The Poppy Folk Club. The Poppy and Pint, Pierrepont Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham. NG2 5DX. Poppy Logo. Pint pot logo.
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Doug Eunson and Sarah Matthews
Sunday 21st May 2017

We've seen Doug Eunson and Sarah Matthews at the Poppy Folk Club several times since, as members of Cupola (with Oli Matthews), they were the performers at the clubs opening night in May 2011. We've seen them as Cupola (twice) and with Lucy Ward as Cupola:Ward; and we've seen Sarah perform solo and (twice) as part of Moirai. So, for our sixth Birthday concert we thought we'd aske Doug and Sarah to play as a duo - one of the few combinations of their talents we've not seen!

While Doug is an ace player of the Hurdy-Gurdy, for their duo performances he concentrates on playing melodeon and singing, while Sarah sings and plays fiddle, viola and guitar.

They started their concert with a set of tunes written by Simon Care & Dave Shepherd, then moved on to one of our favourite topics with a song 'In Praise of Alcohol' (words by R W Service; tune by David Parry) with Doug singing the lead. Then a lovely Mazzurka - 'Songbirds in June', written by Sarah for the wedding of some friends, was followed by Sarah's song 'High Flyers' (a potted history of Rolls-Royce engineering!) with Sarah singing and accompanying herself on viola. Tony Dean's 'Padstow Song' gave the audience a chance to join in with its well-known chorus.

Doug and Sarah have recently been involved in the remake of the 'Tale of Ale' - an album of songs, tunes and stories first released in the 1970's - and the next song was 'Good Ale for my Money' from that 'Tale of Ale Revisited' album, with Sarah leading. Last song up in the first half was one of my favourites on the night - John Tams' song 'Lily Guilders' about the disappearing crafts of the fairground ride painters. Doug sang the lovely lines 'In the glitz and the glamour, we're just selling smiles'. After the break, the second half was started with the song 'The Dutch in the Medway' - a poem by Rudyard Kipling set to music by Peter Bellamy - describing the time (350 years ago) when the Dutch Navy sailed up the Thames and Medway to Chatham, where they destroyed a significant part of the British Fleet.

More songs followed - Sarah sang about 'The Windmill at Heage', and Doug sang a particularly gruesome version of 'Andrew Rose', before a pair of tunes 'The Roman Reel/English Country Garden' cheered us up again. Leon Rosselsen's 'The Ant and the Grasshopper' (sung by Doug) followed, before the duo finished the set with a trio of tunes: 'A Yorkshire Pudding, The Dark Knight, and Bending the Ferret'. Doug told us he'd played this a a club somewhere and a member of the audience had brought along a ferret to bend! Phil Preen, always up for a challenge, rooted around in the Poppy store cupboard and emerged with a makeshift ferret made from a feather boa!

The audience called for an encore, and Doug and Sarah obliged, with a rousing 'Apple Tree Wassail' to close a terrific Birthday Concert.

Many thanks go to Marc Block and to Stephen and Julie Wigley for their songs to open each half of the concert! After the concert, the room was quickly turned around for the Poppy tradition of a post-concert sing-around. We had a particularly lovely little session this time with Doug and Sarah both staying on and adding to the mix. Thanks to everyone who stayed for this: Dave, Phil, Julie, Claire from the club; Corinne Male; Steve & Julie; Chris and Gill Nixon; Alistair Bloomfield; Allison Turner & Juliet Woodin; Catherine Soubre; Steve Plowright; Marc Block (who sang Don MacLean's 'Vincent' with lovely accompaniment from Sarah Matthews and Juliet Woodin); and to Doug and Sarah.

It was a lovely joining-in sort of sing-around, with more tunes that sometimes is the case and lots of instrumental additions to songs. Excellent!