FaBclub review
19th October 2008
written by
Liz Montgomery

This afternoon is compered by the Leopards with a good crowd in the pool bar of the White Hart. Snapped by Bill - "The Camera Never Lies" is their opening number - a tribute to the Paparazzi.

We've guests all the way from New York - Steve Suffett and Anne Price - and they are just recovering from Friday Folk in Orpington to join us here this afternoon in Sunny downtown Grays. So Trevor treats them to his version of the American murder ballad " Down by the banks of the Ohio" - rearranged in C minor of course… I'm sure Trevor is getting more and more psychotic in his arrangement and performance of this number… scary…

Norman and his banjolele sparkle onto the stage next…"The Wigan Boat Express" chugs along - all good fun stuff beautifully sung and performed as usual and a bit more cheeky nostalgia with "Guarding the Home Guards Home". Great Formby numbers not often performed

Rocking Bob rocks his way from the floor with "Million dollar baby" and "Are you lonesome tonight", with John on the harmonica, and gets everyone singing along to the choruses.

The first set from Steve Suffett and Anne Price hovers into view. They take us on a veritable tour of the US in geography and style of songs… A strong double hander to open the set - "Going down to Tampa" - not near New York. Then they move onto "The Santa Fe Trail". Next onto "The Unquiet Grave" (alt. title Jimmy Whalen) - beautifully performed unaccompanied by Anne. Then uptempo with Steve into Cisco Bay - and a first for FaBclub (or at least for me at FaBclub?) Anne on Kazoo... and that old favourite, shakers. Back to the Mississippi for a song that Anne first saw Maria Muldaur perform. Into the mountains for a mine disaster number…"can you hear that steam whistle blow…."; and more mining then with a song about strip mining in Kentucky. Steve explains the history of sale of mineral rights in the US and the disastrous environmental consequences when the rights are exercised many years later. The tone gets more industrial with John Henry and his hammer - the story of a steel driving man. They round off the set with a Peggy Seager song "When will the good times roll?" - appropriate for these days of financial crises .. and then we get back on the tour around the country with the FFV- all about the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad which had a terrible safety record

The second part is about to start with the Leopards - a song about something they overheard and featuring the second kazoo of the afternoon as well as Sue is on beerglass, teaspoon and shaker ….the title - "I'm not as homosexual as I used to be!".. you heard it first from TDL

Jo Migdal- how do you follow TDL? By a total change of pace, of course. Today he's on a standard 6 string…with a lovely arrangement of a Barry Dransfield number about the loss of the Hastings fishing fleet due to the introduction of restrictions by the government - "Sea anymore"

Bill Pardon makes a grand entrance onstage through the cabling….and performs "Fifteen times a night" as they say - for those of you that have heard the song, you'll know it's not what you think it's about ;-) Tut tut, it's all in your mind. And a song by Hodges and Peacock (Chas and Dave to the rest of us) to partner this one…a bit of a classy love song this one - not necessarily what you would associate with these writers.

Some good new songs from Helen..(well new to me anyway) .."Time to kill" by Maggie Holland ..a ballad with lovely words - and "All things are quite silent" - a song about the pressgangs which Helen first heard performed by Steeleye Span. What a range of songs we are getting this afternoon!

And now Margaret (aka Lady Formby) arrives on stage with not one but two ukeleles….but neither of them are Formby numbers. Just to prove the ukulele is such a versatile instrument it's "Island in the sun"… and a Lonnie Donnegan number "Sweet sixteen/putting on the style" supported by the FaBclub choir

A bumper raffle this week with six prizes…and back to our lovely guest artistes…. we have quite a high body count in the songs already this afternoon, and it continues to rise.. but more slowly.

A lovely ballad to kick off - "My flower, my companion and me " I think… great harmony from Steve supporting Anne's lead vocals…and a segue on the floral theme with the classic "Roseville Fair" - a request from the audience. Into an amazing prison gang song which gets the FaBClub choir on voice again.

Individual songs from Anne and Steve next. Anne kicks off with a cowboy song - the atmospheric "Oh bury me not on the lone prairie".
The riposte from Steve is "High ballad man" - a fun collage of lines from Woody Guthrie and many places elsewhere; And a song based on 1820s California - the Monterey peninsula pre malls and automobiles and still very heavily influenced by the original Spanish colonisation (and more dead bodies and dead lovers).

Another cowboy song from Anne to close off the main set - "The rivers of Texas" and some of those rivers are pretty challenging to fit in the lines but it works..

And we coax them out for an encore.. A real Woody Guthrie song this time - a peace song - "Bugle call for peace" and closing up with a runaway slave song. "Run children run".

Thank you so much Anne and Steve for lovely sets and for the background intros that helped us understand more about these songs.. and to all our other floor singers today….