It's that time again when
your roving reporter tries to recollect events from a gig, and decipher
disconnected jottings made on the back of an envelope ( no kidding + I
Arriving at 8ish, having struggled through bank
holiday M4 traffic, resplendent (is that the right word ?) in unchanged
gleaming white interview shirt from the afternoon (yes, I got the job),
Stripes was still fairly lightly populated, with as many musicians as
'crowd'. Stepan Pasicznyk was at the bar - nothing unusual in that.
What was unusual was that he was in the process of reassembling his
accordion, said instrument having suffered a mishap on its journey
there ( This tale recounted in gents, as one does, at end of the night.
Mini flyer also received: See www.theukes.com for upcoming gigs ).
Having availed myself of refreshments by the way of
the magnificent creamy Worthington bitter, I took the opportunity to
browse through the sleeve notes of one of a pile of the new Elvis Lives
Here CDs on the sales table. Yes, Olivier, it does include lyrics of
all the tracks. Also, as promised, immortalised in history are the
names of those credited with contributing [ by buying the taster EP ].
There must be around 150 names. Also on display, autographed mandolin
for charity raffle ( more on that later *).
"About half the recordings are live - see if you
can spot 'em"
Album "Cast of Characters" + also performing on the
- Tom Spencer,
- Ricky McGuire,
- Jon Odgers,
- Bobby Valentino,
- Ashley Halloween,
- Laurie Sherman (of The Barker Band - banjo),
- Stepan Pasicznyk
- Paul Simmonds ( MC for the night).
Playing 6 string acoustic, Paul opened the evening
once the playing CD was silenced ( have I mentioned that Esther Angel
was manning the soundboard ? ) to " a wave of indifference".
Paul sang "The Hill" - his own composition, from
Cherry Red Jukebox, and then introduced Swill ( dubbing him "Sgt.
Pepper" ! ), who started with "Pieces of Paradise" and then sang Mick
Thomas's "The Trigger".
Paul then introduced Stepan for a solo session,
noticeably ( to me anyway ) not attempting to say his surname. As
usual, Stepan was good value with his 3 songs, the first 2 of which (
forgive me if my Ukrainian translation is lacking ), were "The
Sheepherders Song" and "My Gypsy Woman". There followed, in English, a
song that Stepan had penned so recently that he needed a crib sheet to
remember the words, on the subject of Wayne Rooney's misfortunes,
entitled "Even Without You We Can Win".
Next set-let was performed By Tom Spencer,
accompanied by Ricky on bass and Laurie on banjo, consisting of songs
from Fast Lane Roogalator ( www.fastlaneroogalator.com ) album
including "Johnny Be Better".
Swill then sang solo: "Marjory and Johnny", "Great
Expectations" and "Greenback Dollar", before being joined by most of
the massed ranks of the SwaggerBand for:
- "Lost in the Flood",
- "Ready to Blow",
- "The Thief The Brief and the Boy in Blue",
- "Elvis Lives Here",
- "The Story" [ of TMTCH ],
Now joined by Bobby Valentino ( further comings +
goings not accurately tracked !) for:
- "Hanwell Shuffle" [ Instrumental ],
- "Drag Me Down",
- "Just A Dial Tone Away",
- "The Drinkers",
- "In The Breeze".
Swill, accompanied only by Bobby V. sang "Sam
Hall", before being re-joined by all the Swaggers plus Paul for a great
rendition of "The Day After", - wild apocalypses all round.
Intermission for raffle* drawing fiasco. The
original book of 100 green tickets had been sold and a yellow book
started. Of course, no one had told Swill this, and when he drew and
announced that number 22 had won the signed mandolin, up stepped buyers
of both number 22s ! There followed a decider to allocate the main
prize and a consolation T-shirt. Swill reckoned that the T-shirt was
more valuable anyway, having earlier asked that if the mandolin was won
by a musician, they shouldn't expect to be able to play any credible
music on it !
Final encore was "Green Fields of France", notable
for Bob joining in on chorus and total lack of stage invasion - too
easy at Stripes - no challenge!
That's about it. A good time was had by all and I
echo the thanks to Pete Crook and all that made the whole thing
possible. Thanks too to those who have / are going to upload pics to
the site. All I have to do now is listen to the new album.