Reviews 2007

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Clive Carroll
Trevor Durden 9 March 2007

As Ann Munro said “it’s nice to see the club so full – even if it is only our friends”. Nevertheless, the place was buzzing with anticipation.

The evening got off to a splendid start with an extended spot by the BICA Band, who were in sparkling form. They had clearly chosen their material with great thought to amply showcase their collective and individual strengths. Their set concluded with Corinne and Ann performing the Julie Matthews song “Thorn Upon The Rose”. This was quite outstanding and begs the question, why don’t they do more songs together.  

And so the time had come! There was just sufficient time for a quick visit to the bar before Clive took to the stage. His very perfunctory sound check, all twelve bars of it, had many guitarists of sound mind and body start to dilute their beer with their tears. It’s the first time I had heard a sound check get a round of applause!  

Clive started off with a slow blues followed by a frenetic jig. Two totally different styles of music and each played with his customary élan. There then followed a piece of music that evolved from a session with Chris Martin of “Coldplay”. Once again, totally different from what had gone before.  

One of Clive’s great influences was the legendary Chet Atkins and he regaled us with the story of his visit to Nashville to attend a convention of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society. This gave him the opportunity to demonstrate a varied selection of picking techniques with vignettes of “The Claw,” “Whispering” and “Mr Sandman” before finishing with a breathtaking rendition of “Cannonball Rag.”  

As a complete contrast, Clive then delved into the Elizabethan lute music of John Dowland with “Prelude” and “The Right Honourable Earl of Essex’s Galliard.” It probably goes without saying that the playing was impeccably sensitive and was, for my taste, the highlight of the first half. Moving from the sixteenth century we then had a wonderfully jazz based version of “The Hungarian Dance” followed by a melancholic slow air entitled “Black Moon.” This brought the first half to an end and was greeted with well-earned rapturous applause.  

We were all waiting with great expectation for the second half, waiting perhaps a little too long? Nevertheless, armed with a fistful of requests Clive was greeted back to the stage with fulsome applause.  

“Song for Chris Perry” started the set. No lament this, it was very country in feel and was a fitting tribute to a friend that had died at an early age. Moving on, we had what I can only describe as a boogie, reminiscent of the classic “Anji.” Clive obviously has a long memory and asked for, and got, percussion from the “Naughty Corner.” The piece got faster and faster and the percussion section knew when they were beaten.  

Moving swiftly on, the next piece was dedicated to Tommy Emmanuel, with whom Clive plays on a regular basis. From a few pieces of wood and six strands of wire Clive managed to replicate the various parts of an orchestra with a magnificent rendition of “Blue Moon.”

I  believe there would probably be a riot if Clive did not play “Duelling Banjos.” This was, at least, the fourth time I had seen this and I still don’t believe what I see and hear and I’m sure that it gets faster each time!   “Arial Discoveries” is a complex percussive piece played with the left hand. I have to say that it is not to my taste although I appreciated the difficulty of the technique.  

We then returned to the sixteenth century for more lute music enticingly entitled “The Frog Galliard” which gave the Naughty Corned the chance of retribution with various amphibious sound effects! All to soon we came to the final piece in the set, a jig entitled “McGlinchies,” played super-quick with unbelievable precision.  

It was inevitable that Clive would be called back for an encore. It therefore came as a surprise and delight that he burst into song having first established that there was no tape running! His voice was very pleasant and ideally suited to the country song “ Big River .” He should certainly sing more. It was back to more familiar ground however for the finale. “Secrets” is a piece of music that Clive wrote for his O-Level exam………..I think he passed! This was a very fitting end to the evening and was greeted with a standing ovation with the applause ringing around the room for several minutes.  

Clive Carroll is much, much more that a superb technician. He is hugely personable and highly entertaining and can therefore be fully appreciated and enjoyed on many levels. This was a thoroughly captivating and enjoyable evening. Clive is, and always will be, a welcome addition to the clubs programme.