Packing 'em in at the Prince Albert


Hi. Gerry here.

It was another full house at the Prince Albert with 23 of us in attendance including our resident groupies, Norma and Jennifer. A splendid time was had by all notwithstanding the persistent annoying cries of “What was that called?” and “Who wrote that?” from the bar area. With 21 participants it was a squeeze fitting us all into not only to the room but also the allotted time period. Thanks to a bit of deft management by Alan “Jools” Jackson, we managed to finish just 10 minutes or so over time, with the duos amongst the group graciously foregoing their second number in the second round. I suggest that on such nights we adopt the “X Factor” technique of butchering the songs down to one-minute pale imitations of their former selves. ( A bit of sarcasm there. Did you notice?)

The evening was started off as usual by Dick, tonight singing The Innocent Hare. Martin paid us a return visit after his début at the Belle Vue last week and I must say I am not only impressed with his musical skills and vocals but when he bought me a pint of Guinness I was completely won over. He treated us to a James Taylor cover, “One Morning in May” in which he accompanied himself on tenor guitar. Steve followed with “River Days” which he sang a cappella and with much assistance from the regulars on the chorus. Glen also paid us a return visit and gave us “One Starry Night”. I suspect that her main reason for coming along was to continue her relentless pursuit of our own Mr Frost. Kerraleigh and Martin started with “Charlie Darwin” by The Low Anthem followed by their own composition, “Rabbit in a Hat”. Karen was without Roger this week , who was “poorly” (as yous Poms say) but Steve stepped into the breach for her rendition of Dougie MacLean's “Bonnie Bessie Logan”. Roger was missed by all, not only for his excellent musicianship but also for his jokes and puns. Last week at the Belle Vue I counted ten puns that he managed to insert into the conversation. You would think that at least one of them would have gotten a laugh, but no pun in ten did. Rosie and Alan gave us a musical rendition of Captain Byng, Peg Ryans and Maids of Ardagh, followed by “It Doesn't Have to Be That Way” by Jim Croce with Rosie on vocal. Dave then gave us another demonstration of his prolific songwriting skills with “Misty Glens of the Highlands”. Delia sang “Mistletoe Bough”,a traditional song, while Stuart displayed his progress on the concertina with “Maxwell's Adieu” by J.B Graham. Tring John gave us “The Dogger Bank” , followed by myself with the second Dougie MacLean song of the night, “More Fool I”. Simon and Dave did their great version of Pink Floyd's “Wish You Were Here” with Simon on lead vocal and Dave singing harmony, followed by David Essex's's “A Winter's Tale”, Dave on lead this time. Dave's alternate guitar tuning fascinates me and a few weeks ago I commented to him after his spot that he had used an unusual tuning and asked him what it was, to which he replied: “EADGBE”. (Sorry, that's a guitarist's joke). Andy and Richard then gave us Donovan's “Gold Watch Blues” with Andy providing his usual banter between verses. Oh, and I almost forgot: Andy made a mistake. They followed it up with an Irish ballad, “Spancil Hill”. Alice, another returnee from last week finished up the first round with her lovely version of “As I Rode Out”.

The second round saw Dick singing “Man in the Moon”, which I believe was once covered by REM...or is that another song? Martin gave us another James Taylor song, “You Can Close your Eyes”, and Glen sang “Ploughboy Lads”. (I think there is a tautology in that title). Kerraleigh and Martin cheered us all up with The Handsome Family's “Weightless Again”, and Steve again accompanied Karen who sang Richard Thompson's “Crazy Man Michael”. Rosie then sang “Someday” by Steve Earle, and Dave gave us an instrumental in “Twilight” and “Weasel's Revenge”.
Delia did the second Ploughboy song of the evening with “The Ploughboy's Dream”, which was sung to the tune of hymn #51 in her hymnbook. I think. Tring John then did “The Galway Shawl” and I performed “Santa Claus” by one of England's lesser known but talented songwriters, Steve Laughlin. Simon and Dave then did the hilarious “Christmas in Australia” which is an uncannily accurate portrayal of Yuletide Down Under. I trust that the guys will roll it out again at the Christmas Party, complete with Simon's Antler hat. Roger also knows an Australian Christmas song, a poignant piece about a little boy who expresses his disappointment at not receiving his Christmas wish. Perhaps he can be persuaded to sing it for us at the Christmas party. Richard and Andy gave us a great version of Eric Clapton's song written about his then wife,Patti (aka Layla), “Wonderful Tonight”. Alice continued the contemporary feel with “Thinking Amelia” by Deb Talan and the night was completed by Quiet John with the amusing parody of “Old Time Religion”.

As most of you know, I am heading back to Australia at the end of the month and am doing so with mixed emotions. On the one hand I am sad about leaving my daughter and family behind and indeed my friends at the Marlow Bottom Acoustic Club. On the other I won't have to do this &*%$#! blog any more.

See you all at the Dog and Badger next Wednesday for the Christmas party.

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