JAM - NSW Folk Federation
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Review: Martin Pearson + the Solidarity Choir @ The Loaded Dog
April, 2008

By Dawn Davis
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008

John Warner made a brief appearance, performed a tribute to Cicely Fox Smith, a writer around the turn of last century who wrote many poems of the sea and the First World War. John first sang Cicely's poem called "Homeward" set to music by Sarah Morgan in England. It is a song depictive of memories of work on the land and the contribution of horses both to farming and on the fields of Flanders. Then he sang his original song which is a tribute to the impact of Cicely's work.

The Solidarity Choir

The Solidarity choir are always great encouragement for a sing-along. Of course they sang the great union mantra "Solidarity Forever". The choir surprised us with a lovely version of the Abba song "The Way Old Friends Do". They did some great harmony singing in other languages, including the African National Anthem.

Martin Pearson

Not only can Martin Pearson be hilariously funny, but he is also wonderful at interpreting more serious songs. He began by singing a lovely version of "Bringing in the Sheaves" He sang "The Japanese Whaler Song" a cynical, humorous litany of the so-called "scientific" reasons for Japanese whaling.

After Martin's first set, Kate Delaney performed song from her new CD, which she will launch at the Harp shortly. She also sang a great song by Tom Waits about a letter written by a soldier from Afghanistan.

Kate Fagan, Kate Delaney and Martin Pearson

Then Martin came back and two Kates (Delaney and Fagan) joined him and they sang a short Scottish song.

As well as being hilarious, Martin can be beautifully serious when he sings a good love song. Martin continued with an Eric Bogle song of the unwillingness of people to believe in fantasy. The most hilarious song of the night was "The Word Museum Song". In this song he combines all sorts of old-English words to form a completely incoherent but totally side-splitting whole. There was a great song, "Whitby to Scarborough Line", the origin of which he had not been able to verify. He sang the old favourite "Hard Times" for a good chorus sing. Then we had to have one of his wonderfully funny songs about the demise of John Howard. He finished with the beautiful Liz Frencham song "Jericho" and the well-known Leonard Cohen song "Alleluia".

Martin always has the ability to both mesmerise his audience with emotion and to throw them into paroxysms of helpless laughter. Tonight was no different.