Tag Archives: the sun romford

151. JO GREGORY (+ Open Floor) at RFC. Tuesday, 28th February 2017

Jo Gregory at RFC (Photo: Garry Walker)

Jo Gregory at RFC (Photo: Garry Walker)

It is always very satisfying for me to see one of my friends getting their own gig (as promoting my friends’ talents is originally what my website was designed to do). Jo Gregory is a fine singer who has been singing in pubs on and off for years. (She is also a published poet, and plays guitar a bit too). She has been a regular at Romford Folk Club for some time, and they gave her this Feature Night to show-case her talents. But Jo being Jo, she brought along several members of her very talented family to help out too – upon which, more anon…

The usual Open Floor spots preceded each of Jo’s half-sets of course. best among these this week I thought were the duet Mikanora covering ‘Spanish Castles’; and father and daughter team Steve and Hannah O’Driscoll doing ‘The Jolly Tinker’. I played my ‘Nan’s bread Pudd’n’… ably assisted by Rod Standen who played washboard for the first time ever! Cheers Rod! (For a review of Rod’s gig at RFC recently, see my review #139; and a review of Rod’s album Poetic Force #109).

L-R: Micky, Jackie, Me, Jo. (Photo: Garry Walker)

L-R: Micky, Jackie, Me, Jo. (Photo: Garry Walker)

Jo, who has a wide variety of musical influences, delivered a great range of songs during the course of her set; beginning the first half with her fine rendition of ‘The Skye Boat Song’ (the RL Stevenson lyric version); followed by the Trad Irish song ‘She Moved Through The Fair’. Both were sung by Jo, as usual, unaccompanied – and in her usual unique style. A complete change then ensued in the form of Patsy Cline’s ‘You Belong To Me’; and Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case Of You’. Then at this point Jo asked me to accompany her on guitar for ‘Killing Me Softly’; and her elder daughter Ellie for ‘The Rose’ – during which mother and daughter harmonised beautifully. And so ended the first half to great applause.

Half time included a discussion on a bombshell development that evening, that the host venue The Sun, had given RFC a month’s notice to quit their function room! So ideas were bandied about as to where the club could move to. This will be an ongoing topic for the club members, so watch this space. Not all bad news though… I won a Seasick Steve CD in the raffle! Anyway, after a couple more floor spots, Jo was back for part two.

Jo and Ellie (Photo: Garry W)

Jo and Ellie (Photo: Garry W)

She began her second set by reciting her published poem ‘At What Cost?’ – a short but poignant verse about three of her Great Uncles who died in the Great War. She followed this with ‘Let It Be’; before inviting her younger daughter Molly up for ‘A Thousand Years’. Again, Mum and daughter harmonised beautifully, and was received very well by the audience. ‘Nothing Compares 2u’ followed. It is one of the first songs that Jo ever sung in public, and has become a firm favourite. Jackie Gregory, another member of her truly talented family then joined her, along with Micky Brown on guitar and yours truly on percussion, for ‘Blanket On The Ground’. Then finally she finished with ‘Blooming Heather’, asking Gemma Boyd to accompany her on fiddle. This, like most of her songs, inspired everyone to join in. Encore was required of course; and Jo chose to sing ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ with her elder daughter Ellie again. And thus ended another fine evening’s entertainment at RFC. Thanks to Jo and her clan for their performances; and to the club for hosting it. PTMQ

148. DANIEL NESTLERODE & PAUL BALLANTYNE (+ Open Floor) at RFC. Tuesday, 7th February, 2017

(Photo: Garry Walker)

Ballantyne and Nestlerode (Photo: Garry Walker)

At a gig recently, Paul Ballantyne told me he was booked, along with Daniel Nestlerode, to play at RFC (See my review # 146). Having seen Paul play on occasions (See review #59); and having been told by several people that Daniel was ‘well worth seeing’, I promised to go along.

As is usual at RFC, the guest’s set was split into two parts – both preceded by Open Floor spots. These were varied as usual. I thought Mikanora were again pick of the bunch with their funny and topical ‘Old People’ which is a song about the NHS – or rather the government’s attitude towards it!

Daniel and Paul’s set was basically a live performance of the tracks from Daniel’s album More Than A Little Guitar (a copy of which he gave me afterwards). Some of these Country/Folk songs are Traditional, and some penned by Daniel himself. Although Paul is not on the album, he works very well with Daniel and together they produced a fine live show, with Paul on guitars, and Daniel on mandos/vocals. Songs such as ‘Old Calapina’ and ‘Long Black Veil’ I thought were particularly good. Surprisingly they finished up with a cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’, to which we all sang along. An enjoyable set.

Daniel is currently recording a new album and I look forward to hearing it. Thanks to the guests, the RFC, and all who took part. PTMQ

147. PAMELA WARD & PAUL CHERRINGTON (+ Open Floor) at RFC. 31st January 2017

Pam and Paul at RFC (Photo: Garry Walker)

Pam and Paul at RFC (Photo: Garry Walker)

To be honest I didn’t realise that there was a special guest booked for this particular evening at RFC; I was just expecting an Open Floor Night. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that Northamptonshire based duet Pamela Ward and Paul Cherrington had been asked to play at the club.

Their set was of course preceded by the usual Open Floor spots. Many of the regulars were in attendance and played a couple of good songs each; displaying the great variety of styles and abilities characteristic of these evenings. Pick of the bunch I thought was Mikanora‘s topical and amusing song about US President Trump… ‘Down Mexico Way’.  I did a duet with Jo Gregory playing ‘Killing Me Softly’; and a couple of my own songs too: ’40 Years, 40 Days, 40 Nights’ and ‘Don’t Blame Me If Me Washboard’s Out O’ Tune!’.

Jo and The Quill (Photo: Garry W)

Jo and The Quill (Photo: Garry W)

I had never seen Pamela and Paul perform before, and I was very impressed by their set. Of particular note were Pam’s lovely vocals; and Paul’s hauntingly beautiful alternative guitar tunings (reminding me of Giltrap at times). Their obvious skill at song-writing was evident; and the performance of them was excellent. They began with a couple of covers and then moved on to some of their own well-crafted songs; such as the tragic but beautiful ‘Sail On By’ (about a maritime accident in 1942 which Pam’s father survived); and two fine songs about the Sheffield cutlery trade: ‘Little Mesters’ and ‘Errand Lasses And Buffer Girls’. Preceding each song, Pam gave a good explanation of it; which is something I like to hear before any performance. So thanks to this fine duet for their short but superb set; to the club; for hosting it; and to all who took part.

I had a chat with Pam and Paul after the gig, and obtained three of their CDs: Pam’s Just An Old Fashioned Girl; Paul’s instrumental album Martin & Me; and their joint work Sail On By. Having had a quick spin of these albums I can report that they are all very good indeed. PTMQ

Here is a link to the Pamela and Paul’s website

139. ROD STANDEN (+ Open Floor) at ROMFORD FOLK CLUB. Tuesday 10th January, 2017

Rod with The Quill (Photo: Garry W)

Rod Standen with backing from The Quill (Photo: Garry W)

When my friend Rod Standen told me that Garry Walker of Romford Folk Club had given him a Feature Night, I was of course keen to go along. These monthly Feature Nights at RFC, are where one of the club’s regulars are asked to perform a set. The next one (in February) will be Jo Gregory.

I arrived at the venue after work, and Rod showed me his Set List, which comprised of a great variety of covers. Surprisingly, he didn’t want to perform any of the tracks from his album Poetic Force (which I reviewed last year. See entry #109). Another surprise was that although Rod often asks me to join him for the occasional number, this time he wanted me to accompany him for every song. Flattered, I of course agreed.

But first, the usual Open Floor section of the night. All the regulars played one or two good songs. Pick of the bunch this week were in my opinion, Smolovik’s cover of Robert Johnson’s classic ‘Crossroads’; and club boss Garry Walker’s self-penned ‘Romford Town’. As a tribute to Peter Sarstedt who died recently, I played his timeless classic ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely’; and I was also requested to play my silly song ‘Grandad’s 7 Hats’.

Rod’s eclectic set included classics such as ‘Proud Mary’; ‘Sailing’; ‘Gypsy Rover’;  ‘Durham Town’; ‘Love Is All Around’; ‘Streets Of London’; ‘Country Roads’; and an old favourite of Rod’s ‘Travellin’ Down That Lonesome Road’. Rod’s instruments of choice, were an old banjo (that he’d bought as a wreck from Ebay and has recently restored to a very good condition indeed) and acoustic guitar of course. Encore was demanded; and Rod chose to play ‘Scarborough Fair’. The set finished with great applause. There was at all times, a great deal of audience participation during the set, and this is something that Rod was aiming for all along. I was glad to be asked to join him. A good evening’s entertainment. Thanks to Rod, the club, and all the regulars. PTMQ

136. IAN PETRIE (+ Open Floor) at ROMFORD FOLK CLUB. Tuesday 6th December 2016.

Mr.Petrie (Photo: Garry Walker, RFC)

Mr.Petrie (Photo: Garry Walker, RFC)

Ian Petrie is a name I’d been hearing on and off for some time; but I’d never seen him live so it was high time I put that right. So when I heard that this Kent-based singer / song-writer was to play my local Folk club, I of course went along. Ian has been around for a while, having been a member of several bands such as Dolphin Smile, Skinners Rats and his own outfit The Big Ian Petrie Band. On this occasion though, he was to play a two-part solo set.

But first, Ian’s set was preceded by the usual Open Floor spots. Best of the bunch this week were father and daughter duo Steve and Hannah O’Driscoll; and newcomer Liam who played a great cover of Knopfler’s ‘Romeo And Juliet’. And of course, a great variety of styles and abilities were represented by all who took part. I played Coverdale’s ‘Don’t Fade Away’.

Ian got through the gamut of his repertoire – songs which were funny, clever, and/or thoughtful; and at all times highly entertaining, such as: ‘Face Book Rant’; ‘Go For It’; and ‘Sixty Years’. He spoke a little about each of his songs beforehand – which is something I like to hear. He stated that you can write a song about anything; then treated us to his amusing song that is about nothing at all: ‘Nobody’.

At one point he pulled out an Omnichord and played a singular and excellent cover of Dylan’s / Adele’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’. And at half time, he spoke to some of us about it and I had a play with it. A really interesting instrument that I’ve not encountered before.

I had a chat with Ian after the gig and he gave me his band’s two albums (I Wish That I Could Fly; and Along The B2000!) and his two solo EPs: Sketchbook; and Sketchbook 2). If you like clever and funny songs, I’d recommend getting along to one of Ian’s gigs if you can. An enjoyable evening was had by all. PTMQ

132. YAEL BEBB (+ Open Floor) at ROMFORD FOLK CLUB, in The Sun PH. Tuesday, 22nd November, 2016.

Yael Bebb at RFC (Photo: Garry Walker)

Yael Bebb at RFC (Photo: Garry Walker)

Recently, Garry Walker of RFC told me he had booked Yael Bebb for a feature session at the club, and recommended that I come along. I was intrigued as I knew nothing about the lady or her music. He had met and seen her play at Rochester and Dartford earlier this year, and was impressed enough to invite her to the club. I met and had a chat with Yael before the evening’s proceedings began. She has apparently recently moved from Kent to Essex, and plays a lot around her new county home; and is involved in the Dengie Folk Music Sessions around the East Essex area. She also performed (and went down well by all accounts) at the Leigh Folk Festival this summer. She had arrived with a group of friends (some of whom would join her shortly for part of her set); but let’s leave them sitting at their table for a while….

As is usual with these feature sessions at RFC, the night begins with an Open Floor spot where anyone who so desires can perform a couple of songs. And as usual, a wide range of styles and abilities is represented; all admirable in their way. Master of Ceremonies for the night was Smolowik who got the ball rolling with a couple of good songs. Notable among those present were club boss Garry who sang two fine trad songs; Rod Standen who has recently released an album called Poetic Force. (See my review #109); singer Jo Gregory who sang a beautiful rendition of ‘She Moved Through The Fair’ and will perform a feature set at RFC next February; a gentleman called Keith who played an oud (a remarkable instrument of Middle-Eastern origin related to the lute); and a lady called Jan who recited an impressive Shakespearean sonnet that she’d written. I played David Coverdale’s ‘Soldier Of Fortune’ and my own song ‘The Boys Of The Old 83rd’… but I offer no critique of my own performance!

Ken, Yael, and Janice (Photo: Garry Walker)

Ken, Yael, and Janice (Photo: Garry Walker)

After a short break it was time for this week’s feature spot. Accordion in hand, Yael seated herself in the performance area and began her short but eclectic, and internationally flavoured set, which included French, Scottish, and English tunes; and the African-American Spiritual ‘Wade In The Water’, for which the audience joined in. I particularly enjoyed her version of Fairport’s ‘Crazy Man Michael’. At one point Yael invited two friends to join her – regulars from the Dengie Sessions. These were Janice Higgins on recorder; and Ken Saunders on accordion. They played well together as a unit and are obviously well-practiced. A thing that I like when seeing musicians play live is a little explanation before each song; and Yael did not disappoint in this. I quite enjoyed her set, and so did everyone present – as evidenced by a demand for encore. I’d recommend seeing her and her friends if you are into Folk music and live in the Essex area. Thanks to Garry of RFC. PTMQ.

Link to the Dengie Folk Sessions FaceBook page

109. ROD STANDEN “Poetic Force: Poetry In Emotion” (2016)

Poetic Force (Pic; Rod Standen)

Poetic Force (Pic; Rod Standen)

I bumped into Rod Standen at a gig at Romford Folk Club a short while ago (see my review #99) He played ‘Voices Of The Night’, (a track from his album Poetic Force: Poetry In Emotion) during the Open Floor session at the club before the headline act. It was an interesting piece. I had a chat with him afterwards and he kindly gave me a CD copy of the album for review.

Poetic Force: Poetry In Emotion is a concept album. There are seven tracks in all. Lyrically each is a famous poem of the Romantic genre put to Rod’s music.  Blake; Wordsworth; Gregory Smith; John Clare; and William Henley’s work are all represented; and there are two poems from Longfellow. Talking to Rod after that gig, he was enthusing about the power of verse to inspire his music. I can see that myself, because at the age of about fifteen I remember naively trying to set the words of Tennyson’s ‘Charge Of The Light Brigade’ to my own Rock music – and with only a limited knowledge of the guitar at the time, had to give up. (Thank God I have never been tempted to reawaken that project!) But the concept has long been in my head; so I warmed to Rod’s idea immediately. (Something slightly overlapping this work is Ange Hardy‘s recent concept album on the life and works of Coleridge: Esteesee – see my review #72).

Rod has produced a very interesting album. It is clear, I think, that the music is merely a vehicle for the verse – and fair enough too. These classic poems need no appraisal from me – and nor am I qualified to do so. Musically it is good, although the accusation of ‘saminess’ may be levelled at the collection by some. Each track has a busy acoustic guitar part which is fine but a little repetitive (although I must emphasise, played by Rod very well indeed); and there is little variation in vocal melody from track to track. Even so, I found it very pleasant to listen to as I worked at home recently – and it is for listening to after all, due to the use of the classic verse.

Rod seems to have done almost everything himself on this project: from writing the music and recording the songs; to designing the sleeve; writing the notes on the excellent enclosed leaflet – and even personally sticking the label on the CD. He told me that he recorded the whole album whilst his wife was on a shopping trip one day! This is a unique collection, and Rod is to be highly commended for it – and at only a fiver, it is real value for money! I’d say buy it if you have an appreciation of the Romantic poets; or even if you just like something a bit different. PTMQ.

Rod will be playing a live session at Romford’s TIME FM 107.5 (Karen Lennon Show); this Saturday, 25th June at 11AM. Worth having a listen, I think.

The CD is available from Rod’s Ebay page

Or, for those local to Romford,  from Fairkytes Arts Centre, Hornchurch Essex

Contact Rod …  rodstanden62@gmail.com