Best of British Report - November 2016
November 12. Making a now relatively rare appearance together tonight Steve Jay & Tony Crooks appeared as the Loco Boys. Previously they have appeared at the club several times as Plain Loco Boys combining both their line dance and traditional music shows and I was pleased that, whatever the name, we got a good mix of music to please all tastes this evening. A highlight for me with Steve & Tony’s performance was the fresh sounding interpretation they gave many songs, even with older numbers. Apart from their own instrumental and vocal skills this is, no doubt, due to them mixing their own backing tracks rather than using ‘off the shelf’ versions. Songs that I particularly like at present included ‘Places I’ve Never Been’ and ‘Gypsy Queen’ and I never tire of hearing Alan Jackson’s ‘So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore’. Quite rightly they also included some of their own originals from their Blue Memory album and another enjoyable evening from this talented duo concluded on a high note with 'High Class Lady'.
Unfortunately, club host Mary became very ill during the month and although much improved was unable to attend this evening. We look forward to her speedy return to full health and to seeing her back at the club in December. With help from some of Mary’s family and the regular support team everything was ready as usual. I’d like to thank all who helped clear up at the end. Also thanks to Pam for the way she overcame her surprise when, unexpectedly, tonight’s host Danny got her to call the winning raffle ticket numbers in the second break. Pam hasn't used a microphone before but with a bit of trial and error she was soon calling out the winning numbers loud and clear.
Best of British Report - October 2016
8th October 2016 [Due to my absence this report is compiled from notes kindly provided by Maggie Spice and Mary Bryer.]
Perhaps this illustrates the dedication it takes to be country music performers - Jaynie & Greg, aka Souls‘n’Stone, having performed in Brean, Somerset just a couple of days ago returned to their home in West Yorkshire before hitting the road again to travel all the way to Kent to entertain us. As if this wasn’t enough, Jaynie was suffering from an ear infection but you would never have known from the antics that flowed throughout the evening.
Songs such as ‘Lovesick Blues’ got the partner dancers dancing, also ‘Fly Like a Dove’ with Jaynie illustrating the song title by giving an impersonation of a dove. The second set began with only Greg on stage singing ‘She Doesn't Love Me Anymore’ while Jaynie danced with Fred, our Tea Boy, who will be celebrating his 80th birthday this month.
Jaynie has a lively personality and amused the non-dancers when telling the dancers what to say during the chorus of songs, such as Ann Tayler’s ‘123’ and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (yes really!). Jaynie’s weekly line dance classes in Heckmondwike must be great fun.
Souls'n'Stone played a very good mixture of music throughout the three sets for all dancers and listeners. These included the popular ‘Gypsy Queen’ and ‘Big Blue Tree’, rounding off the evening with ‘This is Where The Cowboy Rides Away’. Thanks to Jaynie & Greg for a great evening.
Best of British Report - September 2016
September 10. Two Bobs at the BoB can only mean another visit from long-standing club favourites Bobby Reid and Bob Dixon otherwise known as Kalibre. As usual they attracted a good attendance and at the end of another evening of superb entertainment left many of us still wanting more. Bobby Reid has the ability to portray the emotion behind the words with some of his vocals and Bob Dixon matches him with his pedal steel guitar playing. This was well illustrated in songs that we don’t usually hear such as the Okane’s ‘When I Found You’, Merle Haggard’s ‘All My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers’ and their final song Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’.
Thanks to Kalibre for entertaining us so well again and for assisting compère Danny set up the sound which enabled him to play the dancers requests during the breaks in Dave’s absence. Thanks also to those who donated to the Wildwood Trust in memory of Christine Brown.
Best of British Report - August 2016
August 13. They say you have to take the rough with the smooth but when Longshot perform here it has always been smooth from start to finish. Tonight was no exception. There was a change from their last appearance here in August 2014 as Glynn Long (lead vocals and drums) and Les Evans (lead guitar and harmony vocals) were joined this time by the talented & experienced Bob Haskell on pedal steel. We were pleased to welcome Rob and Mal, editors/publishers of the Cross Country and Up Country Magazines, with friends Gill and Alan, visiting us ahead of the Harlow Festival.
Longshot’s choice of music seemed tailor-made for our club, and included a lot of the songs on our dancer’s request list. Without wasting time between songs Glynn often introduced them with a brief, sometimes corny but mostly neat, line of patter. However, after setting the scene with 'Places I’ve Never Been' I was expecting the follow up to be something rather more exotic than an invitation to lay on the grass outside Larkfield village hall on such a warm night and look up to the stars, even if the reward was to see 'Mr Man in the Moon'. Towards the end of the evening, with people wilting in the heat, Longshot sensibly played an increasing percentage of slower songs. Compère Danny summed it all up though when he concluded with “brilliant night, shame it all had to end”.
Among regulars too ill to attend tonight was Christine Brown. When Longshot performed their encore, Okie from Muskogee, it seemed odd not to see her waving Old Glory (down at the courthouse) along with friends Jenny & Jeanette. Sadly, Christine died just a couple of days later in hospital. Christine, together with her friends was a regular attender at several local country music clubs and will be missed by many. Condolences to family and friends. Mike
Best of British Report - July 2016
The likeable Logic duo returned almost a year after their very successful first appearance here. Attendance was a bit down on our usual numbers due to various other events and summer bugs but still a good crowd to enjoy a generally bright & breezy mix of country & Irish music that seemed just right for a warm summer evening. Davy (vocals, guitar and saxophone) and Valerie (vocals & tambourine) packed a lot into each set with little time spent chatting. The first set ended with one of their lively toe-tappers, Robert Mizzell's 'Say You Love Me' and during the second set they performed 'The Irish Rover' for Jack, a former resident of Donnegal. Standard country fare included songs such as 'Wagon Wheel' and 'Dance The Night Away' whereas my personal favourite this evening was another Irish number, 'Fields of Athenry'. The 'feel good' factor prevailed to the end and it was good to see the audience singing and clapping along to many of the songs. I was impressed with the backing tracks which had an original sound to them and it was no surprise to learn that they were self-made and mixed in Davy's Bedfordshire studio.
Thanks to Logic for an entertaining evening and to Dave for providing the music during the breaks.
Best of British Report - June 2016
On a warm, muggy, evening the Ray Peters Band provided a mix of country music that kept those who wanted to dance happy enough while those who just wanted to listen were equally well catered for. Sound quality and volume were just right from the start, as might be expected from such an accomplished and experienced trio. Accompanying Ray were Dave Hayward (pedal steel guitar) and Dean Barnes (lead guitar). Dave has played with, for example, Frank Jennings, Marietta Station and Henry Smith, and Dean with George Hamilton IV, Billy Jo Spears and Philomena Begley.
Ray’s own love of country music started in Spain in the 1990s and I really enjoyed the songs he sung partly in Spanish, e.g. Vertical Expression and another Freddy Fender number, Before the Next Teardrop Falls. Other songs performed this evening included several self-penned numbers and some from the new album ‘Ray Peters and the Smokey Turtle Band’ (the name of the act when they go out as a five-piece band). After three very entertaining sets of live country music (a bargain for just a fiver) the final number was another I particularly liked - the Goodbye Song, not a reference to Brexit but a song specially written by Ray a few years ago to close his shows.
Best of British Report - May 2016
May 14. Paul and Debbie Weston performing as Streamline gave us a superb evening’s entertainment on one of those occasions where the performers seem to enjoy themselves as much as their audience did. We were treated to three fast moving sets as they blended perfectly with both producing first class lead and harmony vocals and playing guitars.
I enjoyed it all but in the second set I was particularly impressed with ‘First Fool In Line’, a current line dance favourite, and they put a lot of feeling into ‘I Told You So’, the Randy Travis/Carrie Underwood duet. Paul & Debbie have now been married almost three years and it was this song that brought them together. During the second break club host Mary presented them with an anniversary card from the club. The third set continued in the same vein with their mix of old and newer country appearing to appeal to everyone and it all seemed to come to an end far too quickly.
Best of British Report - April 2016
Westcoasters were making their second appearance here as a duo although I missed their previous visit in October 2014. They are clearly a popular duo with the line dancers who occupied the dance floor almost continuously, for the first two sets at least, but they kept it country with songs spanning several decades. With vocalist Steve Riley's Fender Telecoustic guitar resting in its stand most of the evening it was lead guitarist Pete Lockwood who provided most of the live music with well recorded backing tracks supporting. As well as singing, Steve spent much of the time dancing, often joining the dancers on the dance floor. For me the novelty entertainment value of this wore off quite quickly and I'm not sure whose benefit this was for. Steve was obviously enjoying himself but personally I prefer to see the entertainers concentrating on entertaining from the stage. There was an interesting mix of comments at the end of the evening with some saying how much they had enjoyed a brilliant evening whereas others were less enthused.
Congratulations to compère Danny who has been busy updating some of the music to be played in the breaks and devising a system enabling requests to be chosen from a list of songs currently popular with dancers. He even thought of a way of showing any that the band will be playing to avoid duplication. This was an immediate hit with the line dancers even though tonight Westcoasters had also kept them happy. Thanks for this Danny, to Dave for playing the music and, of course, to Steve & Pete.
Page 3 of 3