Thursday, 25 January 2018

Monkeying around at The Anker Inn

      Though we've all dabbled collectively together in Mac Awe On Tour,January 23rd saw the second outing for a collaboration between Nunc and Blues Monkey. We first tried this out at The Nursery Tavern in November 2017 and had such fun together, we joined up again at the request of John and Ann Harris, who host the recently established Tuesday Night Blues Jam at The Anker Inn, Weddington Road Nuneaton.
    The format here is that on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, like-minded musicians and a few audience members assemble to play a whole cross section of material. It's very friendly and very informal The second Tuesday of a month sees someone take an extended set to end the first and second halves. There is an interval raffle with prizes, and as its a friendly boozer with a stage and a P.A. it turns out to be quite a good night. There are more details about it an earlier January post. Audiences and the number of musicians turning up is growing. This account is primarily about the gig on Tuesday last.
            These evenings always embrace floor spots too from other visitors and we greatly enjoyed the contribution in both halves from the JP's Dragonhead, Paul Monks, Paul Moore and John Kearney. Our hosts Dragonhead-or 2/3 of them-started events with a rousing set of Rock and Roll and "busy" numbers,and they returned later in the evening to start the second half. Their version of "Shake Rattle and Roll," is a good example. Thought by many to be a Bill Haley Rock and Roll invention,(and so arguably not a blues standard),it is a Jesse Stone song first recorded as a 12 bar blues by Big Joe Turner.
Dragonhead getting out in that kitchen
         The JP's-Paul Monks and Jane Moss gave us an eclectic and varied collection of songs,including a very bold version of "Folsom Prison," (sung along with enthusiastically0 and a saxophone solo from Jane which we really didn't expect but nonetheless enjoyed tremendously. 

           Off the top of his head (he claims) JK did a remarkable Bluesified version of "Wild Rover," which he can now add to the Traditional and Reggae versions he already does of this song. 

       Though Jon Harrington,Paul Moore,John Kearney and I had shared the Anker stage in various formats (and solo occasionally), this was a debut there for our powerful vocalist Flossy Macdougall. Added to the compliment and beefed up by a bit of extra amplification, although I say it myself, we got the place rocking.
          As I've commented elsewhere on a previous Blog post, the "Blues" handle of the Anker sessions is a bit of a misnomer. That label is more about style than content. Our own repertoire on Tuesday was not exclusively Blues or Folk based. Nuncmonkey take Country, Folk, Blues, Contemporary and Pop songs, mash them up, disassemble them, reassemble them and then add what we hope is some entertaining instrumentation to it. Here for example, is Tuesday Night's Set List:

How Long Blues     
 Vigilante Man    
 You Really got a hold on me     
 Sitting On Top of The World                    
 Bring It On Home To me
Standin' Round Crying                             
  If I had Possession 
All Over Now                                              
 When Love comes to Town  
Angel from Montgomery                          
Knocking On Heaven's Door  
Jesus On The Mainline                                
Tracks of My Tears 
Rock and Roll Medley (encore)
       Afficionados of the Blues genre will have spotted originals there which were first recorded  by Muddy Waters,Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and Leroy Carr. Contemporary writers like Bob Dylan, Bono,John Prine and Randy Newman are also covered and there is  a Soul input from Sam Cooke and two Smokey Robinson compositions,both of which were hits for the Miracles on Tamla Motown. Although made famous by Ry Cooder,Jesus on The Main Line was originally a Negro Spiritual and Vigilante Man started life as a Woody Guthrie protest song. When you add blues harps in various keys, electric and acoustic guitars and up to three part harmonies vocally-well that's Nuncmonkey.  
          Paul took the lead vocal on "Sitting On Top of The World," and Flossy's powerful voice  starred in "Guilty," (our first public stab at this song) and "Angel From Montgomery."  As for the Rock and Roll Medley-completely unrehearsed,completely spontaneous and all the more fun for that.
             Get along to this venue and give it your backing. Live, high quality, high energy music,free, midweek. Twice a month. Whether you want to play or listen or both-give it a shot.