Reviews 2018

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Dave Gibb

Les Jones 20 April 2018

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I last saw Dave Gibb at a folk festival about 4 years ago. My abiding memory was what a superb guitarist he was – his fingers always seemed to be going twice as fast as the tune. Tonight, I was determined to sit at the front and watch how he did it. Disaster – I had forgotten he is left handed. I watched but I couldn’t work out what he was playing. I spent all night thinking – how can anyone play that well when the guitar is facing the wrong way.

He kicked off with George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun. “To get my fingers warmed up”. Played at double speed. If that didn’t warm them up nothing would. His next “The Shores of Paradise” showed why he needed the warm up as he inserted the “Twiddley Bits” in between the verses. Things calmed down somewhat for him to play a song he wrote for his wife Isobel. “Mellow Song” was what it says on the tin with a lovely jazzy feel to it. The next song sets out Dave’s experiences with memory loss – what he was intending to do at any given moment is a mystery to him. When I asked what it was called he could have said he had forgotten the title, but he spoilt it by saying it was so new there was no title yet and he invited me to supply one. You may live to regret that Dave. At home he is part of a song/writer’s group – which encourages its members to compose songs. As a history “freak” he had recently read “Stalingrad” by Anthony Beevor, (One I can certainly recommend), the resulting song is haunting and well captures what must have been a terrible experience for those involved on both sides. “Lady Eleanor” the 1971 song by Lindisfarne has Dave feels always represented the quintessential British folk song of the era. The way he performs it he is right. Bryn Phillips requested a talking blues “Pensioners’ Do” (which oddly I had been listening to in car on the way in). According to Dave with a few minor additions it reflects a gig he played for a group of senior citizens by the end of the soup course had erupted into a riot. True Honest. The first half finished with a lovely version of the old standard St. James Infirmary Blues.

“Privateer” began the first half. As with a fair few of Dave’s songs there is a chorus. He went through the words with us but what he thinks is easy is not quite so and when it came most of us could only manage a few mumbles. Exhorted is defined as - strongly encourage or urge (someone) to do something – SING certainly came out that way. I was scared. “The Jerking dance” gave him another chance to show his wonderful guitar playing – followed as it was by the Jimmy McCarthy song “No Frontiers”. In Wanlockhead, Dave’s home there is a banjo player. I mention this because Dave said so and he was the writer of the next song. I did not get the title. Said banjo man has an alternative theory about the Wild West to that portrayed on the screen. I learned something new about John Wayne and Audie Murphy to name but two. I shall move on. Avalon is Dave’s take on The Round Table in dropped D tuning. There followed another request – but the guilty party was not named. “Numpty Song” tells of the repercussions of imbibing in too much strong liquor. We can start a list of who might have requested it based on this information alone. “The Goodbye Song” is a sweet little ditty normally sung as an encore – but according to Dave he thought he would put it in the set as he felt he may not get an encore. I think he was kidding because the applause was deafening. The real encore “A Gypsy Called Davy” – is the antithesis of the usual Gypsy villain against the fair maiden songs – where the victim is an innocent gypsy lad and the villain is a far from fair village maiden with “Dyed yellow hair, either that or she dyed her roots grey”. A wonderful line. With that we all went home but not before buying some cds.

The evening had begun with an extended set by residents Nothing to Prove. Traditionally as we had an impending birthday they led us in Happy Birthday this time for Chris Page who probably doesn’t look that old? Paul sang the Steve Tilston song “A Pretty Penny” before Rob gave us a lecture on Fannies throughout the ages. It was educational to say the least. All this was to introduce his two-tune medley “Fanny Power and Fanny Frail” – it gets better every time. Debbie has been taking a larger singing role in the band of late and the Sandy Denny song “Crazy Man Michael” showed that she should continue to do so. Derry claims “Folk Festival Virgin” is non-autobiographical. I don’t believe him. Paul finished the set with the old Jim Croce song “Bad Bad Leroy Brown”. Bryn Phillips gave his blues “I Feel So Sad” followed by “Around and Around” both of which have singable choruses. Dave Gibb take note. (I only say this because he is a lovely man who can take a joke – I hope). There was of course a raffle – I mention this because I won a HUGE box of biscuits. About time too.

It was a later than usual finish but who cares because:

A Wonderful Night Was Had by All.
Here’s to The Next One.