FaBclub review
7th September2008
written by
Liz Montgomery

Welcome back to our new season - And we are joined by friends new and old for a packed house. It may be raining outside (already) but it's definitely cosy and warm inside with Jo and Bill performing a double hander of compering.

Our dynamic duo of Bernard and Maureen though today are performing solo. BERNARD kicks off in fine form with a lovely lament on the concertina - "The Leaving of Lismore" - followed by a jaunty little shanty number

MAUREEN brings us some very cheeky stories causing much cheer - where does she get them from?!

And now FaBClub virgins - JOHN EASON and MARGARET BRANGWN, although not new to the local folk scene. John introduces a song that he wrote when he was 17 (just a few years ago)called "The Glowworm and the Star" - but this is the first time they have ever performed the song. Another first for FaBClub I think too is that Margaret is playing an extraordinary instrument called a Bowed Psaltery to John's guitar. The Bowed Psaltery provides an eerie and lovely harmony to the intro and instrumental parts of the number. The song is about thwarted teenage love. But to provide the balance is a song to love - of beer - a dual hander unaccompanied number shared in answer and response between MARGARET and JOHN which is very jolly and tees up some chorus participation from the audience. "Drinking Beer" Lovely!

It's always good to welcome RON and his beautiful Gibson guitar, and he serenades us with some of his very personal arrangements which are strongly C&W influenced - in my view all the best of C&W. His style is so easy. "Keep on loving you" and a reflective George Jones number "Choices"

Everyone is now on top form including JO JO who gets us singing along with a two word chorus "Believe me"… to a very animated version of "Ain't misbehavin'"

A great return to FaBClub for MIKE CHAPMAN who last visited us when we were at the Orsett Cock. We are treated to yet another gorgeous guitar and some relaxing but phenomenally technical and accomplished jazz numbers that take me back to dreamy drifty summers.

BILL PARDON rounds off the first half….he kicks us off with a story about his experiences at Southend Poets group this week with Dennis Aherne involving metaphysical poets….it has triggered some thoughts for Bill - about his relationship with life - from a new perspective. "If life was a woman" - some deep and reflective stuff here - quite profound. And then that old favourite (sorry about the pun) "We are the Wrinklies" - especially topically as now it is official that the over 60s outnumber the rest of us…

And back on with the show - what an afternoon - next it's super stuff from PAUL STEEL as ever with his unique voice and stunning fingerwork - "Rockin Chair", and "Sam Stone". (thanks for the spelling Paul - Sierra, Alpha, Mike…) Both songs with different underlying tales, but both are very moving ballads, and with great arrangements.

DEBBIE ANN brings us one of Gordon's more recent poems "If Dr Seuss prescribed antibiotics" - a wonderful piece of writing and a brilliant performance from Debbie as always.

Bill takes over compere now as it is JO's turn to play for us. Jo has a poorly wrist today (don't ask - just imagine) so is just doing the one number -a Barry Dransfield number. "Where my girl dances"

What a line up today -ALAN NEVILLE sings about oncewere rebels/heroes - who are now bastions of society "Those were the days … and these are the knights of the realm…" Witty and pithy as ever this number truly rocks along. Then one my favourites a great unaccompanied number "The First Emperor" - inspired by the Terracotta Army Exhibition at the British Museum recently. As you all know "you can't make an army from clay"…

So now be a little bit fearful its TONE DEAF LEOPARD - apparently the new catch phrase is "A glimpse of sanity in a mad world" - watch out for the new T-shirts, folks. A Tom Paxton(-ish) song called "Not tonight Marie" kicks off the TDL contribution in full 3D. And a Lieber and Stoller (Lovie and Sweetcakes according to Trev - which is roughly a correct translation in reality) song has inspired "Love Potion No 2" - much singing along from the crew… and loads of laughs

MIKE CHAPMAN gives us another lovely couple of numbers before he has to leave. Such beautiful jazz guitar arrangements. He makes them look and sound so easy but I am sitting close enough to see they are not..!

PHIL brings us a whole lotta blues. First some left handed bottleneck blues (actually stainless steel dinner knife but it does not have the same ring but it does have a right sound) kicking off with a bit of religion "Hush Hush" by the famous T.rad. Then some Orleans Penitentiary blues - in fact the title is "Viola Lee" - never mentioned in the song, like most blues numbers!!

Following the wonderful FaBClub raffle - the lovely FIONA McBAIN and STEVE O'KANE have joined us fresh from their session in Hornchurch. "Make mine a miracle" was written by Steve when travelling in the US - such a beautiful and also sad song. Steve has dug out an old song called "Piggy in the middle" which he wrote for a policeman friend - an appreciation of their work - and also a great rock number…

I provide an updated verson of the "Chanson du Salon" which is now Bleu (having started off Violette then turning Jaune) - the poem I wrote in English and French for FaBClub and its friends. I am embarrassed to be performing in today's company

John and Margaret step up for a reprise - more amazing music on Bowed Psaltery and guitar. "Banks of the Dee" written by Jack Elliot - a skilfully arranged and performed number about the colliery man being made redundant.

And to round off a revival of the famous FaBClub performance at the Thurrock Beer Festival with "Cigareets and Whisky and Wild Wild Women" followed by an even more anarchic version of "Goodnight Irene"

What a start to the season - jazz, blues, C&W, modern and traditional folk, songs and tunes and jokes - old and new friends - stories and laughter - the perfect FaBclub afternoon for me