A regular column by Martin Browne from Spalding Folk Club.
It is a very rare occurrence, in my experience, to have a bad guest night at a folk club. On the other hand there are occasions when everything seems to click and it is a real ‘buzz’ night.
That is how it was with Spalding Folk Club’s last guests on Wednesday at South Holland Centre.
Alistair Russell and Chris Parkinson were in fine form and, seasoned performers that they are, established a fine rapport with the audience. They had us joining in enthusiastically with the choruses or clapping and foot-tapping to energetically delivered jigs and reels.
Alistair, for many years vocalist and guitarist with the Battlefield Band, is a firm believer in audience involvement and the set list for the evening was carefully constructed to provide a blend of virtuoso musical performance alongside a plentiful supply of familiar songs.
Chris’s melodeon and accordion playing is of a very high class and it is no surprise that he has performed as a session player on a long list of top performers’ album recordings.
Alistair was fighting off a cold on the night but that did not prevent him from delivering some sweet vocals on such traditional favourites as Flower of Magherally, Curragh of Kildare and Rose of Allendale. In the modern vein Mark Knopfler’s Piper to the End was also well received.
The set was introduced as having a Celtic Irish and Scottish theme. It was obvious that both performers had an empathetic awareness of each other’s musicianship and were very much inspired by the material they played. The enthusiasm and inspiration was infectiously conveyed to those fortunate enough to be present.
Looking ahead mandolin expert Simon Mayor and partner Hilary James feature in an afternoon concert by Slim Panatella and the Mellow Virginians at the Market House, Market Street, Long Sutton on Sunday (2.30pm for 3pm). Tickets £6, contact 01406 366767.
There is a tune session at the Hare and Hounds, Haconby, near Bourne on Monday (8pm).
Spalding Folk Club’s singaround is next Thursday at the Welland Yacht Club, Cradge Bank, Spalding (8pm).
There is also a tune and song session on Monday, February 23 at the Pig and Whistle, Market Place, Swineshead (8pm).