Reviews 2017

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Mellow Peaches

Paul Matthews 24 February 2017

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Well to quote their web site, blistering finger picking, yes, and woozy hollering? not so sure. Their vocals didn’t come across like that to me. I would say their vocals were smooth and clear, with Amit in particular having that bluesy /soul feeling to his voice. Songs about the sea, yes, and I will add and various animals and birds, to make an interesting repertoire.

A Woodman first for this duo, and although I personally find ‘Mellow Peaches’ a slightly feminine name for two lads, I suppose you could say the same about some all male bands; eg. The Flower Kings, Echo & the Bunnymen, and the Pink Fairies.

The duo were, Amit Dattani from Coseley, now Birmingham, and Rich Harris, local lad from Stourbridge. It always amazes me how young musicians get in to roots music, starting out as they did as a country blues duo. They have however, over their 10 years of performing together, included Jazz, and ragtime. By their own admission they mentioned that they did a lot of retuning to their instruments, presumably to warn us. All I can say is guys, get another two guitars, and an extra Mandolin? Ready with different tunings. People start getting itchy feet when they are waiting for artists, who keep on re-tuning their instruments after every song.

The evening started with 5 songs from house band ‘Nothing to Prove’, who for various reasons had not performed for many weeks. First number was ‘Exodus’ followed by 3 tracks from their first CD, ‘Building Walls’, ‘Close to the Wind’ and ‘Byker Hill’. To end their set came the classic ‘The Ballad of Cursed Anna’ a track from their latest CD ‘Unusual Suspects’, Great to hear them after such a long lay off.

Woodman MC Bryn Phillips then introduced ‘Mellow Peaches’ with Rich on mandolin and Amit on 6 string guitar. They went straight into a song called ‘Ain't No Grave’, followed by ‘Boats and Trains’. Rich then played and sang a solo number on Ukulele, called ‘Tortoise & Hare’. Changing back to mando with Amit on guitar, the duo performed ‘Canary’ an instrumental song, from their CD about a friends pet Canary.’

Another CD track ‘I Go Down With This Ship’ (No not Dido’s song) saw Rich backing Amit on Harmonica, as was the same for the classic Richard M. Jones song ‘Trouble in Mind’. Next up was a Rich Harris self penned song ‘Wise Blood’ with Rich taking vocals. The first session ended with ‘Santiago’ taken from ‘The Old Man and The Sea’ an ‘Ernest Hemingway’ tale, about an old fisherman who catches a giant marlin. He straps the fish to the side of his boat, only to have it half eaten by sharks before he got it back home.

The second half started with Bryn singings his war song, ''Are you all cowards?', followed by’ Tomorrow the Sorrow Begins’, all Jolly stuff? Thanks Bryn, where’s that rope!

Mellow Peaches took the stage and kicked off with ‘Circle’, followed by the second CD track of the night, ‘Gravity’, an amusing story told by Amit, who had a mind altering night after eating some ‘special cake’ at his friends house. His classic quote was “the chair is hugging me and my legs are on fire”, I must admit I have felt like that after a curry.
Next up was ‘Izzy’, an instrumental solo song from Amit, about his German shepherd dog. This was followed by two more Amit solo songs ‘Home’ and ‘Didn’t Try Hard Enough’. They then got the Woodman crowd singing along to ‘Red Goose’, with Amit playing his 1915 Banjo. This was bought from local musician ‘Pete Boddis’ who happened to be in the audience. Next up was the sad song about a blind Rhino arhhh (different) played in ‘for Musos’ only, Bagpipe tuning DAAEAE, with Rich back on mando. The third CD track of the night ‘Ernest’ ended their set. This was indeed a strange sight to see, because we all thought Amit was about to do some cooking. He bought on stage what looked like a mixing bowl, and then proceeded to get out his Finger Piano, and use the bowl as an amplifier; cool.

The encore saw the two lads on top twiddley form, raising the volume and singing the classic traditional ‘Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms’, which got the Woody crowd singing along, to end what turned out to be a top night. Two local lads come good, and although the music might not have been to every folky’s taste, you could not take away their ability, confidence and almost laid back approach, with which they executed each song.

Cheers guys.