Fabclub review
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 me.

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 this week.

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 guest, Bill.

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 stuff!

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 reading.

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 repertoire now.

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 entertainment.