Monday, 18 February 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 18 Feb

I'm going to be away for most of this week so won't be recording a show for next Monday. So this evening's show will go out at 9pm tonight and will then be repeated next Monday, the 25th.

Here's the line-up for tonight's show...

Richard Thompson - Good Things Happen To Bad People
Pauline Alexander - Where Lucifer Lingers
Jo Philby - The Sleepless Sailor
Show of Hands - Cruel River
Phil Lee - Every Time
Lisa Richards - Save Me
Larkin Poe and Thom Hell - PS I Love You
Arthur Wilson - Always Here For You
Pauline Vallance - Ally Bally
Chris Bradley - Wishing Well
Richard Thompson - Saving The Good Stuff For You
Judy Dyble - C'est Le Vie
Up In The Air - The Diamond Reel / Fair Fa' the Minstrel

Richard Thompson's "ELECTRIC" Trio UK tour starts on Wed, 20 Feb at St David's Hall in Cardiff. Full tour details -

Steve Knightley's tour continues on Friday 22nd Feb at the Hungry Horse Folk Club, Wirral. Tour info at

Larkin Poe April 2013 UK Tour with special guest Blair Dunlop
Tuesday 2 - Lewes, All Saints Arts Centre
Wednesday 3 - Tonbridge, MAC Theatre, K College
Thursday 4 - South Petherton, Somerset The David Hall
Friday 5 - London, Kings Place Music Foundation, Kings Cross

Saturday 6 - Didcot, Cornerstone Arts Centre
Sunday 7 - Barnsley, Horizon Theatre

Here's Steve Knightley of Show of Hands with a solo rendition of Cruel River -

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 11 Feb

Tonight's playlist...

The Bean Pickers Union - Tranquility
Tom Mitchell - From Experience
Steeleye Span - The Unquiet Grave
Charlotte - Salt & Pepper
Johny Corrigan - Billy
Calum Stewart & Lauren MacColl - Crow Road Croft
Juey - Catch a Falling Knife
Robyn Hitchcock - Ye Sleeping Knights of Jesus
Annabelle Chvostek Ensemble - Fox Tail
Rebecca Pronsky - Better That Way
King Creosote - Jump At The Cats
Spiers & Boden - Haul Away
The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc - Un-Named Shetland Reel

Tom Mitchell is former guitarist with the Cadbury Sisters and Duffy, and now write solo material. Check his songs out at

Charlotte's new album is "Wasted Dreams and Jelly Beans"
Hear more of her music at

Catch Robyn Hitchcock's 60 Birthday Retrospective on February 28 at Village Underground, Shoreditch, London. He is then on tour in March playing Cambridge, Brighton, Exeter, Nottingham, Kendal & Bristol.

Annabelle Chvostek is on tour in March starting at Lewes, nr Brighton on Saturday the 2nd.

Rebecca Pronsky's UK tour starts at Leith Folk Club in Edinburgh on Tuesday 19th March.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 4 Feb

Hope you enjoyed the music tonight. Here's the playlist. The show will be available to listen to on Mixcloud from tomorrow morning.

J Shogren & Shanghai'd - Holding Tank
Jez Lowe - Back in Durham Goal
Lorraine McCauley and the Borderlands - Big Love
Rose's Pawn Shop - Danger Behind The Wheel
Douglas Hinton - Soldier On
Jo Gillot - Knock-Shouldered
Tokyo Rosenthal - Killaloe
Dick Gaughan - Geronimo's Cadillac
Niall Kelly - Tank
Conor Owen - Flies With Her Own Wings
Christy Moore - Viva La Quinta Brigada
Rock Salt and Nails - Shaggy's Sexy Shetland Set

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
Mondays at 9pm / Tuesdays at 2am
Listen online at

Here's Douglas Hinton playing 'Soldier On' on French TV...

Concert Companions

As I mentioned in my book, “Drum Solos, Bottles and Bands – Memories of a Concert-Goer 1981-1999”, occasionally I went to concerts with friends but often I went on my own. I would have loved to have found a female companion who enjoyed similar music to me but in the days before the internet it was not so easy to find like-minded music fans. One option was to scan the personal ads in music papers but sometimes fate intervened, though not necessarily with the results you'd hoped for. Fate played such a trick on me in December 1989 when Michelle Shocked played a concert at the London Palladium.

This was one of two Michelle Shocked gigs I went to in London that year. In April she played at the Hackney Empire and my friend Mandy came down from York for the weekend. I'd met Mandy when I was working abroad in 1986. We'd got on okay but nothing happened between us so when we swapped contact details at the end of our ten weeks in the sun I wasn't thinking that we would necessarily keep in touch. But during my two years at college we wrote letters and send Xmas cards and when I mentioned the gig to her, she was keen to come south.

I arranged to meet her on the Friday afternoon at a pub by Highgate tube station. I left work a bit early and got the bus along from Muswell Hill. To my surprise I found Mandy sitting outside the pub more or less on the pavement. Stupidly I'd assumed that the pub would have been open all afternoon but no, it had shut after lunch. Fortunately Mandy had only been there a short while so we had a laugh about it. She told me that she had been getting funny looks from people as she had a sleeping bag with her so they must have thought she was some sort of down and out. I helped her with her bags and we walked through Highgate Wood before getting a bus back to my flat. In the evening we went out for a meal and when we got back to the flat I realise she wanted to be more than just friends. In the words of that Roxy Music song, “dim the lights, you can guess the rest.”

The next day we had a wander round Highgate taking in the famous cemetery where Karl Marx is buried before heading out in the evening to Hackney. It was the first time I'd been to the Empire and despite it being quite near Muswell Hill as the crow flies, it took a bus and a couple of trains to get there. It was a great gig and a memorable weekend. Mandy and I stayed in touch but our relationship never really developed into anything more as we were both settled in our lives in York and London. When things subsequently went sour for me in the south east and I lost my job, I packed my belongings into a hire car and drove back to Scotland, stopping off to see Mandy en route. I remember going to a Hugh Cornwell gig with her at Fibbers in York some years later but by then she had met someone else so I stayed in a B&B and that was the last time I saw her. But back to that other Michelle Shocked gig I went to in 89.

It was by chance that I had gone into central London on the day that tickets went on sale. I had got off the tube at Tottenham Court Road and noticed on a board outside a ticket agency that Michelle was playing at the Palladium. I knew roughly where the theatre was so rather than buy a ticket at the agency and pay a booking fee I walked along to the venue, which incidentally was quite an unusual place for such an artist to play. I walked into the box office and pretty much had my pick of the seats. So I asked for a seat in the front row of the stalls. The woman serving me seemed disappointed that I only wanted a single ticket and persuaded me to buy a second one. I reckoned that I would be able to find someone at work to take the other ticket but unfortunately this was not the case. So on the night of the gig I arrived early and asked at the box office if they could give me a refund on the second ticket. But as the gig wasn't sold out, they couldn't help but said I could stand near the counter and try and sell it myself.

Various people came in to buy tickets but no-one was look for just a single seat. I was starting to give up hope when a woman, who looked a bit younger than me, came in and happily took the ticket off me, especially when I told her it was front row stalls and I only wanted the face value of it. We started chatting while we were waiting for the music to start and I discovered that she was, like myself, from Edinburgh though she was a student rather than working in London. The gig itself was excellent. Michelle had released her Captain Swing album and had a full band complete with brass section rather than just being with one or two other musicians as had been the case when I'd seen her earlier that year at the Hackney Empire.

At the end of the concert my new friend and I (I forget her name) headed to a tube station but she was heading south and me north. Fortunately she had a pen on her and seemed happy to give me her number as we had had a really nice evening together and I was certainly keen to see her again. A few days later I phoned her to see if she wanted to meet up but she said she was really busy with end of term stuff at college but gave me her number in Edinburgh and suggested I give her a call when I was home at Christmas time. So over the festive season I phoned the number she had given me but it was like I was talking to a different person. She seemed annoyed that I had phoned her and pretty much told me to stop bothering her. I was taken aback by her aggressive tone and was rather lost for words. She hung up and that was the end of that. What I should have said was, “if you didn't want me to phone you, why did you give me your number?” but it was too late.

The following year I made contact with another woman, this time through a personal ad column. I can't remember if I placed an ad or answered one but we were both fans of Jane's Addiction and when I told her I had bought two tickets for their gig at the Astoria in October she sounded like she was really keen to go. This would have been our first meeting. Up to that point we'd communicated by letter but we exchanged phone numbers and spoke in the days leading up to the gig. But it was an awkward phone call. She seemed to have a problem that I was working for a company in Docklands – she somehow got the impression that I was some hotshot businessman or something when in fact I was doing a customer support job for a company that put computerised cash register systems into pubs and shops. But we arranged to meet outside the venue on the night of the gig.

When I got there, there were loads of people milling about on the pavement but I arrived at the time we'd agreed and looked around hopefully for her. But she didn't show up. I waited for as long as I could but I wanted to see the support band so when it got to half seven I decided to give up and flog the ticket. This was quite easy as the gig was sold out. I found an American lad who was obviously a huge fan of Jane's and was thrilled to take the ticket off my hands. What happened to my date? I've no idea. Being in the days before mobile phones I had no way of getting in touch with her on the night and afterwards I must have dropped her a line or left a message for her on her answer phone to tell her she'd missed a brilliant gig but I never heard from her again.

My final attempt at finding someone to go to gigs with was more successful. I answered an ad, either in Kerrang! or Sounds, placed by someone looking for friends to go to gigs with. I wrote her a letter and waited. When her reply came though the letter box I was delighted to see that she lived in the same area of North London as me. Her name was Cath, she was Belgian but she  made it very clear that she wasn't looking for any sort of romantic involvement. That was fine with me and we arranged to meet for a drink in Muswell Hill. Unfortunately on the day we were due to meet I was returning to London from a few days up in Edinburgh. Lady Luck wasn't shining on me as the train was delayed and when I finally got in to Kings Cross I knew I had no chance of making our rendezvous. I found a call box and phoned my flatmate to see if Cath had called, wondering where I'd got to. But there had been no calls for me. I think I must have told her I'd been going away so she must have figured out that my train had been delayed. We re-arranged to meet up and this time we both made it to the pub on time.

Cath was lovely. She reminded me of some of the girls I used to see at rock concerts at the Edinburgh Playhouse back in the 80s – long hair, tight jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket. So I finally got to 'date' a rock chick but it was just a platonic relationship. The first and sadly only one of three concerts we went to together was Deep Purple at the Hammersmith Odeon in March 1991. We arrived in good time so went to the bar for a drink and who should be working behind the bar but a friend who I knew from my days at Newpoint Publishing. I hadn't seen Jayne for ages so we had a bit of a chat while she was getting our drinks. Cath was obviously wondering what was taking me so long and I was suddenly aware of a hand reaching over and taking her drink. I introduced her to Jayne and got a knowing look from Jayne who obviously thought I'd hit the jackpot being with such an attractive woman. But looks, as they say, can be deceptive.

The gig was pretty good. Deep Purple had parted company with Ian Gillan and had recruited Joe Lynn Turner. He did a good enough job though I read in the music press that audiences at some other UK venues were less than happy with his vocals and made their feelings known during the concerts. Support had been by the all-female band Vixen who were all big hair and leather outfits. Seemingly they had been hailed as “the female Bon Jovi” though the question has to be asked, did the world really need a female Bon Jovi? I suspect the answer would be in the negative.

I left London just a few weeks after that gig but kept in touch with Cath and when I saw that Guns 'N' Roses were playing at Wembley Stadium in the summer of the same year I got tickets. I came down to London for a few days and on the day of the concert I met up with Cath and Mark, a mate from Edinburgh, who had come down overnight on the coach. We spent a pleasant afternoon browsing the record shops in Camden Town and visited one or two pubs before getting the tube up to Wembley. Support was provided by Nine Inch Nails and Skid Row, neither of whom we were all that impressed by but Guns 'N' Roses played a good set which included quite a few tracks from their two new “Use Your Illusion” albums. Cath and I lost Mark in the crowd at some point during their set and we decided to head off just before the end to avoid the inevitable mobs heading for the trains at the end of the night. By chance we bumped into Mark in a corridor on our way out so said our farewells, with him heading back onto the pitch for the final number.

I went to one other gig with Cath, also at Wembley but this time at the Arena where John Mellencamp played in April 1992. I'd been a fan of his since his excellent Rolling Stones-inspired album “Uh-huh” back in the mid 80s and despite having just released a new album, he played songs from his last few albums going back to his early UK hits 'Jack and Diane' and 'Hurts So Good'. I saw Cath on one other occasion before losing touch with her.

If you've enjoyed reading this and would like to read more, please check out the web page for my concert memories book