Monday, 16 September 2013

Some thoughts on the John Goldie gig

So, John Goldie then? He came, he saw and conquered.  He gave us a fabulous concert of music and anecdotes from his life on the road and left the Ceol audience desperate for more. The good news is he has promised to return. The bad news is that it won't be until next year...

John Goldie tells us why old Nashville side-men have long beards

It is very difficult to explain what exactly happened at the gig. John was so laid-back that he underwent the shortest soundcheck I have ever witnessed and then proceeded to provide us with an unparalleled musical education stretching from jazz standards via, Dolly Parton (9 to 5), The Stones (Honky Tonk Women), Tom Jones (It's Not Unusual) to Nashville, Motown (Heard it Through the Grapevine) and unusual hybrids (Summertime versus Green Onions!). We also had a close encounter with Smoke on the Water and an impromptu rendering of Postman Pat alongside some Blues, old and new. Most people take the chance to clear their throats between songs but John carelessly blurts out the introduction to Sweet Home Alabama as if it were a passing thought.

So, yes, it was that kind of night, a mixture of virtuosity and fun supported by some brilliant stories from the road delivered in a very humorous and self-effacing manner. Yet, the real musical highlights of the evening came from John's own pen - they were in turn, amusing, thrilling and poignant and straight out of the top drawer. Indeed, for many, his beautiful slow air, Here and Now, was the emotional highpoint of the night. Straight from the heart, simple and direct, it really struck home.

John Goldie  gives Honky Tonk Women some welly!

At the interval, a few members of the audience expressed doubts about the number of fingers John possessed on each hand, the highest estimate being 12! It was also instructive to see them file past him at the end just so as they could check. There was something right Campbeltown about that!

Sadly, all good things come to an end and the grumpy old Janny brought the curtain down on the night by showing everybody the door!

 A stunned John Goldie is usurped by Mr Jobsworth the Janitor

All in all, then another great night at Ceol, a winning combination of music and yarns delivered by one of Scotland's finest living musicians.  It is such a shame that the is better known in Europe, Asia and America than he is in his own native land. If you ever have the chance to see him live, grab it with both hands and don't let go!

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