Sunday 18th June 2017
Greg Russell has, in his short career to date, achieved a huge reputation as a strong singer and a strong character, as a solo performer as well as in several collaborations. I first saw him as a very young musician with Ciaran Algar in their award-winning duo. Since then he has been involved in some top-notch projects including the revival of Peter Bellamy's 'The Transports' (currently touring again); and 'Shake the Chains' with Peggy Seeger, Martin Simpson and others. He has also been part of Mick Ryan's work, featuring in the Folk Opera 'A Day's Work'; as well as touring as part of Nancy Kerr's Sweet Visitor Band! That's a terrific curriculum vitae already!
Greg's concert at the Poppy was part of a tour to promote his 2017 solo CD, 'Inclined to be Red', which is pretty much a statement of Greg's social and political outlook.
An excellent start with the rousing 'On the Road to Dorchester' - about the Tolpuddle Martyrs - was followed by Si Khan's 'What You Do with What You've Got'; 'Did You See the Battle Sir?'; 'The Silent Majority'; and plenty more songs with the theme of social justice and political protest.
But Greg has grown up with a considerable influence from more traditional music, and the concert included the Keith Marsden classic 'Willy 'Ole Lad' beautifully sung unaccompanied, as well as the child ballad 'The Two Magicians'; providing great contrast of styles. And another surprise - the last song of the set was the Labi Siffre song 'Something Inside So Strong'!
The audience was impressed, and Greg came back for an encore to give us the Pete Coe song 'Rolling Down the Ryburn' - another great song with a cracking chorus to close the show!
Many thanks to our two singers from the audience who started each half of the concert - Sheila Mosely and Dave Walters - and to Sheila, Corinne Male, the Poppy Team, and Greg Russell for staying back after the concert for a quiet but pleasant singaround session.