Thursday, 4 June 2015

" Downtown! Down At The Crown! "

        Nuneaton Folk Club's ninth session at The Crown last night featured (for the first time), joint major billing, with two Main Guests, both local acts, sharing the honours.  Plucky Jan Richardson, battling with a dodgy throat, ended the first half with an extended slot. And the witty, erudite John Kearney rounded off the evening with a stonking set. It was an unmitigated success. Another big turnout, a lovely eclectic mix of artistes, some great comedy, poignantly juxtaposed alongside some "you had to be there" pathos. All ably mixed by Sound Wizard Tom Triffid Veasey. Here's the view from his desk. Quite a beast, eh? (The desk).
         The Mac Awe himself kicked off,  the talented half of Nunc having been sidelined by throat problems. ( Bit of a theme there-several people struggling, and the Vocalzone much in evidence!).  I  was joined instead by ex-Parrot David Parr for  a run through of  "Peggy Gordon" and Sam Cook's " Bring It On Home."   David  himself followed  immediately afterwards, showcasing songs from his infamous "Sex and Death" Album. The audience were treated to Dave's unique version of "Teenage Kicks," a song with which he recently chose to celebrate his 101st birthday. An odd bedfellow for an interesting version of Matty Groves and a song about Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. Light and shade, our David.
       Des Patalong then gave us three songs from his excellent CD " Good For Nothing." "John Kanakanaka"  Diane Lindsay"The Call" ( with both the songwriter's daughters in the audience, rude not to), and the aptly seasonal "Rosebud in June." The latter with an impressively typed out chorus songsheet on every table. And yes, Des, we did spot the deliberate mistake. 

K.C. Jones followed: they were welcome return visitors, doing three of their excellent self-penned songs. 
KC Jones in full cry
A breathless Hilary Wilson was another return visitor. She'd driven straight from a meeting on the other side of Warwickshire to entertain us. A bit of Reception Teacher's throat during her final number, but very relaxing. Most of Hil's songs sound like lullabies to me. A remarkable vocal style. I offered her a Halls Extra Strong, but she soldiered on like a trouper. 
      Jan Richardson concluded a most enjoyable first half, with a sophisticated set of self-penned songs. Ably backed by fiddle player Hedley. Actually, the way he accompanied Jan, "fiddle" sounds a bit vulgar. It was deffo almost violinish at times. She's been poorly, bless her, but her voice held up and was a s strong as ever. Probably wise to stop when she did though! Jan becomes an official NFC legend by being the first performer to have a bottle of Benyln alongside her on stage throughout. I've seen mineral water, Brown Ale, and even a teapot (Ian Bland) -but that's a first. ( Do you think we'll get product placement royalties for all this free advertising? )
    Dave Parr and I returned to open the second half with a rabble-rousing version of "All Over Now" a Bobby Womack song which used to form part of our set. Buddy Holly's "Rave On" concluded events for me, as we moved seamlessly on to the Raffle. Three CD's were dispensed, before Joe "Oldest Swinger in Town" Roberts won the unique "Nuneaton Folk Club " Cake, to everyone's delight. Especially Joe's. The cake was donated by The Tilting Kettle. Run by another one of my multi-talented Nieces. 

     Malc Gurnham and Gill Gilsenan then warmed the audience up for John Kearney with a series of the great chorus songs like " The Blue Cockade, "  which they do so well. Signing off with a tastefully arranged version of  "Summertime." 
     John was simply epic, and the audience responded warmly to him as he ran through a collection of songs. Pretty well every aspect of modern life was there, including ambulance-chasing Squirrels, Bob Dylan wannabes and  Tanked up Golfers in The Algarve. He counterpointed these entertaining songs with gentle ballads and laments like " Agincourt to Abbeville " and " Tiny Lights."   What a great song. (Wonder who wrote that?) Of course, he had to have an encore, and a classic cover. version of Petula's Clark's "DownTown" brought the House down. " Down Town ! Down at The Crown!"  improvised the audience,happily, before toddling off home.