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
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
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
FaB fun at FaBclub as usual!!