Fab Club Sort of in the Pub
2nd February 2008
Review by Liz Montgomery

Saturday afternoon it dawned on me that our Club in the Pub on Sunday - and our guest Paul Downes - was about to be conflict with a Cup Final between Chelsea and Spurs. The main reason we have moved CITP to the third Sunday in the month is that it is typically a quiet football afternoon - so everyone can enjoy the music, but this booking still follows our old routine… oops

A rapid call to our friendly hosts at The White Hart and we were able to move the CITP into the Function Room, to the happiness of all.

We are back out on the main stage for a special CITP on 2nd March - coinciding with the Real Ale Festival at the pub - featuring a range of our own, home grown, All Star Performers… and a range of exciting guest ales too

We had another packed audience - all keen to see our returning guest. Paul was one of the first guest performers we ever had at FaBclub - and he certainly did not disappoint.

Our MCs for the afternoon are Tone Deaf Leopard - in a surfeit of leopard skin gear. The broadly trad number "Fanario" first - played on a tenor mandola "tuned like a banjo and very loud" according to Trevor. We move into more familiar Leopard territory after this with "So you want to be a folk music star" - dedicated to Paul Downes and the joys (?) and excesses of the folk musicians life. I have not heard them sing this for a while - I love the line "And next the drugs - night nurse and brandy"

Stormin Norman has his Isle of Man cap on today, and cruised in on his motorbike, parked up next to a rather south Essex chromed quad bike out front. So he has to perform TT Races - in full Formby style and then the slightly saucy Andy the Handy Man - yet another song that makes reference to the Man from the Pru…

Our guest for the afternoon gets into his first set - lots of jokes and plugs about LIDL abound (socks, Tshirt, trainers - but the shirt is from Milletts) - and a profound hatred of Plymouth rumbles through the afternoon. He is missing his motorbike, having been on the road and rehearsing for a show recently - today he has travelled down to us from Chesterfield before heading off home the 200 miles or so to Exeter.

Paul takes us on a magical journey through his acoustic repertoire - both instrumental pieces and songs trad and modern. Some self penned, others from a variety of modern sources.

- "I am the Foe" - a slightly scary song, but with a great refrain and gorgeous introduction, the lyrics have disturbing imagery of warfare. Finishes off with a really bad joke about "Da Foe" and the footie…

- "I hate the rain" - another joiny-in song, but we were a bit rubbish at joining in on the first one. FaB clubbers make more of an effort this time. This song has an interesting Mediterranean lilt

- A lovely instrumental arrangement relaxes us all (I think Turnaround and Give me your Hand) - he just makes a six string guitar sound like a whole ensemble - amazing

- "Exile" - Paul has known Steve Knightley since he was 12. This song was written by Steve Knightley when he and Phil Beer were working with exiled Chilean band Alianza. He was profoundly affected when he realised they could not go home, thanks to Mrs Thatchers friend General Pinochet, which inspired the lyrics

- Another beautiful instrumental number - "Braunton Burrows" written as the second track for the Show of Hands album "The Path", celebrating 30 years of the SW coastal path. The album takes a musical journey round the SW peninsula. This number is superbly crafted - and ends on the most delicate series of harmonics - definitely providing "the texture" that Show of Hands said they didn't have (wry grin from Mr Downes). Apparently Mike Ryan has recently written words for this, and shortly it will be appearing in this new form. Watch out for the new albums which should be really exciting (one with Mick Ryan and one with Phil Beer)

- Something more local now, possibly even collected in Leigh - "Peggy and the Soldier" with a bit of adultery and wifebeating, in good trad stylee. Great syncopated arrangement

- Finishing the first set graciously we are treated to "Long way to go", a lilting, wistful, lyrical lullaby of a song.

Time for a quick catch up on the footie and Chelsea are currently in the lead …all will change as the afternoon goes on
Back to the music and TDL open up with a pocket soap opera of a song "Salt of the Earth" - although they also treat us to a bit of a domestic - dear me who opened the cage this afternoon? All in good fun (er I think)

Jo Migdal treats us to a new song "Star Trails" - about star dust, eternity, love and paths to the future (oo-er) - or possibly just growing old. I do hope this will be on the new album., Jo "Chances" was inspired by Jo's mother in-law apparently - I haven't heard this song for ages and it has such a lovely refrain… "Let your dreams unfold, turn silver into gold" and the whole room is quietly singing along

Bill has a bit of an "out" T shirt on today and gets thoroughly teased by TDL for it. In revenge Bill performs "The Roseville Fair" a capella, supported by John Stafford on harmonica (in G??) and harmonies. Next is a song about Leylines . For some reason I wrote down a reference to "Death in Vegas" in my notes - Even tho I like this band (yep I'm not your traditional folkie) they bear absolutely no relevance what so ever to this great song. I must ask Bill about it properly next time I see him!

We manage to get John Stafford on stage - and plugged in too - with his own inimitable rendition of "House of the Rising Sun"

Me on next - with a rerun of "Growing Old Disgracefully" - which is bedding in a bit now, and which I am still editing and reordering. Then "Oh my haven't they changed" as there are some new visitors in the room….

Back to our guest - and our landlady Ben has managed to escape the work in the bar and join us too. Paul gives us a second set which is even better than the first (and an encore too…)

- The Rose in the Thorn - written by Mike Lennon (met in Plymouth but it's Ok he comes from Liverpool originally) - a beautiful picture of the seasons

- A complete change in pace with that lovely Bobby Gentry bluesy number "Ode to Billy Jo" with almost everyone in the room seeming to know the words by heart

- This really well paced set now provides that lovely instrumental "Driving at the Moon" - written in celebration of seeing a lunar eclipse while driving east on the M26 (sounds unlikely but the result is magical)

- We move from Kent to Mozambique- a real world tour this afternoon. "Like the coming rains" documents a slightly alarming journey across Mozambique

- A LIDL tune next (boom boom) - Angi and Cocaine Lil - good time tunes indeed

- The next number was one that I really fell in love with when Paul visited us last time; "The Moth - a modern love song - someone has put a decent recording of most of this number on YouTube from Ely last week if you want to catch this number again

- To round off the afternoon - a lovely Alex Campbell song "I've been travelling the road so long". Amazing to think Alex Campbell died 10 years ago.

And we manage to persuade Paul to an encore. For this he switches to Mandolin (or possibly another Mandolo - pardon my ignorance) for a rousing version of "Come and be a soldier" with full FaBclub support.

What a great afternoon - thanks to all who performed, to TDL for MC'ing, for Jo on mixing desk, and to our special guest Paul Downes