Friday, February 23rd 2018

If you find yourself in the Louvre, toddle along to room 77 and take a butchers at Gericault’s larger-than-life depiction of men clinging to the wreckage. (Le Radeau De La Meduse). Its truly awe-inspiring. Almost as awe-inspiring as the larger-than-life duo gracing our stage tonight: Clinging To The Wreckage.

But first we had to wake the audience up. This week Emcee consulted the tea leaves (other systems are available) and decreed that it was Mike Hawkins’ task: Annie’s Song roused us gently then he left on a jet plane. The Shores Of Old Blighty rounded off his turn.

Despite extended duties in the second half, Jeff and Jones managed solo stints too. Jeff sang If I Were A Carpenter (Tim Hardin) and As I Rode Out One Morning (Bob Dylan). He did both rather well in spite of a recent injury that’s left him finally able to tell his arse from his elbow. (They hurt differently.)

Mr West got the playground monitor’s job of separating Jeff and Jones. He did so with the cautionary tale of The Gaol Song, the double-long-stick dance Vandals of Hammerwich (from the Lichfield Tradition) and the bawdy and altogether fanciful ballad of The Maids Of Australia.

Alun sang Perhaps Love (our second John Denver song tonight) and led almost the entire rabble in a rousing rendition of Cyfri’r Geifr.

We had two newcomers tonight. Mike Bartram debuted with Belle Helene (Graham Selby) and The Old Grey Squirrel (Alfred Noyes). Maggie Tyler has been among us for a while but picked tonight to take the stage, reciting poems by her mother, Lillian. Jolly good they were too. We shall be looking forward to more from the pen of Lillian Tyler in coming weeks.

In this week’s raffle there was actually some alcohol. Not that I care, but I seem to have custody of John Shepherd’s legendary losing streak as well as his blog. The snowball was not won. 2000p next week!

Mike Bartram was coaxed back on stage to warm up the second half: Another Graham Selby song and a bit of Betjeman about Captain Webb. Brian Bull will be gutted when he finds out he missed a hot new concertina player. It’s to be hoped that Mike will visit us again.

And so, with no more reasons to delay the inevitable, Emcee welcomed Clinging To The Wreckage to the stage.

Because we see Jeff and Jones up there every week, its easy to take their talents for granted. However, on nights like this they raise their game and deliver something far greater than the sum of its parts.

Leading off with a (mostly) instrumental version of Star Of The County Down, they stayed with the Irish theme for From Clare To Here. Jeff took us to America with Diddy-Wah-Diddy then we got deported back to Ireland for Ride On.

Get Your Hands Off Her is getting better every time I hear it. Everything was going so well and then… The Boxer (Bum. Tish.) must have been punch drunk.

Candyman has been in Jeff’s repertoire as long as I’ve known him and it never fails to please the ears.

El Dorado (by the late Graeme Miles) was my favourite song of the set (by a country mile). Rosehill Fair took us up to eleven o’clock with the customary chorus participation from the audience but, thanks to a tardy caretaker, we over ran somewhat with a newly extended, pimped out and customised version of Cosher Bailey. Thanks to Alun for all the new and apposite lyrics.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to an excellent session. As for Clinging To The Wreckage: Ted would be proud of you, gentlemen. Thank you.

Just a couple of notices:

For the Welsh speakers among you, there’s a treat on Tuesday, March 13th, 2018. The Pavilion Theatre still has tickets for two performances of Gwyneth Glyn’s heart-warming play about dementia, viewed through the eyes of a child: ?Y, CHIPS A NAIN (Egg, Chips & Granny).

Its a Singers’ night next week (March 2nd) & Wet The Tea are our guests the week after (March 9th).

Goodnight & joy be with you all.

Andrew the younger


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