July 18th 2021 - ALICE JONES.
It was SO lovely to see all of the friendly, smiling faces gathered in one place to see a real live Poppy Folk Club concert again, after an 18 month enforced gap. Of course, it wasn’t exactly back to ‘Business As Usual’ - we were under an open sided marquee on the boundary of the cricket field at West Bridgford RFC, with well-spaced seating, sanitiser, and a small capacity limit - but the weather smiled favourably on us and we had a gorgeous evening in fresh air and sunshine!
But, enough of the weather. Also smiling down on us was our guest for this come-back concert: the ever cheerful and very talented Alice Jones! Alice is a multi-instrumentalist (tonight we had piano, harmonium and tenor guitar), a dancer and body percussionist, and a lovely singer with a voice reminiscent of the best of the Unthanks delivered in a West Yorkshire accent (she’s born and bred in Ripponden).
Opening with the beautiful ‘Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still’ from the Warner collection (she admits to being a Jeff Warner stalker), Alice’s material was almost all from the folk tradition (with all sources named) but often with a lovely twist - an unusual or rare tune, or a sympathetically arranged rhythm. Highlights for me were the Kidson version of ‘Young Banker’ (with a refrain rather than a chorus); ‘When I Am Far Away’ (another from the Kidson collection); and the always moving ‘Crossing The Bar’
Alice has such a natural stage presence and tells interesting and delightful stories to introduce each song. In summary - a lovely concert!
Because of the outdoor venue and nearby housing we were restricted for time, so couldn’t hear any club singers or have a post-concert sing-around (as we would at the Poppy & Pint), but we did have some very nice 'welcoming in' music from AJAR before the concert.
After all the uncertainty and worry about the change of venue and the current restrictions, the evening was a really pleasant (and delightful) success. Let’s hope things go well and we can be back with more before too long.