Reviews 2003

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Bill Caddick
Bob Hadley 3 October 2003
It has been quite some time since Bill Caddick had played at the Woodman. The club was full to comfortable and the atmosphere warm and friendly when he made his long awaited return. Ian excelled himself with his best introduction yet. Sadly I was buying my raffle tickets at the time and missed it, so I look forward to seeing it on the "Quotes" page.

Bill sang ‘Jack Pudding’ to get things going and from its busy delivery we were led around the tour of old Wolverhampton that came with ‘Oller Buller’ – an unaccompanied song that brought nostalgia without indulgence. In the introduction to ‘One Hand On The Wheel’ Bill gave a superb impression of the late Johnny Cash and we were being treated to patter that was informative and entertaining. Bill sang songs that had a familiarity all of their own and, all too soon, the ‘bookends’ of ‘Sunny Memories’ and ‘The Writing of Tipperary’ brought the first set to a close. ‘The Writing of Tipperary’ is a masterpiece of historical story telling and is a wonderful example of the songwriter’s craft. It’s surely hard enough to write and sing one song at a time, but two...! It would be unsurprising to report that the first set received sustained and sincere applause.

The second set featured many of the songs from ‘Wild West Show’, which – in my opinion – is Bill’s finest album, along with some newer ones. I felt that the treatment of some of the songs was a little harsh and the sensitivity of ‘Eights and Aces’ seemed dulled as a result. ‘Two Fisted Heroes’ was another tribute to Bill’s song-writing genius and showed that it was possible to make a meaningful song out of otherwise meaningless clichés. ‘Stay On The Line’ features Mick on the maracas and left many feeling that he should stick to the banjo! ‘Speak To Me Gently’ grabbed the attention of the audience in a subtle way so that ‘Lily Marlene Walks Away’ and ‘Flat Earth’ were given the full attention they deserved. ‘Aqaba ‘ and ‘Old Man’s Song’ were done so well that ‘Unicorns’ crept in almost un-noticed – sung in Bill’s own way without trading on the song’s familiarity. There is a superstition that if you dream of seeing a Unicorn then you will be blessed with the gift of creativity and tonight bore that out. ‘John O’Dreams’ almost unexpectedly, brought the evening to a close, followed again by sustained applause

An evening in the company of Mr. Caddick’s music is like wearing a warm friendly jacket. The songs that he has written are finding their own niche and are as unique as the style in which they are played. This was an excellent night and many of Bill’s songs were echoing around as I headed home across the ‘Rabbit Run’. I hope that we won’t have to wait another fifteen years before Bill Caddick is back at the Woodman.