To be fair I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had only seen Christine Collister before with Clive Gregson; never on her own and I wasn’t sure how she would come over as a solo artist. She started off with an unaccompanied song and then did a couple of numbers which wouldn’t have been out of place in cabaret. “Who can do the review?” asked Pete. “Not sure”, I said “but we should get someone to do it”. Immediately afterwards Christine sang “Deeper Well” and I was knocked out. A brilliant
percussive tambourine and a strong gospel voice came together to produce one of the best songs from an unaccompanied singer I have ever heard. That did it for me - “Hey, Pete…. I’ll do the review”
Ok then, this is the review; I’d better start at the beginning, with the floor singers. I started off with the graveyard spot, which Paul thought was very appropriate for the “Necropolis Railway” and then we treated to a couple of songs from Ian Sutherland,
a really accomplished singer/guitarist who is always in form. I was most impressed with his new rendition of “If I was a Carpenter” –
an effective tuning with some good bass runs. Request to hear it again, please!
Then there was the BICA Band. who started off with a new unaccompanied song – fresh out of the stable
with some nice harmonies – another one I want to hear again! All in all a nice set – we really should get to hear more from them.
And then on to Christine Collister …..
The most striking feature of her performance was the variety of songs. She has built up a collection of songs from a number of top-notch songwriters and put her own individual style to them. Don MacClean’s “Vincent” was perfect for demonstrating her vocal range, but it was songs such as Leonard Cohen’s “Halleluja” which brought out her
ability to deliver the powerful emotive stuff. Then there was the Tom Wait’s composition – “Broken Bicycle”, another great song with impeccable delivery and a very accomplished guitar accompaniment. She finished off the first half with Colin Linden’s “Sad and Beautiful World” a great bluesy number.
One of the things that impressed me about her performance was how relaxed and friendly she came over. A nice easy chatty manner,
between some wonderful songs; and the second half lived up to the expectations of the first with another collection of memorable songs such as Keith Hancock’s “It’s all Just Talk”, Richard
Thompson’s “When Will I Be Simple Again” and then another bluesy number “Kicking In My Stall”, a song that she co-wrote with Helen Watson.
It was then I realised why I volunteered to do the review. I always like to do the blues reviews, and here was
one of the greatest female blues voices I’ve heard in a long
time. However, she's not strictly a blues singer. Her style is somewhere in
between blues, folk, soul and jazz. Something for everyone. A rare treat.