I’ve said it many times before: One of the lovely aspects of Singers’ Nights at Ruthin AllStyles Music Club is the fact we never know who, or indeed how many, will be turning up. This week there were twenty musicians, one new face and few we’ve not seen in a good while, four of whom were Ian, Mick, Gill and Gilly, collectively known as Jabberwocky.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!”
Ah… hang on. That was the Lewis Carroll version.
How about we bring it bang up to date…
“Welcome the Jabberwocky, my friends!
The jaws that sing, the claws that pluck strings
and tinkle upon keyboards and musical things!”
It’s always good to have these guys back at the club; we really don’t see enough of them. Their lively and uplifting eclectic mix of pop, soul and blues covers from the sixties through to the present day, gets your feet tapping and leaves you with a nostalgic yearning for those songs you’d forgotten just how much you loved.
They kicked off the evening for us in fine style with a set that included the 1967 classic “Handbags and the Glad Rags” written by the lead singer of Manfred Mann, Mike d’Abo.
The role-call of regulars this week included Tom and Lynda Degney, Ros and John Ryder, Bob and Penni Neale, Colin Campbell, Richard Davies and Joe Lyon, with covers of some great songs by the likes of The Eagles, John Mayall, Woody Guthrie, Pete Segar, Gene Autry, Boz Scaggs and The Beatles.
Mike Whittaker sang songs by Mike Whittaker and Peter Leslie sang songs by Peter Leslie, both of whom are not only talented songwriters but fine performers to boot.
The latter was using his tiny solid bodied ‘Traveller Escape’ guitar that, once amplified, amazes everyone with it’s big acoustic sound. Peter’s set also included the Dave Wilson song “I’m Cutting Free”.
Nouveau regular, Dave Reese gave us a great rendition of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind” and the Eagles number, “After the Thrill Has Gone”.
Hugh Taylor is someone who falls into the ‘not seen in a good while’ category, have last stepped up to the mic when we were at the Cross Keys some two and a half years ago. Hugh also falls into the “must see more of him” category after hearing his delivery of Leadbelly’s “Poor Howard’s Dead and Gone” followed by a finger-style interpretation of Blind Blake’s “Police Dog Blues”.
Making his AllStyles debut was Trev the Oak. The former pub landlord had us in stitches with a comedy number, followed by a couple of well delivered Bob Dylan Classics.
Robin the Busker sang us a couple of the songs that have taken him rocking towards the £5,000 target in his ‘Busking for Cancer Relief’ project. And it is quite fitting that two days later, together with Jabberwocky, he would soar past that figure following a fund-raising gig at the Bryn Dinas in St Asaph.
And so it was finale time. A truly great evening of music ended the way it began, with a cracking set from Jabberwiocky. After “Good Thing” and “Sweet Home Chicago” the quartet obliged with an encore of Steve Winwood’s “Gimme Some Loving”. In the words of that song we are ‘So Glad You Made It’ guys, and please, make it back here again soon.