FaBclub review
17th July 2011
written by
Kathy Migdal

Norman Faulkner kicked off with 'TT Races' by George Formby, on ukelele. Our guest admired the clarity of his ukelele sound. Norman then played 'Save the last dance for me' with his inimitable style and panache. He always leaves us wanting more.

Joe Migdal then played a love song called 'Loving you can be so easy'. How love can change one's life. It was dedicated to me (note same surname:)
He then continued with reflections about holidays on the Isles of Scilly: his song 'Nature's Wonderland'. Lots of boat trips to difference islands seeing beautiful blue seas, golden beaches and birds and bees.

'Show me' sung smoothly and confidently by Helen Islip with nice rhythm guitar.
Followed by a song written by Helen called 'The Waiting Game' about waiting for the telephone to ring with offers of temporary work whilst her children were young and the uncertainty of not knowing when it would happen. I'm sure that strikes a chord with many.

Anthony John Clarke then took the stage for his first set. He started with a funny story about getting older and then sung a song written by wife Julia about it not being worth arguing.'there's no use us arguing now'(echoes of Paul Simon in the guitar, as mentioned by himself Anthony John)

Then a song about travelling, followed by a song about losing things: women, religion, heart, dog……. and how they can be lost.

A love song this time, 'You're my only Valentine' How you can't count all the times and words it's felt.

A nostalgic song next, but with a hoedown rhythm, closed the first half.

Anthony John gave us a wealth of funny and sometimes bittersweet stories about life, travelling and topical issues. Made the audience feel important and made us laugh. Hope we did the same for him.


Second half resumed with Les Elvin playing a slightly country version of Gypsy Davy using finger-picking style on steel strung guitar. Next he sang 'Dagger through the heart' with some melodic mouth organ. John Stafford joined in with some decoration, so we had mouth organs in harmony. (I know the afficianado's call them harps)

Margaret Brown played by 'Keep Fit' by George Formby. Mentioned it may not be the most popular song because of the subject matter. 'Midnight Special' followed next and we all joined in with gusto.

Trevor Barham 'Bloke in the hat' was persuaded to borrow a guitar and played us: Take me down to the River' with a bluesy tinge. 'The Sun shines over Romford' followed and was much appreciated. An old favourite from Trevor about the feelings which make the world look sunny, and mundane places exotic.

The Raffle followed. There were several people who had tried out the miniature Djembe earlier.

Anthony John Clarke rejoined us with a song by Stanley Acrington about census forms and civil servants and the amazing statistics collected by them. Although the facts are interesting and unusual, the particular town in the song was just an ordinary town.

Then a comic autobiographical number in ragtime style about all the things a singer song-writer writes about. 'I want to know what brings you here tonight.'

Then 'That's Life.' - advice from Dolores, a dialogue in song. Things happen. Take it slow.
(Apparently someone mooned at the back of the room during this song. The artist said he hadn't seen that happen in a Folk Club before)

Then a song mentioning Ernest Shackleton, a hero of his time and a loyal shipmate, and the worth of items in exchange, not just money.

Anthony John's wife Julia sang a song from 1981 called 'Martin' in a great cockney accent, and AJ played ukelele.. A Cockney pop song sung from the point of view of Martin's sister. A dodgy bloke who went to prison after nicking cars, but she loved him anyway.

Celebration of finding Pitlochry: 'It was raining on the day we found Pitlochry'.
Mention of salmon, trees, good clothes, rain, woodland conjured up a clear picture. John Stafford added some special touches. Julia joined in on piano accordion in true Scottish style to play a waltz variation on the tune.

Then a song requested by Norman. 'Spray a little perfume on my shoes tonight.'

Story about dalmation dribbling on his sandwiches kept us amused.

Song about learning the best poem in the world. Songs you leave behind you when you're gone, and about being remembered. Your words go out into the world.

The afternoon went so quickly, with a joyful feel. We heard many anecdotes from Anthony John Clarke about all the interesting people and things he's come across on his travels, and the amusing nuances of daily life. The transitions between songs and stories were seamless. We also enjoyed his expert guitar playing and the sweet tones of his mini Martin guitar, and ukelele too.