Tuesday 7 February 2012


It’s February and at last the first gig of the year.  January appeared and disappeared with no live music.  
I say with no live music ever. I can forget stuff from time to time.  Hence my penchant for playing the same song again directly after it has just finished.  A simple mistake after 35 years in the business.  We have a broad core of songs that we play on the show but if I had a pound for every time I have played ABBA or  The Beatles or Adele on the radio over the years I would be typing this from the foredeck of my gold plated yacht moored in the harbour of my private island somewhere in the Caribbean.

One way of trying to keep track of what I have or have not seen over the years is to keep all my tickets in a special box which when I get round to it will be labelled "tickets".

Even so if I look through them I can see that I witnessed Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band twice. One of those shows being a matinee and I can only recall one concert.  The same is true of Procol Harum twice but at two different venues in two different cities.  Can only recall the Birmingham Town Hall gig.  Finally B.B. King three times.  I remember I shook his hand at Hammersmith Odeon but don't remember the second gig and the third time I got the night wrong and so forgot to go... doh!

Last night it was off to London's Royal Festival Hall a very civilised venue for the middle aged with my friend Susan the Finance (Don't hate her she's not a banker).

You will remember her as the woman who introduced the Dark Lady and I so we (well certainly I) will always be totally indebted to her for this act of kindness.

If she is as good with money as she is with matchmaking I expect to be typing this from the foredeck of my gold plated yacht moored in the harbour of my private island somewhere in the Caribbean... have I just?... No must be imagining things.

So last night we went to see the Transatlantic Sessions.  An annual tour by the luminaries of folk, bluegrass, gospel you get the drift mainly U.S Canadian and Scottish artists who between them play a dizzying array of instruments and take turns in being the featured soloist. We had gone mainly to see ex Maverick Raul Malo who has the most exquisite voice.  Also in the 16 (or was it 17) piece band were Dobro ace Jerry Douglas, bass playing legend Danny Thompson who has worked with everyone from Little Walter to Pentangle to John Martyn to Kate Bush, and one of only three women in the band was Eddi Reader. I have featured her on the show a zillion times as part of Fairground Attraction but more recently her albums showcasing the work of Robert Burns. One of them featured last night.

I have only met her once and that was by accident when rounding a corner in the campsite at the Cambridge Folk Festival and finding her sitting outside her tent.

"What you doing here"?  I blurted before I had a chance to think (oh that old thing thinking!!)

"Sitting outside my tent, what do you think I'm doing?"

"Oh I didn't expect you to be here sleeping with the audience" (This conversation wasn't going well.)

"What, did you expect me to do be helicoptered in?”

I slunk away. Thinking about it, if she had the right financial advice with a career as successful as hers she should be sitting on the foredeck of her gold plated yacht in the harbour of her private island somewhere in the Caribbean writing more wonderful songs.

Have I just done.... seems familiar... no can't be. I shall press on.

It was a magical evening with the band enjoying themselves as much as the audience. When they weren't being featured the musicians sat at the back of the stage where there were seats and tables with drinks on them.

Raul Malo actually voiced what many people were thinking when he said it was his idea of a perfect concert in that he could sit there drinking champagne and talking to pretty girls until it was time for his number.

Just before the concert closed I was getting a feeling of déjà vu.  Had I seen them before somewhere?  Jerry Douglas reminded us that the latest series of "The Transatlantic Sessions" had been recorded and was due to be broadcast on my favourite TV channel BBC Four fairly shortly.

So that’s where I had seen them.  The last two minutes of them as the credits rolled before another edition of Family Guy or a documentary on 70's Dinosaur Rock.

This series perhaps I should swap the cartoons and the rock docs for the Sessions.

If I remember of course!

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