Sunday, 22 December 2013

Fairytale Of New York (Cover)

Merry Christmas Everyone. Did this last year a bit of an improvement this time round. Could hardly do an F chord or swap around.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

3 Song W3dn3sday

Believe it or not the first one is a Christmas Song.

1. River - Joni Mitchell - Blue
2. Shot Of Life - Franc Cinelli - I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight
3. Rita Payne - Don't Misuse Me - Stories From A Suitcase

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Rita Payne & Lizzie Goddard

I saw two acts on Saturday Courtesy of ScunnyMusic. Another wonderfully ambient, intimate, little gig and this time there was food put on as well, chilli and nibbles (doubly good because it didn't run up against my stupid dairy allergy like buffets usually do, major kudos, at least from me.) I should have given them the credit for the Brooks Williams gig but I didn't understand the set up then.

Lizzie Goddard

The first act was Lizzie Goddard a young lass from Gainsborough. Pretty face, big hair, but I noticed none of this because of her amazing guitar - A Black Yamaha APX 500. Yeah I know, I know! What do you mean you don't know. (#whisper#  its the same as my guitar except mines a sunburst) Yeah. So obviously a young lady of taste and distinction.

She had a great voice, it was massive, and the songs she put out were of a level worthy of consideration Considering she's only 17 this was an accomplished set. The songs I remember most were "Eyes Like Those" really beautiful, as well as the song about "Home" but that's not its right name sorry (I should really start taking a pen to gigs and writing stuff down). "Skint" a song about the eponymous TV series properly struck a chord with me. I hated that programme, it totally misrepresented Scunny folk. I couldn't watch it, I got too wound up. I should have written a song about it instead of getting angry. Lizzie got it spot on. She finished with a great cover that showed you only need the bare minimum if what you have is quality. Here it is Lorde - Royals

What I thought and I don't think I am alone in this, is that Lizzie was very good with a few rough edges. What I am looking forward to is what she will be putting out in a years time or two years time, with a tiny bit more polish to her songs and a bit more life under her belt. She came across as smart enough to know all this and have a plan, so I don't feel like I'm being critical, what I'm really saying is watch this space. Take nothing away from her Saturday night she was very entertaining but she has the potential to be very good indeed, its quite exciting really. And I hope she does it because she has a very fine guitar. What! I'm not being biased.

Here's The Lizzie Goddard Facebook page

Rita Payne

The Head-liners were Rita Payne. No that's not a grammatical error. Rita Payne are a duo; Pete Sowerby Vocals and Rhiannon Scutt playing Guitar and Suitcase. No that's not an auto-correct. They had a (very nice) battered little suitcase that doubled up as a drum.

Now these two were very good. Great voice from the fellah and some good tales especially the impression of the artsy american; scintillating guitar from the lady. (At one point she did this move, I don't even know what you call it. It was like a super fast four-step hammer-on pull-off riffle. Well it impressed me anyway)   By turns Country, Folk, and Blues. Easy to listen to but not "Easy-Listening". I bought a copy of the album, Stories From A Suitcase, at half time as they had already convinced me. The best bit being that after the interval they stepped up another level and went from solidly entertaining to stirring, emotive and plain foot-stomping hand-clapping rocking. They got the audience to sing back some lyrics that were more complicated than the usual "Hey Ho" "La-la-la's" you get in audience participation. Rather than finding this a little daunting, I appreciated the trust and respect they put in the audience. And I like singing anyway even if it is la-la-la but it wasn't, and it worked. I would go see these again. And in fact I might at either Kirton Lindsey Town Hall on 8th February 2014, or I'll head over to Sheffield and see them at the Greystones on either the 21st Feb or 1st March. Now that seems like a really heavy-handed plug for their gigs but its actually what I hope to do. And to prove it they're playing Swindon in between, I'm not off there I saw the roundabout once, I've done Swindon. 

Here is the Rita Payne facebook page btw. and of course their website -

This is my favourite off the album so far. But they're all good and I'm still listening really.

I would highly recommend Rita Payne, they were so genuine when I spoke to them as well, sometimes you get that road weary "I've heard this all every night up to now" from touring artists, but these two were just happy to say hello like folks in a pub (which strangely enough we were hah) And I would recommend Lizzie Goddard as well if you get the chance to see either. I promise I will at some point give someone a bad review. I am trying.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

3 Song W3dn3sday

No 3 is from the Terry Pratchett concept album based on one of his stories. The chorus puts a smile on my face as his books tend to do.

1. Blackbird - Ben Ottewell - Shapes & Shadows
2. Low Light Buddy Of Mine - Iron & Wine - Ghost on Ghost
3. The Dark Morris Song - Steel Eye Span - The Wintersmith

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Bonfire Heart Cover

I had to redo it. It was a bit fast but I started to hate the sound of my original cover. This is a slower version. but the timing is a little inconsistent as it goes along. But it sounds OK and I'm really happy with the piano.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

China Drum - The Return

Apparently in 1995 Steve Lamacq, noted Radio 1 DJ, referred to China Drum as "The Best Band in Britain". You shouldn't say stuff like that lightly. And it may have been slightly provocative, after all he wanted to stir interest in his listeners, its his job, and how long this opinion remained true for him I don't know, but I believe he meant what he said, when he said it.

I saw them at The Lead Mill in Sheffield, Tuesday 18th October 1994 (I was 17 please call the cops) in support of Green Day, it cost £7 for a ticket or was it £6. It was £6. You read that right, it'll probably cost you £60 today. It was the first (and only) time that I stage-dived - but I went and waved when I did, "Looked like you was waving to your mam" they said. I did, shame on me. Before that I took an accidental head-butt from a guy moshing like mad next to me during the first support act. No apparent injuries, 3 hours later after the encore I collapsed from concussion... remains to this day the best gig I have ever seen. I've seen more than a few since, I don't say it lightly.

China Drum were the second act. Now I have something to confess. At the time of the gig I didn't know their name. As is proved by the picture below: an excerpt from The John Leggott College magazine for which I proudly wrote (badly) a review of the night. I have kept it all these years, It was the first (and only) article that I ever did - (I didn't wave to my mam while writing it). It wasn't like today, we didn't have the internet back then like we do now to look it up. Yeah I could have found out I suppose but I was 17 I had more important things to worry about (beer) than tardy journalism.

Just in case you wondered if I was a nobhead back then as well. I was.
It just proves quality will shine through, you don't have to know something's name or know what something is to know its good and enjoy it (I've been a big fan of Findus Lasagne for years as well)

I'm still friends with the people who went to that gig it was one of the most memorable nights of my life. I saw China Drum again I'm not sure how many times. But I remember at one gig where I met Adam Lee the lead singer after they had finished playing and I must have done what I refer to as the "belly trick" (A party trick where I used to stick my belly out like some kind of mutant bullfrog - haha I had forgot I used to do that until I wrote this) because he wrote on my 6" vinyl of Wuthering Heights "Fat Bastards Unite and Eat". 19 years later I don't look back and think "how sad" I think "That was amazing, it made my day, what a fucking legend". That's how you keep fans for 19 years.

So its last Sunday night 1/12/2013, The Adelphi Club in Hull ( The Adelphi is a one of a kind venue. No seriously there is nowhere like it. No. Seriously. Here's a pic of the flaking front door. Its like one of those secret clubs you see in film where the dingy door hides a mad party, with lasers and pole dancers, unicorns with afro's and Jesus playing a Les Paul in shades and.. er... except the Adelphi is not quite like that inside

Its small, its basically a converted terrace house with the ground floor knocked through. Its intimate. Maybe you shouldn't describe a punk gig as intimate its connotations are too romantic but then again maybe you should, there was a lot of love in the room.

Openers were Attack The Embassy, a good name. They suffered a bit from "Very loud but not very good" syndrome of gig openers the world over. But I was into in parts, there was potential there they just need to get tighter and work on their sound. ( Second support was Menshevik, the front man was full on and it was heavy to start off with, the first band that came to mind was Slayer but thats misleading it was punk at the hard fast end, I didn't like it and the singer was right off the stage in amongst the crowd up on tables. In your grill. I started thinking what the hell have I come to here, what is he doing, what is going on, maybe if I close my eyes he won't see me. Honest energy though and skill and just being fully entertaining will win you over every time. Menshevik just got better and better. The singer was actual the model of an extrovert front man and that's what you want. Heavier than I normally like but I genuinely enjoyed their set. (

And then it was time... I recognised them I'll say that, but a lot has changed in 19 years since that Lead Mill night. Of course it has. There's not much that doesn't change in 19 years. But 19 years is good amount of time to perfect your art. These were older, more professional, experienced, musicians, it sounded superb, you could tell. They played all the classics. I love Biscuit Barrel personally (and I'm thinking about ruining it with a cover even haha). They had the northern chat, it was like watching a bunch of your mates on stage you could tell they were having a good time, it makes a difference to the spectator, elevates the experience. Bill McQueen the guitarist wasn't there, but was replaced by John Steel who was top notch. There was no reason given but there's a link to a short documentary below which suggests that he probably couldn't get the time off ==> If you're a fan of China Drum or just a general lover of music check it out its quite short and it is interesting. Another change was Kate Stephenson replacing Adam on the drums. I don't know how he ever drummed and sang, I know trying to play guitar and sing is bad enough. Dave McQueen was excellent on Bass a proper lad taking photos on his phone and chipping in on Adam Lee's banter. (

Going back to what it says in the college magazine I don't know if they played A Minor I think they played Meaning though. They finished with what in my opinion is one of the most inspired cover versions of all time Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights. They played Erasure's A Little Respect as the final song, its a disgracefully singable song and they do a good version but Wuthering Heights is the real genius choice. This was a great great gig for many different reasons.

Leading up to the gig it was a bit of nostalgia - Lets go see The Drum for old times sake. And after, well it was - When are they playing again? This better not be over!!! 

A song to finish...

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

3 Song W3dn3sday

Back to normal. Back to listening. Back to the right day.

1. Frank Delandry - Brooks Williams -  Baby O!
2. Sorrow - Winter Mountain - Winter Mountain
3. Cosmic Love - Florence And The Machine - MTV Unplugged

Monday, 2 December 2013

Brooks Williams & The Crash Blossoms.

Went to my local venue The Baths Hall ( ) for a gig this weekend. To see Brooks Williams and also in support The Crash Blossoms. I didn't know what to expect. To be honest it was just an excuse to see some live music. All I had heard was that Brooks was one of the top 100 acoustic guitarists in the world. I've been to the Baths before, as a drunken youth 20 years ago (but we'll not go into that today) and I saw Seth Lakeman the previous October in the main room (one of my top 3 gigs ever, don't knock folk music until you've seen Seth) but this show was in the Bar Lounge, a very chilled out place to watch music. Tea lights and sofas, ambient would be a good word for it.

The Crash Blossoms

The show opened with The Crash Blossoms a capable and endearing three pisoece from Hull who made some good choices of songs to cover. The main man had some good chat and had "less fat on him than a chip" as one of my fellow watchers described him but he could definitely sing very well despite his slightness and having a bit of a sore throat, which you never caught a hint of when he was singing.

They filled in a second slot as one of the other acts was a no-show. So respect to them for that. Their slow version of I Don't Like Mondays was spellbinding. In fact all their covers were solid, a downbeat Freefalling, and a version of All Along The Watch Tower to finish off their first slot. My dad said they would open with Forever Young for their second slot to which I said "No way will they do two Bob Dylan covers in one set especially not effectively one after the other". They then struck up. "Haha" said my Dad "Told You. Dylan. Forever Young"...

...It was Serve Somebody.

So half right. And that was probably my favourite song of their set. The shame was they didn't play more of their own stuff. The first song they did of their own Simple Enough was very good. I wasn't so much a fan of the second one but that might have been because they told me what it was about before they played it. Its a bit of niggle with me. So here, check it out without a description. (sorry its a link it won't let me find the video)

and here's their website

I bought their The Covered Up Sessions EP which has the following music on it - Freefalling by Tom Petty, Waiting For The Storm by Richard Shindell, I Don't Like Mondays by Bob GeldofSea Breeze by Tyrone Wells, Satan & St.Paul by John Fullbright, Galway Girl by Steve Earle & Sharon Shannon. It is very nice. I just wish it had the Dylan songs on as well.

Brooks Williams

So what about the head-liner - Brooks Williams Well. As a (budding) guitarist some guitar playing makes you think, some inspires you and some just plain blows you away. I think Brooks did all three. He was excellent and he had a good voice to compliment the voice of the guitar. Some times you get the feeling that someone is so good they don't actually know the song they're just so versed in music and so experienced they just instinctually know what to play next, where to put there hands and fingers, like a typist that doesn't have to look down no matter what you tell them to write. At one with the music, in the zone. Jedi Guitar style. I noticed he was strumming in different positions to create a different sound, took note, thanks Brooks I will try that. At one point he changed the tuning of his guitar and it was literally two pegs turned once each doink, doink, and that was it. No other movement no corrections. That's what practice can do son hah, brilliant.

Brooks' tools of the trade.

I thoroughly enjoyed his set and I'm repeat playing the "merch" album I bought. I kind of bought it thinking I probably won't listen to it that much but I like you, you've entertained me, you've earned it. But its nicely produced and even though I'm not really a bluesy person (at least not yet) I find myself getting into it and its got some harmonica on it, so that's me sorted. The highlight for me was his instrumentals and being torn between wanting to close my eyes and just listen, or have a look and see what the hell he was doing. My favourite songs were his last before the encore Frank Delandry, and Walking You Off My Mind a proper blues song and it gave me an idea for a song of my own.

Here is his website lots of links to music and vids on there. Check it out especially if you like to appreciate some sweet playing, some slide guitar and a bit of the blues. All in all well worth it. I hope to see more stuff like this now. 

I'm lucky in having a great local venue the only criticism I have is that I knew nothing about this, if my dad hadn't mentioned it I wouldn't have gone. I'm not sure how he found out. I get emails from the Baths but don't think I saw this on there maybe I'm wrong but I'm not the only one. I've actually come across a lot of people complaining they never knew who was playing at the Baths and have missed out. Baths Hall there seems to be a hole somewhere in your promotion strategy that needs filling. Its such a great venue something for the town to be genuinely proud of it seems a shame that local people are missing out a little. Having said that the place was full and I had a great time. (I have since spoken to The Baths Hall they were very nice. Apparently all their comedy shows sell out so you wont be able to buy tickets at the time of the show the best thing to do is sign up to the mailing list and book early) 

Lets finish with a song. This is excellent