FaBclub review
22nd March 2009
written by
Liz Montgomery



It is a beautiful Mothers Day afternoon and Maureen is in charge. Sadly TDL have broken down on the way here today so its down to me to do the review again this week. Maureen regales us with a cheeky story about Mother Superior.

As Ken has gone walkabouts somewhere, Paul Steele starts our afternoon with some of his emotional songs. "The song of the wandering Aengus" by William Butler Yeats is a super arrangement full of verbal and musical delicacy and imagery. His second number features lots of lovely use of harmony and harmonics: "Cleaning windows" - most definitely not by George Formby - it is actually by George Ivan Morrison (Van Morrison to you and me - you nearly got me Paul!); super songs for a spring day.

Ken has found his Pam Ayres book again. "The Battery Hen" is a pithily observed rhyme about industrialised farming. And the classic musical number - "Somewhere over the rainbow" - which really suits Ken's lovely tenor voice.

On to Dennis - who is treating us to some reflective new songs. A nocturne - as it was written one evening, apparently in just half an hour. "Dialogue with a dream", and a song which is about sticking to your beliefs, which has a strong spiritual refrain at the end.

Another guitar treat from Len. A Neil Young favourite to start off - "Alabama" - although Len is worried that it should be heavy and electric - but it is absolutely fine as an acoustic number. And then gets the FaBclub choir singing along to "Hide your love away"

Steve O'Kane is doing some new stuff for us as well. A song/poem hybrid called "Play it again Sam" with some interesting reflections on filmic and spiritual aspects of life and death. And a more familiar one - the beautiful love song "You make it easy" - what a first section to the afternoon.

I finish off the first half with "February Song" and then "Le Chanson du Salon FaB" as Claudine is here. It started out as the Salon Violette but this is now the Salon Bleu - as they keep repainting the room!

Claudine brings us an extended set for the beginning of the second part "There was" opens with a little intro to the coast just to the south of San Francisco and other parts of the western US; "Soon" a love song with Steve O'Kane supporting on guitar (and vocal harmony) on this number; "After midnight" - inspired by a disturbing moment in US suburban life- not everyone has money. This was much stronger than the earlier versions I've seen Claudine perform as really it is a sort of recitative and works well as a two hander with Steve. A chorus song for us all to join in with next: "I will find you". Claudine brings us an old favourite which she wrote when we were still based at the Orsett Cock - "Start a fight". A much more recent song is "I'll be gone tomorrow" which Claudine wrote when she left the US for all her friends there. And the end of this sequence is Claudine's number about her initial journeys about the UK- "The Calling" - long time Fabclub regulars will remember she used to get us to guess what the places were!

Joe Migdal is up next. We really are doing well for guitar accompanied songs this afternoon - unusually he does two covers this week "Another man's wife" by Jez Lowe - and "May you never" by John Martin

Our final set is opened by Brian who has not visited for a while. He is mostly singing with a group of shanty singers now. He brings his rich voice to bear on "Anderson's Coast" which is about the early days of Australia, and an escaped convict - and gets the FaBclub joining in with the chorus very quickly. And unaccompanied "The farewell shanty" as it is nearly the end of the afternoon. So go and look out The Hogeyemen website.

A tremendous afternoon continues with John Stafford on top form and a return to St Patricks Day - with a passionate version of "Oh Danny Boy" .Some blues to follow up…with a rocking version of "Swing low sweet chariot"

Mark and his purple guitar with another brand new song "My car won't start" -a first for the afternoon - Essex man car blues…really funny and absolutely brilliant. Yay and he does that old fave "The dog song" - you have to hear it to believe it

And to round off the afternoon Brian gets us singing shanties again. "The Edison Light" Which has lots of audience participation.

Tremendous afternoon - and thank you for great compering Maureen.