Reviews 2017

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Keith Donnelly


Les Jones 03 November 2017

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Where to begin?

There are excellent songwriters; accomplished guitarists; tuneful singers; entertaining raconteurs and funny comedians. Keith is certainly all of these. All these and much much more. His mind seems to work at a fantastic rate, leaping from one subject to another. Moving from prepared material to complete improvisation and you never quite know which is which. You have hardly finished laughing at the last joke or funny story when he launches into the next. Taking notes for this review was near impossible. Describing to you what happened is even more difficult. But here goes.

Within 30 seconds or so of his introduction the whole audience was laughing. We did not stop until the break.

He began with stories of Jake Thackray’s cousin who he says fell off a Hovercraft; Jake himself who drove away in someone else’s Morris Minor Traveller thinking it to be his – but it wasn’t – in addition it had a baby in the back which wasn’t his either; Chicken Omelette can’t be explained; Kale in profusion; Radio 2 which he feels is getting more like Radio1; The way good songs are ruined by strange mixes. The Boxer intro in 16/15 time. (Yeah, I know); The effect on a café full of people when he put Eye of the Tiger on the juke box 4 times in succession Tiger Feet and then Eye of the Tiger again; His quick rendition of “Cry of the Eider”.

He then sang a song which he titled “Precognitive Selective Retrograde Amnesic Deja Vu” although I’m not sure I believe him.

His visual joke was funny but does not translate to the page.

His experiences with China Airways and flying with smaller airlines in Australia preceded the beautiful Waterfall song “Three Birds”. This was the only serious moment before the interval.

The second set was as Keith himself admitted was less manic. Still plenty of chat and loads of laughter but a few more songs.

A very seriously/funny song about the possible consequences for a variety of animals following the reactor leak at Sellafield Power Station – sorry no title.

A request from a member of the audience lead to The Foy Boat Song about his dad building a boat for him which had his name on. It began with a short but lovely poem before getting into the song.

A song bemoaning work going to work which had a silver lining which may have been called The Salmon Are Back in the Coaly Tyne Again – or not.

Almost by accident Keith has started going to storytelling clubs to participate. He told one of his own stories about 6 Russian sisters who argued continually and their meeting with a Marr – a kind of sorcerer. For me one of the highlights of the evening.

The first encore was entitled It Was Another World. The second encore was a variation on Green Grow the Rushes Oh, entitled Green Grow the Issues Oh. A profound finish to a wonderful evening.

I have missed out far more than I have put in – such as Delta Airlines; A man in a coma and decaffeinated coffee and Guilford Folk Festival, but it would be impossible to include everything.

The evening opened quite normally really with two lovely songs from Velvet Green. The self-penned Please Don’t Fear the Night and their rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s Songbird.

Dick Woodhouse used two Jake Thackray songs to show off his new nylon strung guitar – Leopold Alcocks and Worried Brown Eyes. It was Dick’s songs that started Keith off on Jake tales.

Bryn Phillips as usual kicked off the second half by singing Happy Birthday to Joan. His first song was Are You All Cowards – a very poignant song about the First World War followed by On the Beach.

Once again:

A wonderful night was had by all.