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Posted Friday, April 15, 2005
The Loaded Dog of the 19th of March featured some very special music. I am going to neglect the admittedly fine floor spots here because of the constraints of space.
This was often very moody and evocative stuff redolent of foggy, weathered coastlines and folk sitting round a jug of something wicked by a kitchen fire.
The support was provided by Fiona McVicar and Craig Kelly who played Celtic instrumental works on fiddle and guitar. Fiona's fiddle playing had all the sensitivity and agility needed for the wide technical and emotional range that typifies Irish music in particular. profoundly moving slow airs were followed by energetic jigs and, most surprisingly, slow reels. This was often very moody and evocative stuff redolent of foggy, weathered coastlines and folk sitting round a jug of something wicked by a kitchen fire.
Craig's guitar was the appropriate complement to this fiddle. The recognisable Irish influence was there, but there was also a superb syncopation in his playing that was full of surprises. One tends to think of James Fagan here, but Craig's style was distinctly his own and very interesting. The blend of Jazz chords with the distinctly traditional tones provided a spicy and varied instrumental feast.
Brian Peters was the main act for the evening, and what an inspiring bloke he is. I've rarely heard the great ballads handled in as interesting a way.
I'm used to hearing them unaccompanied and tend to look a little darkly at squeezeboxes. Brian's rendering of Henry Martin was something special. He went from unaccompanied, to a drone accompaniment, to a string of varied accompaniments. Experience tells me that varying accompaniment without losing something in the singing is a vary difficult thing. Brian retained all the power and drama required of this ballad, while constantly shifting the instrumental interest around. This was a masterly performance.
Brian has a voice that draws and holds attention.
Brian has a voice that draws and holds attention. There's sufficient of his regional accent to make his background clear and he has a witty, ironic style. He recited a poem called "Earth", about this planet speaking to its human inhabitants, ending in the profound line "You are mine, I am not yours." And who wrote this spine chilling verse? Les Barker. He of "Dachshunds with erections can't climb stairs" keeps powerful environmental protests in his treasure chest. Maybe we'll get him to recite it at North by Northwest.
There's too much more to say about Brian for the space. "All around my hat" turns out to be a transportation ballad about our part of the world, and done with warmth and sensitivity. "The devil's in the women" such a fierce and bitter highwayman song; one of my favourites "Cropper Lads" about the Derbyshire machine wreckers of the industrial revolution, and so much more.
Your good health, Brian, come on back and give us more. And 'ere's to Sandra, who keeps on supplying this whizzo music.
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