Best of British Report - December 2018
Dec 8. Texas Gun made their second appearance at the Best of British CMC in 2018 albeit as a duo this time following Ryan’s departure from the act. The hall was decorated for the Christmas show and mulled wine & mince pies were available to all. George Payling and George Jnr. are a good act for a special occasion and they entered into the festive spirit with a seasonal medley which got a full circle up for a barn dance and they changed into kilts for the second set. In addition to plenty of country music they also gave us a Scottish/Irish sing-along medley and ended with a lively rendition of Loch Lomond.
Many agreed with Mary that the raffle table looked amazing and she thanked all who donated prizes. With a full hall, including 10 guests from Germany, the party atmosphere ensured that the year ended on a high note.
Best of British Report - November 2018
November 10. A visit from Kalibre is always something to look forward to and once again we were treated to a flawless performance from the duo that pleased the listeners and the dancers alike. Perfect sound balance and volume, vocals from Bobby Reid where every word could be clearly heard accompanied by the superb sounds that Bob Dixon produces from his pedal steel and dobro. In some numbers Bob produced so much emotion from his pedal steel that it almost seemed to be talking to us. Expecting it to sound as if it was 'laughing' was, of course, an entirely different matter.
Many of those attending encountered hazardous driving conditions in order to reach the club due to a thunderstorm and torrential rain. And The Thunder Rolled again at the end of the evening when the two Bobs performed the Garth Brooks song to bring a great evening of country music to an end. Compère Danny summed it all up in two words “Absolutely Brilliant”.
During the first break the dance floor was full when Fiona took the dancers through the steps of the line dance “Thank You” as a tribute to Gary Perkins who wrote the song. In the song Gary thanks all his fans for dancing to his music and playing his songs - thinking of all the good times shared. At this club we’ve enjoyed some good (and special) times with Gary and The Breeze, the last being our sell out Christmas show in December 2017. So it’s our chance to say Thank You to Gary from all at the Best of British CMC.
Thanks also to Mary for making the crocheted remembrance poppies that so effectively decorated the raffle table.
Best of British Report - October 2018
October 13. Black Steel comprise of the friendly duo Jim Martin (pedal steel, guitar and fiddle) and vocalist Bob Schwarz. From the start their sound quality and volume were just right. It’s not often we get a fiddle player these days and Jim’s versatility in playing several instruments combined with self made backing tracks perfectly accompanied Bob’s excellent vocals. Among a wide range of songs there were several that stood out for me because they are rarely played including Mark Chesnutt’s Old Country and Things I Carry Around (which sounded like an older country song but was only released in 2016 by Troy Cassar-Daly, an Australian country music singer). Thanks to Jim and Bob for entertaining us with an ideal mix of songs on a very warm October evening.
With DJ Dave in Spain, Danny provided the music during the breaks as well as compering. He had the sad task of announcing that Carol Collins, a loyal longstanding supporter, had died from cancer. Her love of country music was apparent at her funeral on October 17th when two Charlie Landsborough songs were played. Condolences to husband John and family and friends.
Best of British Report - September 2018
September 8. Gone Country, making a now rare appearance at a country music club, have made two changes since they last appeared here in 2015. Dave and Chris are the additions and their line-up is now: Stu Edwards (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), James Taylor (lead guitar and vocals), Arwen Bingham (female lead vocalist and backing vocals), Dave Hill (drums) and Chris Robbins (bass guitar).
Early on, Stu sang Eastbound and Down as a tribute to Burt Reynolds, who died a few days ago. It was watching films such as Cannibal Run and Smokey and the Bandit, and listening to Jerry Read’s soundtracks, that first got him into country music.
Later in the set, after a duet with Arwen (Jackson) our train whistlers participated in Orange Blossom Special which featured Stu on harmonica to end what I thought was a terrific first set to loud applause.
The second set started with Stu and James performing Duelling Banjos from the floor. They were happy to accept requests including Red Hot Salsa and a Bruce Springsteen favourite My Oklahoma Home (with the audience singing the “It Blowed Away” refrain). A try at something different was Bad Jokes For Me which Lefty Frizzell used to perform but I didn’t think this enhanced their repertoire.
It is, of course, difficult for an act to please everyone and there were some early leavers as putting on a show that broke the usual mould wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, there were many who showed their appreciation with enthusiastic applause at the end - what superb value for just £6.
Best of British Report - August 2018
August 11. Stonecold Country appeared here this evening ahead of their performance at the Harlow Country In The Park event the next day, which several of our supporters also attended. The father and son duo, Ray and Steve Kedge are certainly not a ‘run of the mill duo’ and for the most part I really enjoyed the combination of Ray’s pedal steel guitar and Steve’s lead and rock guitar along with lead vocals from Ray with Steve harmonising. The rock guitar featured in an excellent version of Ghost Riders In The Sky, one of several numbers that got good applause whilst the dancers took a break. A song that particularly appealed to me was Mo Pitney’s Come Do A Little Life which although released in 2016 I don’t recall having heard before. The Mavericks Ride Away was a floor filler which I liked even if Steve “hates it with a passion”. This song typified the very full sound for a duo that Stonecold Country produce. A contributor to this is Paul Wright (from Fool’s Gold) who produces their backing tracks.
Congratulations to both Paul and Steve in being nominated for CCN’s Musician of the Year 2018 and to Ray who celebrates 50 years of performing country music this year. Definitely not in the country music category was Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, performed in the final set, during which I was beginning to feel that it was the rock guitar that was going on for a bit too long. Brilliant as Steve is with his guitar work I think this was close to being too much of a good thing, a balanced view as I know some thought it was definitely overdone whereas others would have been happy with even more.
Best of British Report - July 2018
July 14. The Westons are a family trio consisting of Paul (lead vocals/guitar), Debbie (lead vocals/acoustic guitar) and Paul’s brother Cliff (lead guitar/dobro/vocals).
So far as I can recall this was their first appearance at the Best of British CMC although Paul and Debbie appeared here as Streamline in 2016 and 2017.
On the day that England failed to make it to the FIFA World Cup final and Serena Williams lost the ladies Wimbledon final in straight sets, poor Paul didn’t even make it onstage for the first set, having eaten something that disagreed with him on the way here. Debbie said “the show must go on” but was it just by chance that the first song with Debbie and Cliff as a duo was This Is Me Missing You?
Fortunately Paul had recovered sufficiently to make up the trio for the remaining sets which contained excellent lead and harmony vocals from them all and some brilliant guitar work from Cliff. The Westons are certainly a class act, helped, no doubt, by the extra versatility that having three vocalists gives them.
Thanks to The Westons for entertaining us and to everyone who attended on such a hot day.
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