Three times around The Belle Vue


We had a smaller turnout than usual at The Belle Vue this week. However, it did enable us to get three turns each, which is getting unusual these days. We didn’t even have a raffle.

The evening coincided with the Radio 2 Folk Awards, on which Nanci Griffith was presented with a lifetime achievement award. If she’d turned up at The Belle Vue, we could have presented her with a special award for her contribution to Steve’s repertoire - he sings at least six songs he learned from her playing. His first contribution this evening was Nanci’s own Talk To Me While I’m Listening, to which Rosie added some fine harmonies. I think this might find its way into a certain band’s set list soon. His other songs were Sleepless Sailor and Unison in Harmony.

We’re seeing Martin pretty regularly now, and getting used to his guitar being tuned a semi-tone down. This apparently isn’t to fend off the melodeonists (understandable though that might be), but to suit his voice. I particularly enjoyed his version of Robert Johnson’s Malted Milk. We’re used to hearing his other two songs sung by others – Fire and Rain by Gerry and Killing the Blues by Rosie.

David left his guitar at home and brought along the heavy artillery – the bouzouki. This was specifically to accompany Simon on Steve Knightley’s The Galway Farmer, but also worked for Games People Play and the tunes Steamboat/Staffordshire. We also heard more of David’s apparently bottomless repertoire: Dick Gaughan’s Flourish on Both Side the Tweed, Nic Jones’ Candee-i-o (lots of words here!) and the lovely slip jig, The Butterfly.

The Guardian recently published a contribution from Rosie recently – they’d had a list of the 50 best TV dramas and omitted fantastic The Edge of Darkness from the 80’s. Rosie pointed out the error of their ways. In case you didn’t see it, it was a 6 hour long tense and brooding thriller about the nuclear industry starring Bob Peck and Joanne Whalley. It’s now been made into a movie starring Mel Gibson, which was never going to work. The Sunday Independent described it as having no edge and little darkness. As well as having a theme by Eric Clapton, the original featured Willie Nelson’s Time of the Preacher as part of the plot so we thought that this would a good song to do this week. Other songs were Dream a Little Dream of Me and Richard Thompson’s Walking On a Wire. Our tunes were O’Carolan’s Welcome, Musical Priest / Star of Munster and Teahan’s Favourite / Maggie in the Woods.

Dick Gaughan has also recorded Ewan McColl’s (AKA Jimmy Miller) Sweet Thames Flow Softly, which was Terry’s first number. He followed that with Jez Lowe’s Nearer to Nettles and The Songs They are A Changing. You can read Terry’s mudcat post about this here.

Richard was Andy-less and gave us Captain O’Kane / Plantxy Kelly on the recorder, the slow airs Johnny Armstrong / Northern Lass on the low whistle and then sang Ramble Away.

The current guest beer at The Belle Vue is Theakston’s Old Peculier. John C ordered a pint, and then felt obliged to sing Keith Marsden’s song dedicated to the said beer. He was obviously in a drinking mood, because his other number was the boozing parody of Men of Harlech.

Dick (who always starts the evening, but seems to end up near the bottom of my posts) was on good form, with Hares on a Mountain, Limehouse Lass, She Loved a Portuguese and Fathom the Bowl.

We’re at the Prince Albert in Frieth next week, where the turnout is often in inverse proportion to the space available. Get there early for a good seat.

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