17th February 2008.
Review writer Clive Meggs
It is a cold but sunny day outside. People are arriving fast and the
performer's list is being passed. We have no compere or review
writer. I am asked to lose my virginity and become a review writer
for the first time, so here goes….
Liz steps aside from the reviewers chair and becomes our compere
for the afternoon. One day she will be allowed to take the afternoon
off and just enjoy the show. She tells us about forthcoming events
including the club in the pub session next week featuring Paul
Downes….can't wait! She treats us to an old favourite poem entitled
Shoes, always nice to hear.
Next up are Bernard and Maureen. Maureen insulted my bum as I
was standing in the way, arranging for Linda to take the
photographs. Bernard is minus his organ this week (must be
painful). They play two sets of tunes and I notice that feet are
beginning to tap. They are playing all the right notes but not
necessary in the right places, according to Bernard. Sounded great to
Trevor and Sue, Tone Deaf Leopard, are welcomed back after being
poorly and confined to their enclosures for a couple of weeks. Their
first song, The Last Bucaneer, comes from a poem written by Charles
Kingsley in 1858. It is a quiet ballad well sung by Trevor and totally
untypical of the usual leopard style. Sue shows off her new stick held
up in the Christmas post. Can't wait to hear the rhythms it conjures
up. Trevor tells us the next song, Don't stop the carnivore, was
inspired whilst watching a nature programme. I suppose that would
be enough to make any leopard hungry.
The next singer, Ben, is introduced by Liz as the master of modern
folk. His first song, Bid you goodnight, was written by Joseph
Spence in the 1930's. It is a delicate, quiet ballad with exquisite
guitar work, confidently sung. In complete contrast his second song,
Hesitation Blues, was rather more upbeat and bluesy but there was
certainly no hesitation in this performance. Ben is improving by the
week. Great talent for a person so young, (makes you sick.)
Break for recharging glasses and stretching legs. No chocolate cake
Liz opens the second session with a new poem called Growing Old
Disgragefully, written in 3 parts to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of
the fabclub. It wasn't ready 2 weeks ago in time for the event, but
she gives it to us today. Well up to your usual high standard, Liz.
Bill Pardon takes a long way round to the stage, without a hat. He
sings a joining in song with with a refrain called Song of the Dengy.
It is about a woman named Mrs Hart, who stole a church bell, and
dragged it across the fields. My kind of woman! The next song is a
Cornish Legend about a woman called Sarah Polgrain who hung
herself and became a ghost. Her suitor, Jack, wanted to marry her
while she was alive but had to drown before she would wed him.
What kind of mind thinks up these stories? I suppose it is folk
though. Both songs sung with the usual powerful verve of our regular
Len and John come to the stage together to perform what they insist
is an unrehearsed duet. A bluesy number written by Robert Johnson
called Love in vain. Len on the guitar with John improvising on the
mouth organ. I cannot resist getting one of my rattles out. Great
Bernard and Maureen come to the front again and play a set of foot
tapping tunes. All the rattly bits are handed round and become
evident in the background. For their second number the audience
choose a story from Maureen. Perhaps they have worn themselves
out with all the energy expended in the rattles. The story brings
great laughter and leads us into the second break.
The raffle is drawn and as usual I win naff all.
Liz gives us a poem she says she wrote the first time off, and has
done little to it since. It is called Oh my haven't they changed, and
all persons are real but the names have been changed to protect the
innocent. This is one of my favourite poems, and Liz reads it
differently each time. I always seem to find something new at each
Bill (no hats) returns to the stage next and gives us a tour of Essex.
He firstly sings the Boggy banks of Tilbury which invokes the
audience to join in with percussion. Next he sings The man from the
Pru, a humorous tale about an insurance collector. He finishes with
Southend Pier, a song about the fire on Southend pier nonetheless.
He returns to his seat dropping his flyers.
Ben is on next and references are made to the flowerpot men, where
on earth is little weed? He sings a little known Richard Thompson
song entitled God loves a drunk, followed by a Tom Paxton song
called The Last thing on my mind. Ben is building up quite a
Fabclub's answer to both Neil Young and the Beatles (Len) is on
next starting with a rendition of Norwegian Wood followed by two
Neil Young songs, The needle and the damage done and I believe in
you. Great stuff Len!
Tone Deaf Leopard finish off the afternoon in tremendous style.
The first song, believed to have been written by Henry VIII is
Greensleeves, but not how you know it. The timing is completely
different and the tune is not the same. Trevor really is becoming a
crooner. This is not what you would expect from the Leopards but is
nevertheless very enjoyable. I notice that Sue's new stick is very
controlled in the background. Back to what we expect from the
Leopards with the next song. A Donovan number adapted by Trevor
with a muppet flavour. Called Hurdy Gurdy, these words become the
chorus as sung by the Swedish Chef in the muppets. Sue becomes
very excited and nearly falls off her chair. The duo are joined by
John Stafford and Bill Pardon for the last number, Cigarettes and
Whiskey and wild, wild women. This has a very joiny-in chorus and
is an excellent song to round off what has been a great afternoon's