22nd March 2009
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
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
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
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.