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Thursday, December 21, 2006

I'm enlightened as Santa's sack was lightened

While we were taking a weekend break in Dublin in November I was treated to my usual Christmas present, namely, a bundle of CDs from Dublin's finest music emporia. One of those CDs was actually a DVD. Sharon Shannon's Live at Dolan's.
When I got back home this DVD somehow managed to dodge the wrapping paper. And even if I had the slightest clue about the quality of the contents I still wouldn't have let this wait under the tree.

To the unfamiliar, Sharon Shannon plays the accordian....the tin whistle....violin.... Very good, so what's the big deal, you might say. Does she sing ? I haven't noticed yet......Hmmm, still not convinced then ? Well, all I'll say is that her previous album, released early 2006, and this DVD topped their respective charts in Ireland, almost immediately after release. That doesn't leave all that many besides you who are unconvinced.

Live at Dolan's opens with 3 instrumentals. I'll guarantee that before these 3 tunes have finished, your feet will have tapped, the top front teeth will have touched the bottom lip and the head would have nodded, your fingers would have clicked. If there's a pint of Guinness or a glass of wine nearby you'll be ready for the next one. Even the fellas will be ready to get up and dance. And no one has sung a note yet !

Sharon had managed to assemble an impressive 10-piece band for this DVD which was filmed in July 2006 Dolan's Warehouse in Limerick. As well as playing their respective roles within the confines of a band there were plenty of excellent solos and cameos within some of the tunes. The quality was high enough to warrant the creation of a DVD on the band's performances alone.

Gerry O'Connor playing banjo on Time to Time is worthy of over 8 minutes of your undivided attention. And before you've got chance to recover, lead guitarist, Jack Maher, gets behind the mike to give a superb bluesy number entitled Don't Give Up. The mood is impeccably enhanced with James Delaney (where've I seen him before?) on keyboards and Richie Buckley on Tenor Sax.

I could go on at length trying to describe the tunes which have become Sharon's anthems over the years. But I will point you to a couple. The Mighty Sparrow which ambles along at the start with Jim Murray strumming away on acoustic guitar while Sharon weaves patterns through it with her accordian. Robbie Casserly steps in with the drums and the tune chugs along into a brilliant Jack Maher guitar solo. Not to be out-done, Richie then steps in on Tenor Sax. If you haven't arrived in Chillville at the end of this tune, you've just got on the wrong train !

Another stormer goes by the title 'A Bag Of Cats' which sees Sharon, her sister Mary, Winnie Horan and Gerry O'Connor kicking off a reel on their violins. Each one of the band members build upon it until this wall of sound one by one until the crescendo reaches Michael Flatley proportions. The camera pulls back to take a view from behind the audience for a while. The whole place is bouncing.

All members of the band have been mentioned except for one person. Nobody seems to notice him, yet if he wasn't doing his job, there would be no-one to drive the whole thing along. He's been in Riverdance, he's featured on Juliet Turner's Live Album, he's appeared with Eleanor McEvoy & the RTE Concert Orchestra at Dublin's NCH. He's Bass Guitarist , Paul Moore.

As for the guests...... well, compere/MC is Jon Kenny who does a bit of stand-up comic stuff and sings a couple of songs. He's no mean singer either, sort of a cross between Johnny Cash and Meatloaf.
As for the real singers, Roesy is the first to be heard. As well as being vocally gifted he does a bit of painting too. He could pay off the mortgage, whichever carreer path he choses.
The Brennan Sisters ( another clan !) are definitely worth keeping an eye (and ear) open for in 2007. I've heard, from a reliable source, that they could be releasing their debut CD later this year.
Damien Dempsey is Dublin's answer to Billy Bragg. I've No Alibi is a song about his opinion on these boy bands and the like. I share his point of view completely. There's no point in arguing with him anyway - you should see the size of him !
Declan O'Rourke is another classy singer. Galileo has even been publicly endorsed by Paul Weller.
Dessie O'Halloran first appeared on Sharon's Diamond Mountain Sessions album. Everybody loves him.
I first heard about Mundy early last year when Mike Moloney played 'July' on Ocean FM - it's already an anthem.
If there are CDs available by any of the above, I'm on the look out for them.

The show draws to a close with a 3-song encore which sees the entire cast on stage. My 2006 Summer holidays were taken in Ireland. It appears that I missed this show by just a couple of weeks......If only I'd have known about it earlier.

I might have been a bit naughty, playing this DVD before Christmas. Santa, however, didn't appear to be too upset because he left me the double CD on Christmas Day !

Watch RTE's Late Late Show - Ring of Fire

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Downtown Dublin for Christmas Shopping, Christmas Lights and Carroll Singing

Bewley’s Café Theatre, Grafton Street,
Saturday 18th November 2006

I popped into Tower Records in Wicklow St. and bought myself a copy of the new Beatles album. It didn’t get released in the UK until the following Monday so I was quite looking forward to getting back home on Sunday to don the headphones and get a head start on the rest of the UK. However, there was someone, a bit more special than a mere mini-exclusive on the Fab Four, who was my real reason for jetting over to Ireland.

Buying a CD is a token gesture of support, going to a concert in a nearby town is considered to be an act of dedication to some, so where does that leave a weekend return flight and overnight hotel on the fan club ladder ? The focus of this attention is Celine Carroll, the act of support was fully justified.

Most of the tables in this candlelit cabaret were occupied when Celine took to the stage. Her band remained silent while she sat at her piano and delivered Apologise. It was dedicated to yours truly and warmly received by all. From the first clap onwards the trend was set by a receptive audience in this intimate setting. All attendees shared the same intentions. They were here to absorb and appreciate the uncomplicated quality of Celine’s own music.

Her band joined in from song 2, Long Time Here. Reading across the stage from left to right, they were Siobhan Lennon, (assistant vocalist). Celine Carroll, (piano & acoustic guitars), Jim Tate (5-string bass), Jerry Fehily, (drums), Dave McGinley (lead electric & acoustic guitars).

Siobhan was perfect. Her vocals were so well matched with Celine’s that you’d swear they were sisters. Assistant vocalist as opposed to backing. She even had her own solo contribution on Take It All In which was duly appreciated by all present.

Jim Tate’s left hand was weaving some grand patterns up and down the neck of his bass guitar. However, the opening bars of Pink Floyd’s Money failed to convince Celine that she should increase his fee.

Jerry was faultless on his un-miked drumkit although his face was obscured from view by one of his cymbals.

Dave on lead guitar(s) also gave a top class solid performance. He’s by far removed from the ‘prima-donna’ type of lead guitarist, but he should have his own mike as we missed out some grand one-liners. He even had time to offer a ‘bless you’ to a sneeze on one of the front tables.

As for Celine, we were treated to 21 of her very own songs. There were enough new songs to convince me that there is already plenty of material for a further 2 more albums to add to her existing releases. Her 2 hour show felt as though it had lasted for just 2 minutes.

Her songs are uncomplicated and intelligible. Her influences range from Sir Paul McCartney (check-out Grey Sky Blue) to Gilbert O’Sullivan (Better Than This). Celine says that she has been cleaning the stairs or walking along the beach when the inspiration kicks in

From what I witnessed tonight, I see no reason why Celine Carroll should not be up there alongside (and above) the cream of Irish female singer/songwriters.

If I have any misgivings, Celine Carroll deserves far more radio airplay.

Did the show warrant the journey ?– most definitely.
The Beatles Album ? – the jury’s still out

Set List

1. Apologise
2. Long Time Here
3. Grey Sky Blue
4. Slow My Wheels
5. Itch
6. Love Disappears
7. Take It All In
8. Yeah
9. Fool
10. You’re Still Here


11. We’ll See
12. Sunny Day
13. I Believe In Love
14. Home
15. Standing On My Own Two Feet
16. Watching The Wheels Fall Off
17. I Don’t Mind
18. So Wrong
19. Better Than This
20. You’re Every Beat Of My Heart

21. Sweet Heart Of Mine

Celine's web site :
Interesting link :'s

Monday, November 13, 2006

Cara Dillon’s Orchestra Pit Manoeuvrements in the Dark

Opera House
Sunday November 12th 2006

I spent the first 23 years of my life in Buxton, so any visit back there is a little bit special. Surprisingly enough, this was the first time I set foot in the Opera House since I left the town. A town which I still refer to as home. Way back then, the Opera House was a cinema but it has since been lovingly restored to its original status.
(Check this BBC Radio Derby link for the panoramic view)

All the nooks and crannies of this beautiful example of Victorian architecture were as I had left them. However, with the cinema screen removed the place looked entirely different from how I had perceived it. The stage went back almost forever. It appeared even more oversized with the orchestra pit boarded over. Cara’s 4-piece band’s instruments, although widely spread, looked lonely on this chasm of a stage.

This plentiful supply of space was also available to the audience. The gathering of 250 to 300 were comfortably embedded in a sea of olive green velvet upholstery. Silver-grey hair seemed to outnumber the 30-somethings by about 3 to 1. So before the show got under way I had more than a gut feeling that the audience were going to attentive and composed.

At 7:30 prompt a fresh-faced young man, acoustic guitar in hand, ambled on to the stage and sat on the 2nd chair from the left. The softly spoken lad introduced himself, “Good evening, I’m John Smith”
Oh yeah, I thought….with a name like that, you’re really going to get yourself noticed. And he began to play.

A couple of random chords strummed on his guitar, held in a conventional manner, did nothing to change my mind. Then, suddenly, he flipped the guitar on its back, percussion sounds of varying pitches, chords appearing from all over the place, and he began to sing. He voice was akin to Peter Gabriel and the songs were as haunting as those by Damien Rice. Believe me, this kid is marvellous.

His 5-song, 40 minute set was all too brief. 3 of which were from his recently released album The Fox and The Monk. Autographed copies of the album was available after the show. Each song was vocally delivered in this mesmeric Rice/Gabriel style. If that wasn’t enough to command your attention, you were visually drawn in with the trickery on his guitar. During The Green Man he was retuning the top string whilst continuing the melody on the other 5. The subject matter was equally diverse. Pay attention to The Axe Mountain (not on the album) is a fictitious tale of a murderer on the loose on Dartmoor.

He interspersed the songs a few lines of smalltalk. Although his words were few, he did display a dry sense of humour. An example of this was his amazement over the difficulty in obtaining a website domain name. He claimed that even the Korean address was taken up. Incidentally, his website is

John’s setlist follows :-

1. Winter
2. So, so
3. Green Man
4. Axe Mountain
5. Seeds

After the interval, Cara and her band arrived on stage. The band came on first. Sam Lakeman on keyboards on the left, James O’Grady on flutes, whistles & Uillean pipes on the right. Centre left on acoustic guitar & BVs, John (yes him again) Smith. They played the opening bars of She Moved Through The Fayre before Cara arrived on stage for what was going to be an entertaining, yet abbreviated set. The reason for the abbreviation was because Cara is expecting twins. I’ve no idea when, but by the looks of things, soon.
Erin the Green saw the Uillean pipes making their first appearance of the evening. A quick glance at the stage floor proved that the lighting crew were paying attention.
After Where Are You Now, Cara explained that she hadn’t actually been pigging out on chicken pies, but she was actually expecting twins. Cara claimed that one of nature’s quirks for a young lady in this condition is that 2% of the brain cells get destroyed. In her particular case, she said that it could be more. The other night she managed to create a new word – manoeuvrement.
Cara mentioned that covered orchestra pit seemed to distance her from the audience. James later claimed that being pregnant affected her balance and that was the real reason that they were placed so far back.
Cara left the stage to sit-down for a while. The remaining band members then delivered a set of tunes entitled, The Rights Of Man.
Cara returned for a couple duets with Sam. The first being Garden Valley, the latter being There Were Roses. Audience participation was requested for this one. The chorus lines were warmly delivered by a healthy number and Cara applauded us afterwards.
Sam departed to be replaced by John for another duet. Both were seated and delivered a brilliant love song entitled The Lass of Loch Royale which was about a man who sets out to sea leaving his beloved behind.
The rest of the band returned to play a collection of jigs & reels. Cara remained seated, playing the bodhran. James claimed that they’d only just given these tunes titles, namely, John’s Intro, James’ Tea Chest and Sam’s (on guitar) Huntsman.
Cara got back on her feet for Black Is The Colour which received a singular, Whooh! from a young lady in the audience.
At around 9:30 Cara closed with P is for Paddy. Looking understandably tired, Cara thanked the Buxton audience and said that shoe hoped to be back very soon. My personal message to Cara is the title of Track 2 on her After The Morning album – if you’re still curious, buy it.
Cara and the band returned for the obligatory encore. It was a collection of jigs & reels which saw Cara playing the violin.

Cara’s setlist
1. She Moved Through The Fayre
2. Erin the Green
3. Where Are You Now
4. A set of tunes – The Rights Of Man
5. Garden Valley
6. There Were Roses
7. Lass of Loch Royale
8. A set of tunes – Intro/Teachest/Huntsman
9. Black Is The Colour
10. P is for Paddy
Encore – A set of untitled jigs & reels

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Roots, Trad Arr, Acoustic .... It's the New Wave

Let's big it up for Seth Lakeman. I tend to avoid the TV these days, escpecially when it comes to music. After all I'm 'up to here' with X-Factor and I reach for my headphones whenever my son flicks through his ear polluting electronica ! TV & music in our house is a lethal combo I'm telling you.
I was just about to amble up to the pub for the Saturday night half-gallon and while I was waiting for the missus to get herself ready I put TOTP2 on. Cliff Richard dancing away through We Don't Talk Any More....a couple more from somebody else and then.....Seth Lakeman - White Hare.
This lad has hit the big time , You Tube has got him on GMTV, Sunday AM, Sharon Osborne, BBC R1
Freedom Fields (different CD sleeve than the one I've got !) is in the album charts.
This is excellent news for not only Seth, but the entire acoustic movement. Music I've been pleading to be played on radio stations for years is now being championed by Seth Lakeman............and if you like what you hear, check out his sister-in-law Cara Dillon. And if you want more after that, then there's Eleanor McEvoy, Celine Carroll, Frances Black, Mary Black, Juliet Turner, Eimear Bradley......and lots lots more.


Friday, October 06, 2006

An Entertaining Tale from the Rufus Court Chester

Alexanders Jazz Club, Chester
Thursday 5th October 2006

As I queued outside the venue, patiently waiting for the doors to open at 8:00PM prompt, I just took a moment to ponder. Is this just becoming an annual routine? This was the 3rd time in as many years that I’ve come to see Eleanor McEvoy at this venue. I’ve dragged the missus away from her regular evening episode of Emmerdale, she’s not best pleased. We’ve arrived early because if we didn’t then we won’t get a decent seat. Eleanor won’t get behind the mike until 9:30. All this lot will have an hour and half’s worth of drink inside them by then. Is it really worth the hassle? Then the rain falls…..

As luck would have it we brought along a couple of friends, time passed quickly and it wasn’t long before the sound technician was at the desk and lights were dimmed. Eleanor popped up from nowhere and launched, accapello, into the opening lines of a slowed down I’ll Be Willing.

From the off the audience, whose ages spanned the spectrum, were spellbound. Every song was greeted with full attentiveness from all and each one received timely and generous applause. This was not lost on Eleanor and it was best summed up when a voice in the crowd enquired about the prospect of an Eleanor ‘Live’ album. “If I ever made a Live album, I’ll probably make it in Chester”.

This was Eleanor’s first UK concert since the release of her latest, and in my opinion, her best album, Out There. The album is a perfect example of pigeon-hole unfriendliness. Further evidence of her versatility was backed up with the array of instruments lined up across the back of the stage. The only one she didn’t have a go at was the barstool upon which her violin was resting.

In the afternoon prior to this show Eleanor was appearing at Liverpool’s Radio Merseyside being interviewed by Billy Butler. As well as correcting him on the actual venue, this was an ideal opportunity for her to encourage prospective attendees to shout out requests for their particular favourites. So as well as a healthy representation from her Out There album, there was a bit of audience participation.

Eleanor herself joined in with off-the-cuff song selection with a special lyrically adapted version of Joni Mitchell’s Cary, which contained a reference to Alexander’s Jazz Club.

This was yet another terrific performance by Eleanor. No doubt she will always be welcome to return to Alexander’s again and again – no doubt I’ll be queueing outside too – whatever the weather.

Chester setlist

Acoustic Guitar
1. I'll be willing
2. Fields of Dublin 4
3. Quote I Love You Unquote
4. Non Smoking Single Female
5. Whisper A Prayer To The Moon
6. Only A Woman's Heart
7. Did You Tell Him

8. Driving Home From Butlers
9. Paddy Carthy's Reel
10. Wrong So Wrong


Acoustic Guitar
11. Isn't it a Little Late
12. Days Roll By
13. Joni Mitchell's Cary (lyrically adapted for Alexanders)
14. Did I Hurt You (audience request)

Bass Guitar
15. Little Look

16. Suffer So Well

Electric Guitar
17. Ave Maria (audience request)
18. Territory Of Poets
19. The Way You Wear Your Troubles

Electric Guitar
20. Biochemistry
21. Apologise (audience request)

Editor's Notes

1. Said hello to a couple of very keen followers - Martin & Sue. If you think that a drive up to Chester from Essex was an act of dedication, they told me the were taking in the UK tour. The following night's gig was on the Isle of Aran ! Check the link to Tim Symes' review , Martin & Sue get a mention. (Tim's personal journey was from Taunton to Wolverhampton).

2. We were given lift to the Chester gig by Mr. & Mrs Butler - and after the show they gave us a lift could say we were Driven Home by Butlers.

3. Eleanor received the odd shout out from the audience for one or two songs (I don't shout out myself) but after the show I did mention a brilliant cover of I'll Be Your Baby Tonight by Bob Dylan. I heard it a couple of years ago on an RTE Radio 1 concert but I've never witnessed her do it at a go and check Tim's setlist.

4. Eleanor closed with Apologise (Check out the cheeky Radio Caroline jingle between the opening chords on the Podcasts). I think that its rather fitting that she did. My next scheduled live gig is Celine Carroll in Dublin in November. It was the same title , different song, which sparked my interest in Celine.

Martin & Sue's UK Tour Report
We’re back and recovering from a holiday of a lifetime. We can hardly believe that 8 days seem to pass so quickly especially when you consider all that we packed in. Yes, if you haven’t guessed by now we are the folks Eleanor talked about in her recent pod cast.

The planning started some time ago when we decided that the joy of seeing Eleanor and the destinations on her UK leg of her tour had us hooked.
The adventure really started on Thursday 5th setting off from deepest darkest Essex and driving the 213 miles to Chester. Despite the rain we managed an open top bus tour of Chester and had the full devoted attention of the tour guide as we were the only ones on tour. Alexanders in Chester was an excellent location and a very well attended evening. We were both worried and amused when in the second half she declared that after a conversation with the promoter in Arran no tickets had been sold. Of course we knew that at least two had been sold or at least that’s what we hoped as the arrangement was to collect at the venue. We could hardly resist at the end of a superb performance letting her know that we too were Arran bound, much to Eleanor’s amazement.

The journey to Arran was long and took most of the day on Friday, but we managed to get there in time for the 15:00 ferry. On arrival we had some more concerns, a notice that ferries may be delayed or cancelled due to bad weather greeted us. Something that wasn’t accommodated in our tight schedule! Fortunately the ferry was prompt and we hoped that the tour bus had made it too. If we were thinking of a song to sum up Arran on Friday it was definitely ‘The Rain Falls’. Torrential rain fell most of the afternoon and drenched us on our way to eat at a local restaurant. The McAlpine hotel, venue for the concert and our room for the night was just yards from the ferry terminal. The highlight of the hotel was the hospitality and the enthusiasm of Tam the hotel manager and promoter for the evening. Tam had an incredible sense of humour and this was evident in the sign displayed at reception – ‘Any unattended children will be sold as slaves’. The audience was small but not exactly just the two of us, about 30 people in an airy ballroom in the hotel with a magnificent mirror. We manage to fight through the crowds and get a table in the centre at the front and our quest for the day was rewarded with a fantastic performance including our request from Chester of ’To Sweep Away A Fool’. The audience were very appreciative and it was pleasure to have no background distractions of a bar in the same room, which usually brings with it washing glasses and stocking up.

Saturday morning the sun shone on Arran revealing the true beauty of the island and encouraged us to take a short walk along the coastal path.
But no time for resting when you’re OUT THERE on tour! We boarded the ferry and bid farewell to Arran. Next stop Coatbridge. A much shorter journey once we had reached the mainland but complicated by a SatNav failure. Resorting to a manual option of a map book and roadsigns we successfully reached the Georgian Hotel, once again venue and our bed for the night. We had expected to eat in the bar before taking our seats but had taken no account of Scotland playing France at football and a 5pm kick-off didn’t make eating in the bar a peaceful choice. So we set off to see what Coatbridge (small suburb of Glasgow) could offer and the best we could find was a kebab supper i.e. with chips. We guessed that France had scored with the roars and cheers from the bar and it all ended 1- 0 to Scotland. The venue for the concert was a large function room at the side of the hotel with a bar. The audience were the largest and the nosiest of the tour and the promoter even had to ask people to be quite during the first support act (well done that man). As Eleanor took the stage they were far quieter. She was brave enough to sign ‘C’est bien’ in the second set, but it was well received particularly as the Scots had won.

The journey was getting shorter each day. Sunday 8th October and Edinburgh was our destination. Just a 40 minute drive and no boats! We had decided that Sunday required some luxury for us and we checked into the Sheraton Spa and spent most of the afternoon indulging in pure relaxation in the Spa.

After dinner in the hotel we walked the rain drenched street of the Holyrood district and after asking directions from a couple of students we found the Cabaret Voltaire club. A small venue with no windows, which appeared to be set in the vaults of a tall granite building. The audience were quiet and very appreciative and some had travelled far. A man buying CDs after the concert had travelled down especially from Aberdeen (about a 4 hour drive)and was quite a recent follower. In fact he had heard the Out There CD in a music shop and was immediately enthralled. Our own discovery of Eleanor had been while she was supporting the Homespun tour in 2005 and we were delighted to hear an acoustic version of ‘Effortless Cool’. We were also surprised to hear ‘I hear you breathing in’ from Yola, which we hadn’t heard live before.

Monday 9th October and heading back to England. We had more travelling today to get down to Doncaster and the A1 provided us with a scenic journey through the borders. Unfortunately not both of us could attend the concert in Doncaster as an Open University exam needed Sue in London. We had told Eleanor in Edinburgh so she wasn’t too surprised when Martin attended with another woman – his sister who lives near Doncaster. She had a wonderful evening and got her copy of ‘Out There’ signed for her birthday. Recognised a few people from the Wath-Upon-Dearne festival in April and Ruth joined Eleanor on stage for a duet of ‘Only a woman’s heart’.

The Hull venue was the smallest. The New Adelphi Club is situated in a residential area of Hull quite close to Pearson Park. The crowd was few in number (about 35), but they were appreciative and there was plenty of banter, particularly when Eleanor asked if an Irish woman with a van would be required to pay a parking ticket. We were rewarded for our request in Arran and Eleanor finally played an excellent version of ‘Trapped Inside’ -a delight! Perhaps in recognition of the local connections with Homespun she also played a Homespun number, ‘You are here’. We had hoped that Dave Rotheray would make an appearance but unfortunately he wasn’t in town.

Thursday 12th October, and we had finally reached the last destination of the tour (for us anyway) in Wolverhampton. We thought it only right that just before the concert, we presented Eleanor with a token of our appreciation and the most appropriate gift was a ‘set list bag’. The bag contained a bottle of Beaujolais wine, Jameison whisky, Champagne, coffee,milk and of course bread. In return she played ‘Its mine’, ‘My own sweet bed tonight’ and ‘Biochemistry’. We were also thrilled to hear ‘Memphis Tennessee’ and ‘Stray thoughts’ for the first time on this tour.

We never tired of seeing Eleanor play for 7 nights and there were always changes to the set list. In total we must have heard about 40 different songs with regular appearances of ‘Non smoking single female’, ‘Fields of Dublin 4’ and ‘Suffer so well’. It was all the fun we had expected it to be.
And of course the finale was to arrive home and find that we even got a mention on Eleanor’s latest Pod cast. What a holiday!

Sue & Martin

Interesting Links

Dave Randall's Review


(Balcony TV, Dublin)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Out There is up there so go out there, get into it and be where it’s at.

Eleanor McEvoy

(Released Sep 11 UK, Sep 8 ROI)

It never ceases to amaze me how some people are not only just creative but they can also set new standards as they do so. One such person who possesses such a talent is Eleanor McEvoy – and I rest my case with her latest album , OUT THERE.
OUT THERE is Eleanor’s 6th album and in keeping with the trend set on all her previous releases , it’s so much different from the one before. Each album I could happily return to and leave playing uninterrupted, but this latest offering is more complete as opposed to themed.
The opening track is also her latest single, Non Smoking Single Female. On first hearing I didn’t really like the song , but after a couple of takes all the clichés from those classified ads start to raise a smile. The backing music comes straight out of one of those 60s movies which always seemed to be set in London with voices and mouth movements invariably out of sync. The following track, To Sweep Away A Fool, is completely different and has a Streets of London style acoustic guitar running through it. Track 3 Wrong So Wrong, is as different again. It has a dabbed violin with ethereal synthesiser & warming bass delivering a steamy and sultry sound….. and so the diversity goes on ranging from Blues (The Way You Wear Your Troubles) through classical (Interlude) to Hill-Billy Country (Suffer So Well)
Look out for a stripped down cover of Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me. She really manages to get you to focus on the lyrics and just how true they still are today. The Fields of Dublin 4 asks questions of how The Celtic Tiger economy is changing the character of Dublin folk.
I’ve only had this album a few hours, but I do believe it’s Eleanor’s best yet. Current favourite track is So Much Trouble – a mandolin backed song about a wife’s discovery of her husband’s web of deceit.
Out There sees Eleanor McEvoy playing a whole range of instruments, ably backed by Liam Bradley on drums and the occasional whistle.
Recorded in Norfolk and produced at Metropolis, London.

Pete Whalley's Review

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Gig reviews , maybe. Question is, can he do interviews?


Celine Carroll

Every once in a while you'll hear a song on the radio which just hits you straight away. It will stay with you day-in, day-out and you will stop at nothing to get hold of a copy.
Such was the case with Apologise which was played on Mike Moloney's Irish Album on Ocean FM (Sligo/Donegal).

The combination of melody, vocals piano and violin would together melt the coldest of hearts.
Proof of the quality of the violinist requires just a namecheck - Maire Breatnach.
I hope it won't be too long before we associate that same quality mark with the singer and author of this song - Celine Carroll

Apologise can be found on an album called Itch. (Happy Trails Records).This album contains 10 quality songs all written,sung and produced by Celine. Celine also plays lead acoustic guitar and piano. Maire is featured on several other tracks the album.
Lyrics and samples are available on Celine Carroll's web site.

How I obtained the album is another story and I can safely say that I must have been the first person in the UK to get a copy. You should be able to buy Itch from Road Records and Nova Records, 9 Surrey Street, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN17 5AZ.

I met Celine in her hometown of Dublin the other day and she kindly agreed to take part in an exclusive interview.

Celine, Itch is a wonderful album and it has an almost ˜live" feel to it. How did you achieve this?
I purposely only had a few run- throughs of the songs with the band because I wanted everyone's playing to be spontaneous, kinda edgy, everyone playing off each other.'TIGHT BUT LOOSE' became our motto in the studio. In order to achieve this, we had one full rehearsal. When it came to recording, we set ourselves up in different rooms in the studio, put on our headphones and started playing. We could all hear each other playing. And it just sounded so natural and right.

I love the violin on Apologise and I've since discovered that the violinist is the legendary Maire Breatnach. When did you first encounter her and how did you get her to agree to perform on the album?
I always knew I was going to put a string arrangement on Apologise. I had recorded the strings myself on keyboards during the preproduction of this song. By the time I got to record it, together with the live feel of all the other songs, it was obvious that we'd have to record live strings. Enter Maire. My engineer, Ciaran Byrne recommended her. I called her up, had a chat, sent her my demos of the track. She liked the song and Bingo,came in and put it all down in a flash!!!!.
It was that simple.

Maire appears on other tracks too....
Yes, She layered violin and viola on Home, Itch, Slow My Wheels, Grey Sky Blue(awesome)and Flying .

While we're namedropping it would be wrong not to mention the other musicians involved...including yourself
My guitarist is Dave McGinley from Dublin, a wonderful musician, Paul Moore also from Dublin on bass and Jerry Fehily all the way from the Peoples Republic of Cork on drums. He's just amazing.
The entire band were great. Even Ciaran, my engineer played a mighty trombone solo on one track.

You've written all the songs on this album and your previous (debut) album Catch You As You Fall, have any of these been recorded by anyone else?
I've had one track from a previous album called Don't Get Me Wrong recorded by Frances Black. I think at the time, Frances was taking a departure from the folk angle that has appeared on all her other albums. She was going for a different feel on this particular album. Don't Get Me Wrong suited what she was doing and it became the title track of the album.

Is there a follow up album in the pipeline?
Not at the moment. Trying to shift this album on the masses is keeping me busy. But I do have a lot of songs ready to do battle. I just need someone to sponsor the musical war!!

You've no doubt been pleased with recent live shows, when is the next one and are there any hopes for touring Ireland and beyond?
We are in Bewley's Cafe Theatre in Dublin this Saturday, August 19th. It's a great gig because the venue is very intimate and cosy. Suits my style of playing and singing. After that, hopefully some gigs in the Autumn.

Your music has a rare quality of appealing to all ages. Is this fact reflected in the audiences at your live shows?
Absolutely. We get a great mix of ages. And I notice that everyone has their favourite song and they all pick different songs. With one exception-Bird In A Cage seems to win hands-down everytime with everyone.

A message to your fans (past, present & future)
Come on in, the door is still, and always will be, OPEN!!
Happy Trails,

Celine Carroll...Thank you

Editor's Note
I must thank Celine Carroll for agreeing to take part , without whom this interview would never have happened. I would also like to thank Bernadette from Celtic Cafe for encouraging me to do this.

Recommended Links
Celine Carroll
Maire Breatnach
Frances Black
Celtic Cafe
Ocean FM

Monday, July 03, 2006

It isn't rocket science - these tracks from Stevenson will send you off the rails

I would just like to call your attention to an unsigned singer/songwriter.
All I will say is think of Sarah McLachlan, give her a lovely Belfast accent and throw in a dash of disenchantment from male disappointments.
Now click on the image above and listen to Laura Stevenson.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Frances' singing strikes a chord at The Quays

The Lowry
Salford Quays
Thursday 29th June 2006

All the Frances Black concerts that I’ve attended to date have started with Stranger On The Shore and finished with You’ve Got A Friend. After all this time, the penny dropped. We meet as strangers and depart as friends.
A simple approach really, but it works because that was what this particular evening was - a meeting of friends.

A new album was on release to accompany her tour. This Love Will Carry is a double album containing many favourites from the past 12 years or so.

And as we’re not strangers any more, then there’s no need for Strangers on the Shore for openers, Instead we called up our old friends from the days of Arcady in the form of a brilliant delivery of I’d Cross The Wild Atlantic. Bass guitarist, Eoghan Scott, flexed his versatility muscles with a haunting keyboard intro and Gerry O’Connor weaving mystic violin patterns throughout.

And just as I was thinking how Frances takes to the ‘Trad Arr’ songs like a duck takes to water, we were back with the familiar setlist. Again, I wish I had made notes, but this was the Lowry, proper stage lighting and darkened auditorium meant that I couldn’t see even if I brought my pen..

As for stage lighting, red uplights against a big blue curtain at the back of the stage for most of the time, except for Rathlin Island. It was about the third song in and it is dedicated to the memory of her father, who she said had lovely icy blue eyes. He used to take the family back to Rathlin , his birthplace, for holidays. Upon return to Dublin , Frances was convinced there was a certain sadness in those eyes – and there’s a line in the song ”Cast a blue eye, back to Rathlin”. You can guess the colour of the lighting.

Time was also put aside for the memory of her dear mum, Patti. Although on this occasion, instead of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Frances sang an unaccompanied music hall song which her mum used to sing – title escapes me – but it’s about a girl who brought her boyfriend home and he left her for her mother !

Frances encourages the audience to sing along as the show progresses and we closed the first half by joining in with the chorus of This Love Will Carry . The interval left us mulling over a request to join her on stage for that Ronan Keating number in the second half.

First song of part two started with another ‘Trad Arr’. Another Black family musical link with The Corrs. (Her sister Mary sang No Frontiers in Liverpool last month). This time it was Foggy Dew, which leaves the The Corrs version off their Home album for dead.

When You Say Nothing At All saw seven volunteers on stage to assist Frances. I’ll just say that harmony prevailed, although not necessarily in a musical sense.

Overall it was a really well balanced set. As well as the ‘Trad Arrs’ mixed in with the standard Frances set there were a couple of pop classics in the form of Gabrielle’s Rise and Bill Withers’ Lean On Me and even some jigs and reels seeing Frances on the bodhran.
There was even a "Happy Birthday to You" sang by everyone present for Jimmy Smyth. I think he was 22.

Yours truly got a mention in the encore. I don’t remember telling her that we were going to the concert, but she knew somehow…….I just thought to myself , "Ain’t it good to know , you’ve got a friend"

Frances Black - Vocals
Gerry O'Connor - Violin /Mandolin
Eoghan Scott - Bass Guitar / occasional keyboards
Peter McKinney - Drums
Jimmy Smyth - Accoustic Guitar

Friday, June 23, 2006

Will the Farmers spread it around for Andy ?

(Andy Whitaker & Tiny Scientist)
Farmers Arms
Friday 23rd June 2006

A popular local pub was holding an engagement party and obligatory disco, so this was hardly the ideal venue for focussing upon the live act. The clientelle were more interested in the buffet, the World Cup, the next pint and maybe a bit of a bop to Dexy's Midnight Runners and the end of the night slowy than the talents of a singer/songwriter and his mate who travelled the best part of 40 miles to perform.

I encountered Andy courtesy of a fleeting friend request on and I accepted his invitation after discovering that he was due to play at this venue which was on my doorstep. I was recognised virtually on arrival and stayed for his opening half hour set.

First song (check his website) was 'An Individual Mind' - dedicated to yours truly - and it was duly appreciated by its recipient. Apart from the dedicated half dozen the rest of the pub were enveloped in their own discussions rather than the talented duo. Undeterred and all credit to their professionalism, they persevered. A few Beatles covers, plus others from the Monkees , Byrds (Mr. Tambourine Man), Pink Floyd (See Emily Play) and a finale (Shadows - Apache) saw them starting to win the people round.

If you do meet Andy at a disco-type gig , and if he does play Apache then just close your eyes and imagine he's playing the Fender Strat because it's hard to believe that such sounds can come out of an acoustic guitar.

We left at the end of the first set but I have now doubt that an entertaining evening was about to develop and that quite a few of the party will start to spread the word about the talents of Mr. Andy Whitaker.

If he appears at a venue nearby again and if he gets the chance to sell his own wares then meet me in the queue for tickets.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you MR ANDY WHITAKER

Monday, June 12, 2006

Caroline ruled the waves on 199 - now she touches the Sky on 199

As from Monday 12th June 2006 The legendary Radio Caroline is now available on SKY Channel 0199. No other channel would be appropriate because this lady once ruled the waves on 199 Medium Wave.
The commercial radio stations should take note that you probably wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for Caroline.
Over forty years on, Caroline is still here - Britain's first and only album station.
It's brilliant - all that nostalgia along with plenty of quality new stuff as well without the shackles of a controlled playlist and script driven presenters.
But don't take my word for it - tune in and support free spirited radio.
The Legend Lives On!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mary Black brings a Full Tide to fill the Phil

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Wednesday 31st May 2006

Thanks to this commitment of mine towards supporting all the founder members of the 'Woman’s Heart' phenomenon, I’ve managed to collect one or two albums from Mary Black.
I’ve been so focussed on one or two of the others that I took Mary’s albums for granted and ignored them somewhat.

A couple of months ago I received a listing from the Liverpool Philharmonic and Mary was due to appear at the end of May. There was an autograph missing on my AWH album sleeve so the tickets had to be bought.

The early start (7:30) meant there wasn’t much time to dash home from work and get back into city centre Liverpool in good time for the show. That prospect removed any pre-gig excitement, so as we found our seats the frame of mind was to just take in whatever comes.

In no time at all the auditorium lights dimmed and the midnight blue stage lighting was all that prevented a full house from experiencing a total blackout. The four members of her backing band took their positions before Mary entered the stage to generous, yet polite, applause.

Singer Mary’s first musical contribution was the harmonica bars that open ‘Land of Love’, the first track on her latest album, Full Tide.
The ascent from my pre-gig lethargy towards euphoria hit vertical as the first note was struck, such is the magic behind a live act.
Her second song followed straight away. It was an old favourite - (printed on the setlist as 'Adam')

Then came the spoken word.
She explained that was how things would pan out for the evening. A few songs from her latest album filtered in with the old favourites. It was while she was talking that I drew immediate comparisons with her sister Frances. Mary's band had a drummer, but the rest of the band were placed in the same positions.
Keyboard player on her left, then the bass player, back left, drummer behind and lead guitarist on her right.

Mary confidently throws in a good story between songs albeit more aimed towards the songwriter. There were mentions about the family. Indeed, her son Danny was listed as accompaniment on this tour but he wasn’t available on this particular evening as he was representing Dublin playing in a sporting fixture against Wexford.

The disappointment over his absence soon evaporated when her daughter Roisin joined in for a couple of songs. If Roisin follows in Mum’s footsteps she won’t go short of money that’s for sure.

The first half ended on a couple of personal favourites, 'No Frontiers' and 'Stand Up'. No Frontiers was penned by Jimmy McCarthy and it was recently covered by The Corrs on their Unplugged album. 'Stand Up' is from her latest album.
Towards the end of the second half 'Real You' (from Full Tide) drifted into a jam by the band where each member was spotlighted for a solo stint closing with Bill Shanley giving a guitar solo that would have left Carlos Santana gasping for breath.

The main body of the show consisted of two halves of about 9 songs each and two returns for encores. It would be difficult for anyone to find fault in around two hours of top-class entertainment.

I consider myself lucky to have witnessed a legend in action and I spent the rest of the night wondering why I’d let Mary Black just pass me by.

The Band
Pat Crowley - Keyboards / Accordian
James Blennerhassett - Bass / Occasional Keyboards
Martin Ditcham - Percussion
Bill Shanley - Lead Acoustic Guitar
Mary Black - Vocals/ Occasional Harmonica/Tambourine/Shaker/Bodhran
Roisin O'Reilly - Guest Vocals

Setlist (as per printed list nicked off the stage)
1. Land of Love
2. Adam
3. Siul A Run
4. St. Kilda
5. Columbus
6. Your Love
7. Saw You Running
8. No Frontiers
9. Stand Up

1. Bright Blue Rose
2. By The Time It Gets Dark
3. Make You Feel My Love
4. Carolina Rua
5. Don't Let Me Come Home A Stranger
6. Katie
7. Summer Sent You
8. Real You
9. Flesh & Blood

Lay Down/Just Once in a Very Blue Moon/Past the Point of Rescue

2nd Encore featured Ellis Island
and she definiteley sang Moon River somewhere in the set.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tuesday : Duke's singing Stays With Me 'Til Dawn

Picture :

Wrexham Central
Tuesday 23rd May 2006

The uninitiated would be forgiven for thinking that after their first glance at Duke Special that they're in for a musical performance away from the norm and difficult to comprehend. They'll be partly right but they'll be wrong on the comprehension issue.
In a musical world where it is almost impossible to be unique, Duke has perfected his own sound which is melodic, clear and easy on the ear.
I first saw him as a solo act supporting Juliet Turner on UK tour early in 2005. Last night he was headlining with an accompanist who was as daft as a brush.

It was one of those nights where you just knew you were going to be entertained. A brief examination of furniture on the stage before the duet made their appearance added weight to that assumption.

It looked more like an antique bric-a-brac shop window than a conventional musician's set. The drum kit comprised two big bass drums, one at the front, the other was at the percussionist's right at around head level. There were a couple of old fashioned gramophones placed either side of the stage. Duke's tatty old upright piano was void of varnish. It looked like something you'd pay someone to get rid of. There was a transistor radio placed on top of it. Centre front of the stage was a broomstick thing with a bell at the top various other bits and bobs attached, finished off with a battered old pan lid at the bottom.

After a couple of support acts, Duke and his accompanist, Chip Bailey, entered the stage. Chip sat behind his drumkit, shoulder length crimped hair, adopting a somewhat disinterested pose while Duke wound one of the gramophones up to speed before taking his place at the piano. Then piano was bashed and drums were clattered as we were launched into action with 'Wake Up Scarlett'(from his My Villain Heart EP).

Prior to their arrival I was receiving verbal earache off the missus. There were threats of "I'm not coming to any more of these!".

At the start of the third song, 'Last Night I Nearly Died' (another from My Villain Heart), Chip came from behind his drumkit with a Tesco carrier bag in hand. After delving in and flicking the first old egg whisk over his left shoulder he produced another and a cheese grater. These were used as percussion for the first line of the chorus. Second line he turns and bashes the cymbals with the whisk in a state of rage. Tears of laughter were streaming down my wife's face..I think all was forgiven.

The cluttered broomstick made an appearance in a couple of other songs. It was addressed and played in a manner similar to the way a joiner studies and shapes a piece of wood.

When I first heard Duke perform in Manchester last year there was one song which stayed with me for months afterwards, that was 'Freewheel' (from his Lucky Me EP). He sang it again last night - and that song alone is worth getting out of the house to witness live.

Procedings closed with two song encore. 'Goodnight Irene' an oldie possibly dedicated to the members of the audience with links to The Principality. And 'John Lennon Love' from his latest EP, 'Your Vandal' . Audience particpation, was invited at first, then it was demanded (and obtained) by Chip.

For me, the biggest disappointment was the audience. Their attentiveness and behaviour were faultless - their number was less than 40 though. Duke Special & Chip deserve full houses wherever they play.

My souvenirs from the show :- his latest EP , 'Your Vandal', a cheese grater with egg whisk (plus a sheet of instructions) and the live version of Freewheel still playing in my mind.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

He's got a good face for radio

The guy in the hat at the back is our son Paul. He's currently working for Liverpool's Radio City on work experience from Liverpool John Moore's University.
... and here is where the picture came from.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Kwik Kat , a break, then a CD

(supported by Kat Flint)
The Citadel, St. Helens
Sat 25th March 2006

According to the details printed on the tickets, Cara Dillon, with no advertised support act, was due on stage at 8pm. So after watching a couple of blokes walking around a well furnished stage, we presumed that a young girl doing a line check on an accoustic guitar was just one of the road crew. Even when she stood up and bashfully uttered words to the fact that she wasn't Cara Dillon, it still didn't seem to prove that our intial thoughts were wrong.
But she then opened up with a line "You're 72.8% water..." our ears pricked up. Not only did she sing well but her guitar playing was excellent. This articulate lyricist hails from Aberdeen and she now lives in London. Half way through her set, I was already hooked and just as I was thinking about buying CDs from the suitcase after the show she announced that she'd actually released an EP-CD but forgot to bring them with her.
She closed by announcing the impending arrival of Cara and her 6-man backing band and apologised unfoundedly for just having an acoustic guitar. Especially as she played as though she'd been born with it.
I make a point of supporting the support acts at most of the gigs which I attend. There were definitely no exceptions here. So please take note of this young lady and I hope it's not too long before she tours (with CDs to hand) on her own.
Her name : KAT FLINT

After a short interval, Cara and her band arrived on stage. Cara was positioned centre front and she was encircled by 6 band members. Their names I didn't take note of, but reading from left to right as we saw them were, Sam Lakeman, Cara's husband, on keyboards. just behind him was an acoustic guitar/mandolin player. The drummer was directly behind Cara. He looked remarkably like Chas (from Chas 'n' Dave). Back right was a lead guitarist who had hands the size of dinnerplates. An amazing player (and backing vocalist) nonetheless. To his left (far back right as we saw it) was a bass guitarist and occasional double bass player. Front right was the 'wind section' He opened on flute and occasionally played accordian, but for quite a few numbers he played Uillean pipes. A brilliant instrument - similar to bagpipes but easier on the ear.
As a rule, I try compile a setlist. But I bought my tickets for this gig ages ago and guess where we were sat.
The Citadel is a cozy theatre. The stage is about the same depth as the auditorium.
If I stuck my foot out from where I was sitting I could have kicked the mike stand over. So if I got my notepad out and scribbled the songs down I probably would have put her off. And besides, she posted the setlist for her tour on her webpage. (I'll list that one later). There was a slight change in the order and there were a couple of deviations. Also, as I was sat in the best seat in the house, I had no desire to write a list.
Cara is primarily considered to be a folk singer but I believe that is just a convenient pigeon hole for those who like to label people. She does, however, have many "trad arrs" in her repertoire. Indeed she opened the show with "She Moved Through The Fair". But there is more to her (and her band) than folk alone. The written word cannot properly describe her sound. There are some songs which take your heart & mind by the hand and lead them on a journey into that nice place and leave you there. Cara's angelic voice weaves through the instrumental crescendos with 'ooohs' and 'aaahs' at the end of mystic stories. A fine example of these journeys of the mind is Broken Bridges off her Sweet Liberty album.
Cara has 3 albums on release at the moment, namely, her eponymous debut album, Sweet Liberty and After the Morning. All three were well represented and songs from her latest album, After The Morning, were very well arranged, presented and received.
I've no intention of describing every song, but there are these few songs which really merit a mention.
October Winds was written as a tribute to her late father. This song hit me on first hearing. It can be found on her latest album. It's written by Cara and Sam and it's chorus has a line that says(presumably) her father, will be missed when the October Winds begin to blow. There is a brilliant piano/keyboard piece in the middle and it closes with "And I'm dreaming about my father, safe in my heart for evermore."
Never in a Million Years is her current single and it is getting regular airplay on BBC R2. So just batter your local radio station with e-mails and demand that they play it.
Husband Sam has been busy over the past year or so. He's learned to play the guitar. And to prove how good he has become, he took a break from the keyboards and joined Cara and the lead guitarist at the front of the stage for Grace (I think it was that one).
Needless to say the audience were attentive and appreciative throughout the 1 and half hour performance. They called her back for an encore which began with a mental blank and ensuing fits of laughter. And fair play to her coming back from it all to deliver The Emigrant's Farewell with due respect and reverence.
Her on tour setlist follows. There was one noticable omission, Bold Jamie (from After the Morning), which I had wished she had played. The omission just made me feel even more hungry for her next appearance at a nearby venue. In the meantime, I'll just keep spinning CD's CDs !

Cara Dillon's Tour Setlist
(subject to deviation)
Black Is The Colour
Here's A Health
She's Like The Swallow
October Winds
Donald Of Glencoe
Where Are You
some "Tunes"
Never In A Million Years
Garden Valley
There Were Roses
Bold Jamie
I Wish You Well
Green Grows The Laurel
The Emigrants Farewell

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Appetites whet for Juliet's duet, her best yet, at the Bury Met

Photo : Andy Lock

Bury Met
Friday 24th February 2005

If music be the food of love then this was a grilled fillet steak washed down by a vintage red.
The starter wasn't all that bad either. Pierce Pettis was his name - he's from Alabama. I'd only heard of Pierce Pettis by name only before but I was impressed by this singer/songwriter's performance. 3 guitars, 2 harmonicas were used in his set. His singing was delivered in a style not too dissimilar to Bruce Springsteen and the songs were interspersed with song descriptions and witticisms akin to Woody Allen.
Towards the end of his set, JT's accompaniest and guitar player extraordinairre, Brian Grace joined Pierce for a spectacular Bob Dylan jammming session. Juliet herself crept on stage for BVs, albeit, initially, for the wrong song.
One song, Alabama 1959, really stood out. This can be found on an album called Great Big World, which I bought after the show. Closer examination of the sleeve notes revealed credits to Juliet Turner & Brian Grace along with thanks to Bob Harris from BBC Radio2. So if you want to hear more about Pierce Pettis, then take time to e-mail Bob and ask for Alabama 1959 - it's a song which does "exactly what is says on the can".

After the interval Juliet and Brian took their positions on their trademark high chairs. And as Tony and I exchanged guesses on what the opening song was going to be, she proved us both wrong with Paint a Picture. This song was dedicated to a child of a couple of friends of hers who was approaching 1 yr old at the time of this show.
Due to the darkened auditorium I couldn't jot down her setlist. So although this report only picks out the highlights, I have to say that this was probably the best Juliet concert to date. Juliet has 4 albums on release and each one was visited. Pizza and Wine was particularly outstanding. The song, the lyrics and the delivery really ping the heart strings. It originally appeared on her Let's Hear It For Pizza album but there is a terrific version on Juliet Turner Live which should be available in all good music emporia.
Peirce Pettis entered the stage to provide acoustic guitar accompaniment for a new song, Joy. For some reason I glanced at the stage lighting during this number and noticed that the stage floor was green and orange. How appropriate for an Irish performer. The next song, Beyond the Back Yard, was introduced as being written about the uncomforatble feelings which were felt at the times of height of the troubles in the North of Ireland. A quick glance back on to the stage saw red and blue.
Pierce returned to provide BVs for a traditional English folk song, Sweet Bride. What a brilliant example of the fact that the love of music knows no bounds. A English traditional folk song delivered by Juliet (N. Ireland), Brian (Dublin) and Pierce (Alabama).
Juliet has made a big effort to reduce the amount of talking between each song (I like a good talker by the way). But there was time for friendly banter between JT and the audience (mostly Tony). When she quizzed him as to who he was, he said "Graham".......if that wasn't embarrassing enough, JT replied "Oh, Graham Ashmore". I spent the rest of the evening under the seat.
Juliet's set lasted around 2 hours (seemed like 5 minutes). Her previous shows gifted us with no more than 12 songs and although I didn't keep a list there could have been around 15. The encore comprised two songs. The first of which was a solo rendition of TomWaits' I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You, then Brian joined her for Vampire.
A couple of the dear old favourites were noticable by their absence, namely Take the Money & Run and Belfast Central although Dr. Fell was preceeded by a rather tongue in cheek, "This is our favourite" introduction.
There were just two empty seats in the row behind us. The ticket holders rang in sick apparently. So by my calculation there were 223 people present - all of whom went home very happy.

Setlist - Thanks to Derek Hall (JT Followers List)

1. Pick A Story
2. Business As Usual
3. Dr. Fell
4. Sorry To Say
5. Season Of The Hurricane
6. Pizza & Wine
7. Burn The Black Suit
8. The Girl With A Smile
9. Joy
10. Beyond The Backyard
11. 1987
12. Sweet B Bride
13. Everything Beautiful Is Burning

14. I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You
15. Vampire

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Can't catch a re-match of the big match which none watch on an ice-patch pitch in Nantwich

FA Vase 5th Round
Jackson Avenue, Nantwich
Saturday 11th February, 2006

Match postponed - Frozen Pitch

A lovely,sunny, yet crisp, February afternoon,the expectancy was high and there was magic in the air. The mighty Bucks were due to play their old former Cheshire League sparring partners, Nantwich Town. Neighbours Crewe Alex and Stoke were playing away. And this was one the 8 fixtures in the 5th round of the FA Vase.
Word on the streets of this sleepy Cheshire town was that the attendance would top 1000 where normally 100 or so offer their support.
Sadly, the fixture fell victim to the British weather and a frozen pitch was to blame for the match being postponed. The tie has been re-arranged for Saturday 18th February.............and thanks to family commitments, I can't go !

FA Vase 5th Round Results
AFC Sudbury 0 Bury Town 2
Wimborne Town 1 Pickering Town 2
Nantwich Town v Buxton postponed - rescheduled for Sat 18th Feb
Cammel Laird 1 VCD Athletic 0
Hillingdon Borough 4 Mildenhall Town 0
Arnold Town 0 Crook Town 1
Winchester City 3 Newmarket Town 4 (aet)
Squires Gate 2 Newcastle Benfield 1

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ashville fail to pass the Bucks

Click to zoom in

FA Vase 4th Round
The Silverlands, Buxton
Saturday 21st January, 2006

H-T: 1-0
Att: 572

The picture above was taken after a 'difference of opinion' and the referee had just called over his assitants to verify the cause. The outcome was that Ashville (white shirts) got a player sent off (Crosby) and Buxton had their No.4. Hutchinson yellow carded.

Mark ReedMark Reed, Buxton's No.10 and by far the most gifted player on the pitch, had put the mighty Bucks 1-0 up just a few minutes earlier.
However, despite their numerical advantage, Buxton failed to capitalise and that's how the score remained.
As you can see, this was played on a heavy pitch, but it was an entertaining game none-the-less. Both teams carved out plenty of chances, most noteable were just before Buxton had scored when Ashville hit the post.
Scott HartleyBuxton keeper Scott Hartley kept the visitors at bay with some fine saves. Ashville created many chances, in the first half in particular, as they launched several searching far post crosses from the right wing. Hartley and the Buxton defence were equal to this and as the Buxton No. 2, Winfindale, began to dominate, Ashville's attacks became a little less threatening.
Mark ReedMark Reed could have put the game to bed in the second half after stealing the ball from a fumbling goalkeeper. He then watched his goalbound tap-in cleared off the line by an Ashville defender who appeared from nowhere to clear the ball and concede just a corner.
In the dying minutes Ashville should have forced extra time but the one-on-one chance with the Buxton keeper saw the Ashville striker spoon his effort over the bar.
On paper this should have been a walk in the park for the mighty Bucks and they created enough chances to improve the scoreline. But Ashville were a credit to the West Cheshire League and this afternoon's performance belies their mid-table position.
Buxton's reward for this victory is £1,500 and an away fixture against Nantwich Town on Saturday February 11th.