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Review: Martin Pearson & Dog Walking Backwards @ The Loaded Dog
Saturday 24th February, 2007

By Dawn Davis
Posted Monday, March 12, 2007

What a way to open The Dog's 2007 season. This month's opening concert was accompanied by much needed, but rather ill timed thunder and rain, and noisy traffic.

Gerry Myerson was first cab off the rank and had to fight against the outside noise. He sang an American version of the Two Sisters, and a song from Tom Lehrer. His singing was as usual very enjoyable as Gerry is mine of American folk songs.

Peter Harrison

Peter Harrison from Pete and the Pelicans followed, his use of guitar and harmonica produced a pleasing and complimentary effect to the words of the two songs he sang.

Mike Richter recited a poem by the outrageously funny British performance poet Les Barker called 'Sex is Better than Poetry'. The audience was encouraged to share their views on the topic in the chorus. Mike has made reciting Les Barker's poetry his speciality and as usual the humour always shines through.

Dog Walking Backwards

The a'Capella group Dog Walking Backwards had an interesting and thought provoking spread of songs; some very funny, some very beautiful and some ironic. My favourite was a song that is a very cynical look at Sydney Water and our well-known sewerage problems. The group at one stage broke up into same sex duos. The men then sang a song about being a man and the ladies sang a very beautiful one, by women for women, using birds as the metaphor. There was also a hilarious song about singing in the shower. Dog Walking Backwards use very strong harmonies and were able to bring off well what I would consider some very challenging music. Many of the pieces performed were written by group members. I hope to hear more from this talented and skilled group.

Gerry Myerson, started the second half with another Tom Lehrer song, "The Hunting Song" and he communicated the humour of the song very well.

Martin Pearson performed over two sessions and we were privileged to get a wonderful spread of his comic and more contemplative sides.

Martin Pearson

Of course we would have felt deprived if we did not have a couple of songs from the Spelling Errors of Bolkein. 'The Balrog Song' and 'The Nazgul Song' (actually 'The Two Towers song' - ed.) were very silly, and great fun, and went down well. The 'Rambling Rover' by Andy M Stewart and 'The Wine Song' by Grant Baynham also provided comic moments.

He had a wonderful CJ Dennis extract from The Sentimental Bloke where Doreen persuades her man to take her to see Romeo and Juliet. Martin conveyed the very dry Australian humour very well and had the audience, as usual, eating out of his hand.

He has a lovely touch singing James Keelaghan's song 'Kiri's Piano'. He learned the Loreena McKennett song 'The Lady of Shallot' very recently while on the road and this was the first time he had performed it in public. It is a very long song and he had my great admiration for being able to remember all the words let alone give them the eerie quality required.

There was a poke at the conservative side of politics in Graham Moore's 'Tolpuddle Man' and the encore finale of Leonard Cohen's 'Alleluia', nice to harmonise to.

Martin has the ability to take a humorous or a serious song and make it his own. He also has the ability to tell stories that engage and entrance his audience. This is the magic of any performer. All in all a most enjoyable evening. I left feeling great.

Photographs by Bob Bolton

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