True troubadour tales
Planes, Trains and lifts from strangers
Singing Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.
One man, one guitar and pedals. Sean Taylor is the man. An introduction, a smile and it begins, the guitar explodes with sound, fingers fly and like watching a true magician you see the prestidigitation, it's there before your eyes, you just don't see how the task is achieved.
As you listen and try to watch, the instrumental extended opening drops into "Heartbreak Hotel", yes, the song made famous by Elvis Presley. In Taylor's hands, it's a bluesy masterpiece with a sensuous snarl of a whisper for a vocal that gives the words more power than the loudest shout.
And if starting with a classic is setting the bar high then it's a standard that is easily matched as "A Good Place To Die" takes on an intensity not present on the version from his latest album "Flood & Burn". Some songs are better stripped bare. This is one, as Sean howls out the blues.
Messages in songs - Life goes on, be strong. Fight On.
Social commentary, a new song "The Cold Wind Blows", the inequality of life in London, the money of the Strand workers passing by the homeless at their feet. Poverty and wealth physically so close, spiritually so far away.
Stories that start small and grow with the telling, the inbetween song banter is loose, relaxed, delivered with a smile, even when making a point. "The Cruelty Of Man" jazz chords allegedly out of a book, is that improvisation set to a standard? Simon Cowell an easy, yet arguably deserved, target.
A lighter side, love. "Perfect Candlelight", my introduction to Sean Taylor's work from the 2010 release "Walk With me", matched with an amusing anecdote of being a Vegetarian in Dublin where the album was recorded.
The first set concludes with the delay pedal wonder that "So Fine" becomes live, Taylor claims, tongue in cheek I suspect, that with a previously drug influenced audience many years ago this used to last for hours and in truth it's seven pedal enhanced minutes that fly by.
All too soon the second set that opens with a funky cover of "Sixteen Tons" includes "Troubadour", (the inspiration for the attempt at a Haiku which begins this review) and songs such as "Calcutta Grove" and W.B.Yates poem "White Birds" set to music, nears the end.
It closes with the anthemic "Stand Up" a rallying heartfelt call to fight greed and injustice.
A rousing reception resulted in not one but two encores', the first a cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" which matches Jimi Hendrix's electric guitar fuelled version for interpretation in my eyes. And finally, Richie Havens trad inspired gospel song "Freedom" is belted out with a passion and warmly received by those in the audience.
A fitting end to an excellent night's music at Jamie Knowles' Globe that began with talented local Singer/Songwriter Rosie Arnfield whose positive songs about personal experiences charmed those present. Rosie possesses a fine voice, her song about the memories of her Nan stood out for me.
Live music just doesn't get any better than this.
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