‘Contrast and compare’ by Andy Brown is available from one very evil bookseller, Amazon, and a quick search and an even quicker purchase is strongly recommended. Graham’s first version of Run was the theme from Gavin and Stacey by Stephen Fretwell and a very fine song it is too.
James then couldn’t remember that he had already played two songs but did remember perfectly all the words to Watching the Detectives by Elvis Costello which all goes to show how eccentric the human memory is. It is one of my favourite songs and James did it more than justice.
Phil was also in post punk mode giving us a bit of Joe Strummer which I thought was called Before I Grow too Old and knew from an old Cajun recording but turned out to be titled Silver and Gold. Either way a really fine song and fun to hear.
I then offered Newton Faulkner’s Dream Catch Me which is meant to be about the joys of falling in love but I think I managed to make it sound like the end of the relationship. Barry was more genuinely on depressive territory with Just Like You from Peter Wernick of Hot Rize. In that song we learn that the protagonist is all alone after he has just gone under the surgeon’s knife and come back home to be reminded that his wife had died and his four children had moved faraway. Clearly the miserable night outside was getting to us.
Graham managed to lift the mood with I shall be released by Bob Dylan. Interesting how I can sing a cheerful song and make it sound miserable whereas Graham can sing a miserable song and make it sound cheerful. I think his is the more valuable talent!
After a short break James gave us a Kirsty McCall song about the break up of a relationship the theme of which was don’t worry about it – you enjoyed it while it lasted so just move on. It was called “We’ll Never Pass this Way Again” which sounds a bit biblical but it was anything but.
Phil then went for a lively song called Gas Light Anthemby Red at Night. It contained the line “Ain’t nobody got the blues like me” which triggered me to remember an old song I used to play called ‘Lay me Down a Palette on your floor” that contains almost exactly the same lyric. I picked it up from a Gillian Welch CD but it is around 100 years old. Graham claimed that he thought I was singing Lay me Down a Parrot on your floor but I suspect that was just his waspish sense of humour.
Barry then told us about narrowly missing seeing Buddy Holly play in Bradford because he was on his way to church instead. That prompted him to give us a really nice version of Alright and me to later on play a rather eccentric version of American Pie. Sixty years since the plane crash was therefore given proper respect.
Graham then gave us the partner song to Run which turned out to be the Snow Patrol song and he later went back to Snow Patrol to offer ‘If I lie here’ both beautifully done.
Which left us time for James to explore the Peter Green era of Fleetwood Mac with Man of the World, Phil to go in for a bit of Bruce with Jack of All Trades (no not Bruce Forsyth, Springsteen of course), and Barry to go back to his “God bothering” days with Wayne Raney’s, ‘A Whole Lot More of Jesus and a Whole Lot Less Rock and Roll”. If the 50s were dominated by country and western artists writing lyrics that corny I can only admire Barry for quitting the church and forming a rock and roll band.
In the true spirit of Rock and Roll we all finished off with our own versions of a bit of a trash. James did One Inch Rock from T Rex, Phil did the Clash and Brand New Cadillac, I went for an early Ray Charles ‘Tell me What I Say’, and Barry did some lively fingerpicking on Another Lonesome Morning by Wendy Thatcher. He then offered the disturbing image of a woman called Thatcher wearing long white boots and hot pants in the 1980s but fortunately it turned out to be no relation to the then PM.
The whole evening was then nicely finished off by Graham doing the right version of Valerie. The one by the Zutons not the Amy Whine House imitation.
A good time was had by all and we headed out much cheered. To discover it was still chucking it down with rain.