Best of British Report - December 2019
December 14. Before Texas Gun started this evening’s entertainment compère Danny announced that, sadly, John Nash, one of our regulars, had passed away since our last event and, as is customary at the Best of British CMC, he will be honoured with others we have lost this year at the annual performance of the Trilogy in February.
As in 2018 the entertainment for our Christmas event was provided by Texas Gun. Last year George Payling Snr. and Jnr. appeared as a duo but this time they were joined by the accomplished musician Derek Thurlby. Playing steel and lead guitar he added an extra dimension and I was particularly pleased because the steel guitar is one of my favourite instruments. With the hall seasonably decorated, mulled wine and mince pies handed out on arrival, it didn’t take long for the band and their audience to get into the festive spirit. The floor was crowded when a Christmas Medley gave an early opportunity for a partners Barn Dance and a singalong, which for some who did both was multi-tasking.
The second set started with a (mostly) Scottish medley with the two Georges appropriately wearing kilts. Responding to a request for a carol they sung Silent Night which attracted good audience participation and a full circle up for a waltz. Of course there was plenty of good country music throughout and for me a welcome feature was some newer material that I don’t recall hearing from Texas Gun previously including Bonaparte’s Retreat. This excellent Christmas Show was brought to a fitting conclusion with a large circle for Best of Friends and Auld Lang Syne.
Congratulations to Jenny and Colin who held a draw for a doll and raised £300 for MacMillan Nurses. Mary thanked everyone for their support during the year and those who generously donated some wonderful prizes towards a bumper raffle.
Best of British Report - November 2019
November 9. The Jeff Gallant Band made their first appearance here tonight and it was also the first time I’d seen them. Lead vocalist Jeff was still recovering from flu but that didn’t detract from his performance and he was well supported by Clive Grant (Bass guitar/vocals), Matty Baker (Drums/vocals) and Mark Dunn (pedal steel/lead guitar/vocals) - all talented musicians. A varied first set went very quickly with a highlight for me being Mark’s steel guitar solo - Steel Guitar Rag.
Later, I was equally impressed by some of Mark’s brilliant guitar playing. Clive featured with several lead vocals and what made the entire band stand out for me was the overall very full sound which filled the hall, as well as individual contributions.
They were also flexible enough to play several requests. Although they performed mainly traditional/older songs there was plenty for the dancers and it was good to see a full circle of partner dancers for the still often played Waltz Across Texas.
Overall it seemed that the band had enjoyed playing for us as much as we had enjoyed listening to them. Among the numerous complimentary remarks at the end of the evening several said it was the best band they had seen.
Best of British Report - October 2019
October 12. With both Jaynie and Greg in good form we were treated to a typically lively performance from Souls ‘n’ Stone who seem guaranteed to give almost everyone an enjoyable evening.
There was plenty of content for listeners and dancers with a good mix of newer and older songs but surely none older than the currently very popular Bonaparte’s Retreat which has a history dating back to at least the 1800s. Thanks to Jaynie and Greg for making the long journey south to entertain us.
Unfortunately, we learnt this evening that the Star and Garter CWC in Sidcup, ran by Chris, Steve and Parry, supporters of our club, has closed due to insufficient support.
This was despite providing a good programme in 2019 with some of the best country music acts available. Worrying times indeed.
On a brighter note, congratulations to Mick Spice, on completing his 12th year of managing the Kent Country website. Since it was created in September 2007 the site has provided free publicity for local Country Music Clubs and other Country Music
Events, including a comprehensive What’s On.
Best of British Report - 14th September 2019
September 14. Unfortunately (if it is unfortunate to be relaxing on a sunny beach) I missed The Keeleys making their first appearance at the club so my report is compiled from notes supplied by Mary & Maggie.
The Keeleys are Bob (guitar & vocals) and his son Joe (guitar, mandolin and vocals). They impressed as accomplished entertainers combining good vocal and musical skills with the addition of plenty of friendly banter with their audience. Their content was an ideal mix of songs spanning numerous decades with something to please everyone. Reading that they had performed the old western song My Rifle, My Pony and Me reminded me of the scene where Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson sung this in the 1959 film Rio Bravo. Seven Spanish Angels was another old favourite and newer songs included Dirt On My Boots sung by Joe who has a new single called No Good Living which can be heard on Joekeeleymusic.com’.
Those who attended had a good evening deserving of a higher attendance.
They were privileged to see Bob Keeley fresh from winning the CCN Solo Act of the Year 2019 award. Congratulations to Bob who has now won a CCN award for four successive years.
Best of British Report - August 2019
August 10. It is a shame that Les Evans is still too unwell to perform with Glyn Long as one half of the Longshot duo but Glenn Rogers proved to be an excellent replacement. Having two lead vocalists gave a different dimension to the act with contrasting vocal styles and I particularly liked the frequent variation between older and newer country music. For example, Glenn singing Loving You Makes Me A Better Man, was followed by Glyn with Day of the Dead. Listeners and dancers showed their appreciation with good applause throughout the evening. Just how up to date Longshot are was emphasised when DJ Dave joked about them performing most of the club’s dance list, an exception, which Dave played, was a request for Dig Deep.
Unusually, there were more partner dancers than line dancers up for Gypsy Queen. Most of the partner dancers were from Danny & Barbara’s It Takes 2 western partner dance class, details available on the Best of British CMC website or you can call Danny/Barbara on 01795 475453.
Best of British Report - July 2019
July 13. The Ian Highland Band was formed in 2009 and this was their fifth appearance at the club in the past six years of which I have seen three. Their style doesn’t vary much and, as expected, we got a good mix of traditional country music. The line-up has varied a bit each time and tonight it was Ian Highland (lead singer), Arron Herrod (lead guitar and vocals), Bob Haskell (Steel guitar) Terry Downing (Bass) ) and Jon Keys (Drums). It was a ‘blast from the past’ seeing Jon again and I look forward to seeing him next year as part of the re-formed Memphis Roots.
Don’t Close Your Eyes was an early message from the band, but I could easily have ignored this advice after taking 2½ hours instead of the usual 40 minutes getting to the club due to M2 road closures and badly organised diversions. The second set included Carmen and Much Too Young both of which were No. 1 Hot Disc chart successes in 2012 for the Ian Highland band. Towards the end Ian asked “where has everyone gone, is this usual?” The answer is that it has been a growing trend in recent months and the very warm conditions this evening didn’t help. Thanks to Ian and his friendly band for continuing to keep us entertained right ‘til the end despite the heat.
Best of British Report - June 2019
June 8. The Chris Dunne Band made a welcome return to the club following their outstanding performance last year.
Among numerous songs that attracted enthusiastic applause I was particularly impressed with Zac Brown’s Highway 20 Ride, including an unaccompanied vocal section from Chris.
After singing Happy Birthday to Perry the next song, Proud Mary, was dedicated to club host Mary.
Amazed was performed by request and it is good to see that some of our acts still have the flexibility to depart from a set list.
After what I would describe as a real country music show this six piece band brought a memorable evening to a close with a great rendition of Garth Brook’s Ain’t Going Down ‘Til The Sun Comes Up.
Best of British Report - May 2019
May 11. One of my favourite acts, award winning duo Jonny and Lynnette, returned to entertain us in their unique way with their brand of mainly traditional country music.
In the first set, Lynnette referred to the sad loss of Gary Perkins and that they had been given three of Gary’s songs to learn by The Breeze. They certainly did Gary proud with the first of them, Love Me Like I Love You, which they have turned into a duet. Later they also sang Gary’s Thank You and a catchy number that seemed ideally suited to them,
Johnny Cash’s I Got Stripes with a good instrumental outro. The loud shouts at the end for more were fully merited, it was just a shame there wasn’t a higher attendance given the quality of the entertainment.
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