Friday, October 13th 2017

The big news this week was that, unlike Emcee’s hearing, Colin Bakewell was back! Colin’s mandolin, however, was notably absent on account of Colin having a poorly finger. If you’ve seen Colin play, you’ll know why he needs all eleven fingers in good working order. Let hope he’ll be back on Emcee’s list soon.

Alun Rhys Jones was up first, looking years younger after a short back and sides. He set the bar high with Farewell She then raised it higher still with Mike Hand’s Pilot Whale (sung acapella), and Little Pot Stove.

Mike Hawkins gave us As I Roved Out and Cruel. Emcee came up with a brilliant idea: He suggested that (one night) Mike should be prevailed upon to sing the whole of Penguin Eggs. I think a whole album might be a bit of a stretch but how about a round of extended spots from our stalwarts, each choosing a favourite album to do four songs from? That shouldn’t be too difficult.

Geoff Durno struggled to get going with John Prine’s Unwed Fathers but inadvertently gave us one of the highlights of the night when T Gwyn got up and sang it while Geoff provided accompaniment and harmonies. My Grandfather’s Clock was back and was as popular as last time (a fortnight ago). It’s impossible not to sing along to it.

Jeff Blythin’s weekly public information announcement was on the dangers of purple carrots. To summarize his sage advice: Don’t eat them.
Bob Dylan’s Love Minus Zero/No Limit and Jimmie Rodgers’ In The Jailhouse Now were both excellent.

T Gwyn was in nautical mode, leading with Shel Silverstein’s short but witty Morgan’s Curse and following with John Masefield’s Sea Fever.

After the beer break, Emcee ruled that a reversal of the playing order was in order, in order to put Alun on last. It’s that sort of inbuilt flexibility that’s made ‘The System’ so popular. However, for reasons that passeth all understanding, that did not mean T Gwyn was back on, but that Jeff Blythin would lead off the second half.

Spanish Is A Loving Tongue is a song JB generally does well and tonight it was, to quote the maestro himself, “S**t hot!”. Alun joined him for Rosehill Fair, requested by Edna.

We had time for three from Geoff Durno. Mike Hand got another mention for The Green Rolling Hills Of West Virginia.

T Gwyn managed to get us all to join in with Elsie Carlisle’s Home James And Don’t Spare The Horses and delivered the best recitation of Danny Deever that I’ve ever heard from him.

Mike slowed things right down with All Things Are Quite Silent and Come By The Hills, leaving us in a suitably mellow mood to truly appreciate Alun’s London Danny.

The absolute high point of the evening was Alun and Jeff singing Did You Ever Saw? Hilarious stuff.

All together now… No, nay, never. No, nay, never, no more…

Honestly? Tonight we had very poor turnout but some of the highest quality turns for quite a while. I don’t think I can remember a night when absolutely everyone was on top form. Those of you who missed it really did miss something good.

Mr West will be morris dancing on Bangor Pier tomorrow afternoon and the hugely entertaining Keith Price will be here next week. Oh, and John Shepherd should be back too. Until then…

goodnight and joy be with you all.


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