Acorn Folk Club 11th December Review

Thanks to Eileen and the AcornFolk Club: for sending this through.

The Acorn Folk Club presented an Extra Special Guest Night, hosting PHIL BEER, ambassador of Folk Roots Music, on Saturday 10th December in the Pier Room at The Old Ship Aground. Phil, as part of the duo Show of Hands, won best duo and best song in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2010, and they have filled the Albert Hall three times. However, Phil is such a genuine musician and charming person that he is truly delighted to fill the Acorn’s regular venue with some 70 people, and to sing and play acoustically using two guitars, tenor guitar, ukelele and fiddle, this last being the instrument for which he is perhaps best known.

He opened his two marvellous sets with “Jack Frost Away” (Steve Ashley) – very appropriate as we were blessed with a mild evening, going on to “In Young’s Town” (Bruce Springstein) with tenor guitar, and then fiddle for “The Devil’s Right Hand” – immediately taking the audience with him to sing the choruses. He then introduced the ukelele as being an important branch of musical history, using it in a unique way to play O’Neill’s Irish tunes, Beatles numbers and O’Carolan harp tunes! His program included the blues “Cocaine” influenced by David Graham, and the amusing “I Hold Your Hand in Mine” (Tom Lehrer).

Phil told us of sailing on the “Pegasus” with the late much-loved folk musician, Tony Rose’s son Didgery, and of how they had sung into the early hours, then giving us “Pleasant and Delightful” (trad) and filling the Acorn with song – a very moving experience. Throughout Phil spoke so naturally. describing his musical research and connected journeys, and mentioning Charles Causley (Devon) and Johnny Coppin (Songwriter).

There were 10 much appreciated floor spots to support this fabulous evening, including rousing carol singing from the Acorn Crew. Eileen Ann Moore and Jim Parham, Club organisers, who sing as a duo, enjoyed the greatest privelege when Phil picked up his fiddle and accompanied their singing of the Dorset traditional “Blue Cockade”.

Phil finished the evening with a medley, which featured the work of the Gloucestershire poet Frank Mansell “This War is Over” which brought tears to the eyes, and like his opening, was so appropriate to what is happening in the world today, when we all wish for “Peace and Tranquility” from Eileen Ann’s Song “Peace in Minehead” with which she opened the whole evening. Thanks to Steve Pledger who played soft guitar tunes for some twenty minutes as people were arriving, which created a very nice atmosphere.

Called back for an encore, Phil Beer, famous himself, enthused about playing “Alice” (Neville Brothers) with Little Feet at Trowbridge Festival, and said that he had loved being here at the Acorn Folk Club and would be pleased to come again. YES is the answer to that! Thanks to all who performed and attended and to Brenda Freshwater, landlady, her daughter Melanie and staff for the use of the great venue, so festively decorated for the season.