FaBclub Review
27th April 2008
Written by Liz Montgomery


It's a beautiful afternoon, inside and outside. Sue Leopard is MC'ing

That (in)famous duo "Mumbling Len Turner and Big Ben Thompson" get the afternoon going with their very own rendition of "Red Hot" (as in them hot tamales) to raise the heat even further.

JoJo follows with a Buddy Holly classic "Raining in my heart" - but demands no photos - so you can't see how spruce she was looking

Bernard and Maureen take us into traditional territory, their medleys on concertina and guitar redolent of salt and spring, capstans and morris. No family disputes today tho….

Bill Pardon, who, according to Sue takes Essex boy to new heights, provides us with a great new song he has been working on with Nick Silvey. Called "The Mouseman of Kilburn" - the words provide us with some deep thoughts about the nature of craftsmanship and how ideas often long outlive their creators. It is inspired by the little carved mouse on the Robert Thompson's Craftsmen oak furniture created under the shadow of the Kilburn White Horse in Yorkshire. A lovely piece. He then provides us with a grown up song about ladies of very dubious dispositions….

Loosely based on a well known number by that popular composer "Trad", Tone Deaf Leopard perform "It will no be long love til our Washing day", giving a new light on some modern (or in the light of Pantomime tradition and Shakespearian actors, perhaps not so modern) outcomes of laundry challenged cross dressing…

Yay - FaB Club virgin time - in fact we have two FaB Club virgins today, which is great. Lizzie B joins us, still on crutches after a recent hip upgrade - and demonstrates another example of the amazing range of wealth of performing talent in Essex today. Lizzie starts her contribution with "Beautiful", and then follows this up with what she describes as the rudest song she knows about men being disappointing and unreliable - "Plasticine Man". Lovely vocals, subtle lyrics and an easy and accomplished guitar style.. we look forward to Lizzie perfoming more for us later on in the afternoon too.

After the first break, I trundle up and perform "Seasons" - the choice of which is inspired today by the wealth of cowslips in my garden, and then "Oh my - haven't they changed " - both oldies but they seem to be popular still. Must write some new stuff.

Ben steps up to the plate and draws on his ever expanding repertoire. Today "Sweet Baby Jane", that tremendous James Taylor penned number and then fine picking on that great number "Hesitation Blues". Ben always lights on songs with such interesting lyrics that suit his vocal style.

Our second FaB club virgin steps up to the plate - welcome Micca, who is definitely in the FaB club mould! He opens up with the highly entertaining "The Hash my Father scored" - yes, it is set to the tune of "The sash my father wore" - he tells us he once performed this in Ireland, with (almost) very interesting results…..Then another provocative performance developed in a songwriting workshop which had instilled in him that the title and first line must be the declarative statement about the song. "My Grandfather hated the Germans" is a veritable oral history of WW1 and the combatants who survived.

Performers take a second turn around interspersed with parish notices and the famous FaB club raffle.

TDL with a slight rework of the Dylan number -"The Swans on the River" written originally to reflect the superficiality of life and goings on, and updated to include Foot and Mouth, Al Qaeda, Angel of Mercy nurses, bodies in the garden, Then "Salt of the Earth" - a clever observation of local lives, a sort of mini soap opera. I'm a great fan of TDL - their words and (re) arrangements are very very sharp.
JoJo follows up with the fruits of her recent email researches - "Three things I want" only performed once before at HFC
Maureen and Bernard restore domestic harmony with some more sweet medleys on concertina and guitar, then Maureen follows up with a maestro performance of "Petty the Snake" - it's just so funny - I don't know (a) how she gets through it without any mis-steps or (b) how she keeps a straight face when performing it
Self proclaimed grumpy old man Bill Pardon contributes "Face on the water" - about when a little fleet sailed from Newlyn to Parliament to fight fishing village slum clearance and "Sexual Repression" (maybe I should rephrase that??) with lots of opportunity for us to join in (with the chorus not the sexual repression, that is)
I chip in with "A thousand things" and that old faithful "Shoes" - its always good to have new faces at FaB as the old stuff can get dusted down and brought out to play
Ben provides more skilful fret and fingerwork with "Brand new Panama Hat" and the lovely "Bees Wing" - one of the most perfect Richard Thompson ballads
Lizzie B is back with more of her lovely stuff next (see www.lizzieb.co.uk or http://www.myspace.com/lizziebmusic for more about Lizzie). She's brought along copies of her new EP too - "Living on the edge of my dreams". She claims she has Les Dawson fingers today (but then we all know that Les Dawson really could play….) A haunting and sad end of love song (Got you "Out of my Head") and then the title song to the EP.
To round off the afternoon Micca provides more of his idiosyncratic and entertaining songs: "Into the West End of Hayes" - a curious story of a flat moggy and a return to the WW1 battlefield with "All Hallows Eve in Flanders". The latter song is a tribute to the 73,353 missing soldiers named on the imposing Sir Edwin Lutyens designed memorial in Thiepval in northern France; the moving idea at the centre of the song is that the souls of the lost return to their home on All Hallows Eve. A deeply emotive song, so bittersweet. Like the ending of Blackadder Goes Forth - which always makes me cry.

And to round off the afternoon what more could we want than "Cigareets and Whusky and Wild wild women" from TDL and the assembled masses….

FaB fun at FaBclub as usual!!