Reviews 2016

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Keith Donnelly

Les Jones 06 May 2016

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As the chimes of Left Bank Two by the Noveltones faded into the distance yet again some scene setting would help understanding of the evening. It was Keith Donnelly’s first time at the club but he made the place his own right from the start. A friendly man who endeared himself to us all. It is best if you can summon up a South Shields accent in your head - well South Shields with a bit of Leamington Spa really. Keith and his accent come from the cold north but he has relocated to Leamington – probably to make it easier to get to The Woodman.

At Keith’s request Velvet Green actually began the evening by singing one of his songs – Swansong - once part of his repertoire with Waterfall. And here I quote one of the best lines of the evening. VG are on stage nervous about performing in front of the master – what might the consequences be? “I’ll sue” says Keith “No I’m Sue” says Mrs Matthews. There was much laughter, but I suppose you had to be there at the time. Anyway after that they then sang one of Paul’s songs and retired. (Though probably not for good). Bryn surprised us all by following VG giving us two of his wonderful songs. The first time I have seen him sing in the first half. I was confused but there was a reason – of which more to come.

Many of us had seen Keith before either on his own – with Waterfall or more recently as the duo Dark Horses with Flossie Malavialle. An aside here - in an attempt to recall some song titles I looked at Keith’s Wikipedia entry. It came up in Welsh!!!! It had been one of those evenings I suppose. If I told you he sang five songs in each half it might suggest either they were very long or he was not value for money. Neither is the case. Keith is a wonderful entertainer and musician who had us all falling about with laughter from first to last. Most of his songs were self-penned and were very funny indeed and some more poignant. I particularly liked Salmon Are Back (in the Coaly Tyne again); Another World; and Whitby Town. There was a wonderful medley of “popular songs” from the world of show business which he had “re-written” for Jasper Carrott; brilliant. Ghost Eiders in the Sky – you guess. Most poignant – Jesus at the Airport. But the best song of the night for me was Everybody Wants to be a Bear. A children’s song which had us all laughing joining in and singing all the way home.

Normally I would say he told us stories between the songs but really I think it was the other way round; he sang songs between the stories. There was Irish Stew/Apple Crumble and a waiter – “there it is”. His days at Warwick University – “I’ve got new socks”. The Whitby Lay-by – “Did you say left at the island?”. “Has your plane landed yet?”. “Soupe du jour” and so many variations on town and village names “Ugley W.I.” etc.

There were two halves with Nothing to Prove playing after the raffle for a change because Debbie’s Goddaughter had travelled all the way from Poole to see them and she was caught in the traffic. Isn’t that nice. Waiting I mean not…

Another superb night when a wonderful time was had by all. Here’s to the next one.