FaBclub review
18th July 2010
written by
Liz Montgomery


Today we welcome Maggie Sand and Sandragon - a real treat for FaBclub friends and aficionados, and one that I have definitely been looking forward to for ages.

Bill is MC today. We have volunteered him at short notice.. but he is very game (Big ** Thank you ** Bill). He opens up with the beautiful and sad "Silver Dagger" ; and a traditional sounding Cornish song "In Zennor" - actually written by Bill himself.

More jolly traditional fayre with Mike on piano accordian - "I'm a rover/seldom sober" then into a "Wassail".

Next into a MacGuinness song "The Craic was 90 in the Isle of Man" - from Paul B of course - and "Rich folk hoax" - an interesting modern ballad written by Jesus Rodriquez.

Our first set from Maggie and Sandragon is focused on traditional folk. What a treat!

"The Rosebud in June". Lovely vocals and a wonderful summer mix of guitar, flute, and recorder - breaking into hurdy-gurdy and harmonium for a medieval ending. Keeping the flow they move into a song that was apparently the first tune collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in Essex - a gorgeous lilting arrangement followed by "Lower down the broom" - which is a Victorian song - about lovers meeting, mostly illicitly. Next a tune to lead people in or out of things like feasts or battle.. with a little medieval twist again - just don't let anyone tell you that folk music is quiet - for this one all instruments were running on 11! More sweet singing with "Dance to to your Daddy" - flute and that trickiest of instruments, the oboe, provide great richness. "If I were a blackbird" is about falling in a love with a sailor, and, of course, the sailor goes off to sea…A joyful song about "Nancy my dear" - there is some pondering about whether anyone outside a folk song is really called Nancy (we discover Paul B's mum is!) and Sandragon are tuning into the extractor fan at this point - which is apparently humming in A flat. And they round off the lovely first section with "The three Scottische" - not at all Scottish - French dance tunes in fact.

Into the second half.. with Joe opening up on autoharp and "The Three Poachers" and ever creative with an Appalachian dulcimer to accompany "Up to now"

Mike gets us singing along to "The water is wild" - such sad words to this. He is really into the swing this afternoon and takes us into "The Lord of the dance".

A request from Len for Paul B..that wonderful Fairport Convention song "Meet me on the ledge" - oh dear that song, always makes me cry (R.I.P. Sandy Denny) .. and more Richard Thompson with a storming version of "Vincent Black Lightning '52"

After the bumper FaBclub raffle it is back to the second set from Sandragon - "The longer it is the more I like it" although actually written in Middle English about a groovy Winchester (clearly the place to be at the time). What an amazing band this is - with hurdy gurdy, and interesting stringed three stringed instruments, flutes and recorders. The band are introduced with all their instruments - a whole range of recorders, oboes, flutes and a bassoon. A discussion ensues about Ivor the Engine (only remembered by the older ones of us).

Sandragon always have fascinating material - next is a really compelling song written in middle Spanish - the translation is "When we pay homage to the Virgin". Then they try and teach us some dances - thank you Bernard and Maureen, Bill and Kathy, LizM and Paul, and our coach Mark with Maggie.

A lovely medieval tune called tune called "The voice of the mountain" to round off the afternoon. FaBulous! And we manage to persuade them to do an encore of course "La petite fille".. another French traditional tune.

Thank you Maggie Sand and Sandragon and our other performers -a high quality and entertaining afternoon.