REVIEWS YEAR 2005
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Tony and Gary Edwards and Steve[ of The Speckled Men] gave a great night of very varied country and folk music. The musicianship was second to non, the banter very entertaining and the songs well sung. Put all this together, with support in the second half from the talented Steve Levi and it's no wonder all who attended were singing the praises of the evening.
Audience numbers were up and we are hoping that the venue is becoming better known to everyone who appreciates good entertainment at reasonable prices.
The warmth from these lovely girls emanated through the evening. Although a small audience attended, this took nothing away from the Girls superb musicianship and choice of melodic and meaningful songs, many of which were self penned.
They created a laid back easy going atmosphere. These girls have the potential to go places, catch them when you can.
John James achieved fame in the 1970-80s as a fingerstyle guitarist par-excellence. During this period interest in fingerstyle arrangements was at its peak. John recorded a number of hugely influential albums produced by Stefan Grossman where he displayed his talent for great performances of classic rags, Django Jazz, and his own compositions. His duets with Pete Berryman, John Renbourne and Chris Billings are amongst the finest of the genre. John's songwriting also received much critical acclaim; well crafted and full of insight
It was a pleasure to see John at the Overseal Village Hall. A small but highly appreciative audience were treated to a display of great music and virtuosity. John opened with the “Slow Drag” by Rev Gary Davis. He played with all the charm and character of Davis but augmented the tune with sparkling flourishes. Rich Jazzy textures followed then some much requested songs. Particularly memorable were “One Long Happy Night” about a girl who wanted to live for the “roundabouts and swings” but was forced into a conventional life.(The idea for the song came from a Dylan Thomas short story called “After the Fair”) and the foot tapping Classic Ragtime Millionaire by Willie Moore that John made his own. John was joined by his wife on a few numbers to produce a balanced and enjoyable set.
John was supported by Steve Levy who took a nostalgic trip through guitar adventures of his youth and the duo Sheila and Pete comprising Sheila Mosley and Pete Burnham who entertained us with fine singing add melodic accompaniment.
Look out for more events at Overseal. We were treated to an up-close performance by a legendary musician for a mere £5; what a bargain for such a rare privilege!...
I arrived at the club late to find a packed audience waiting for the night to start. The word had obviously gotten around of Brams abilities.
Julie and Robert Elveston started the night off with a great set of songs that put us all in the mood for what was to come. Bram as usual in his laid back de-stressing manner had the audience enthralled with his choice of songs sung so harmoniously with the audience joining in where appropriate. His light hearted humour and relaxed stage presence gave a peaceful yet expectant air to the night.
In the second half a young lady from Latvia entertained us with Latvian folk songs accompanied with a Latvian Zither or Dulcimer. A friend had brought her to the club and we were very impressed with her performance, the words were translated by another Latvian Girl who could speak some English. The night continued with another stunning set from Julie and Robert.
Bram then continued to blow us away with new material from his latest album, much chorus singing and merriment with encores and good wishes from all. What a great night! Bram is booked for 2007[TBC] at the overseal village Hall. Please accept my apologies if I was a bit over the top on the night and I hope it did not spoil your entertainment. Thanks to all who supported the night.
The night began with a small but intimate audience who seemed as impressed as I was with the quality of the Floor spots, Robert and Julie, Ted Tann-Watson and Alan. Steve Edkins and Steve Swaffer, both true Folkies, joined in with the banter and also seemed equally impressed with the quality of the warm up acts.
Steve Edkins took to the stage and had us laughing, singing and listening intently to a wide range of British folk songs, sung in his characteristic and melodic style, with lots of off the cuff banter and anecdotes; adding the cream to his very professional and entertaining act.
Steve Swaffer was really on form and treated us to some very poignant and subtle songs, sung with his delightful and heartfelt voice with intricate guitar accompaniment.
Both Steves bounced innumerable one liners off each other and the audience, giving a relaxed and humorous air to the night. The night continued in this way and Steve and Steve built up the climax as they performed together some very up beat numbers, with Swaffer pounding on the Bohran to complete a most enjoyable evening of Folk at it's best. A big thankyou to all concerned. Dave Johns 07/05/05.
When you get an offer by a group as superb as Rhyzome to support an act as brilliant as Mike Silver, do you refuse? Not likely! Rhyzome came and gave us a set of their powerful songs. These were all written by members of the group. By the end of their performance, folk were asking Dave when we are going to book Rhyzome for a full guest spot. It will happen!!
( Frank )
Mike really shone. His inimitable Guitar style and powerful pitch perfect voice drove threw the audience. He lifted us to heights of Social awareness and lulled us with sweet love songs.
Powerful words put to spine tingling melodies, with truly masterful guitar accompaniment.
" OLD FASHIONED SATURDAY NIGHT " was taken over by the audience and at one point Mike ceased to play or sing because we overpowered him with audience participation.
A Sunday Night but yes, but what " An old Fashioned Saturday Night ! "
Mike blew us away with "Sailors All " as the finishing encore. What a great night. Thanks Mike!
It was a normal Sunday Singaround in February at the Scrag End and looked likely to be a promising night, with many of the regulars attending. Little did we know what was in store for us!
As the singaround got underway, two gentlemen entered the lounge and sat at the back in the dark. A couple of people remarked quietly that they knew one of the faces but could not place him. I asked if they were performers and a modest Irish voice answered "maybe I'll do a song or two ".
Later at the bar I was told that Sean Cannon of the Dubliners was in the room and from there on the night changed. I quickly sped home for my digital camera and returned to hear Sean entertaining the audience. He took his place in the singeraround with all the rest - what a natural and seasoned performer. Later photo's were taken and Sean discussed the possibility of a booking. Who's next at the Scrag End - Paul Simon?
With 5 minutes before the night was due to start no one had turned up to do the floor spots. Luckily Julie and Robert Elveston, Steve Levi, Noel Jackson and Ted Tann-Watson rose to the occasion, some borrowing guitars and quickly thinking of songs to sing. The audience, that was of a good size, were treated to songs by these seasoned and masterful performers in both the first and second half.
Derrick Pearce, also being a seasoned performer, treated us to many of the best loved George Formby and music hall songs. Throw in a bit of history about the songs and the man himself and the show of garments and memorabilia, a great night was had by all.
Derrick sounds equally as good as George Formby himself and has a very gentle and humorous stage presence that puts the audience at ease from the start. His war time song medley got us all joining in and the vast majority of us were well into the spirit of the night. Thanks for a great night Des and also a big thanks to all the support acts.
Another corking (uncorked and unhinged) night at the Scrag End.
I only went for the raffle, give me a dog's chance of winning a bumper box of milk tray or half a bottle of cooking whisky and my loyalty is assured.
However, there was of course no such lottery on the music front, with a star line up delivering in spades. This was simply an evening of class music and class banter.
First up the Edward brothers formerly of the Gravelly Hill Billies, had us all in stitches with their tried and tested recipe for great entertainment, take some home cooked comical ditties infuse with more poignant numbers and litter with a smattering of great one-liners.
They kicked off with some practical tips for the angling fraternity- “it's not the length of your pole, but the way you wiggle your worm” - hope for you there then Dave. There was the cathartic “I've never been so stiff”. Let's face it, when you have a whole room singing” I've got a stiff in the bathroom, a stiff in the hall” – you know that you have hit upon a chorus song that could be properly characterised as populist. In between we were treated to slower numbers that complimented very well “The Outlaw Willie Brown”.
The Edwards Brothers finished on what must be the definitive anthem for those of us who on occasion are caught nutritionally devoid – “The Munchies”
Then after a quick word to remind us all about marital fidelity “it's so important to have guidelines” we went straight into the headline act.
Pete Smith and John Buckley are an instrumental guitar duo who proceeded to lay down the law with what can only be described as a monument to technical excellence. A coup here for Dave to get these two booked, as they rarely do clubs these days, being much in demand on the concert circuit.
Not being a guitar player myself (and kids, never let that small draw back get in the way of your folk career), it was plain to see that those in the audience who knew a thing or two in this department were over awed, gasping, panting and febrile….... really. Dave was heard to be muttering over and over “pure musicality, just pure musicality” or was it mescaline.
Where was that third guitar hidden? Their timings impeccable, a duo as tight as a whale sphincter (and that's bloody watertight) who bounced seemingly effortlessly off each other, note perfect for the whole set. Kicking off with “Sweet Sue”, other numbers included the self penned “Polishing Rag”, through to a magnificent version of “Summertime” and even something for the folkies “When the boat comes in”. (Click here - Sample Tracks)
Terrific and humorous banter in between numbers broke up the instrumentals well. In fact if truth be told, if you took away the music, you would have been left with an evening of great stand up.
Notwithstanding possibly the best raffle prizes on the Midlands Folk scene it was a privilege to be able to see not just one but two sets of entertainers of such a high calibre in such a small and intimate club.Next month we have half a bottle of cooking brandy, a Fureys CD and a box of Maltesers, oh yeah and Banjo Des Pearce. Be there!