Sunday 17th November 2013
The Poppy and Pint, Pierrepont Road,
Lady Bay, West Bridgford, Nottingham.
Keith Kendrick is one of Derbyshire's finest, and has been at the forefront of the traditional English music scene since the late 1960's. He has performed solo; in duos with the likes of Barry Coope and Lynne Heraud; and in groups, including The Druids, Ram's Bottom, Muckram Wakes, The Anchor Men, and more recently Three Sheets to the Wind and the RAM company. He is a master of both Anglo and English concertinas and has a powerful and yet sensitive voice. Since 2003 he has been singing with Sylvia Needham, who adds wonderful vocal harmonies, musical accompaniment on the McCann 'Duet' concertina, and is a beautiful singer in her own right. Their recent CD 'Well Dressed' is one I play over and over and is a fine place to start if you have been on a long journey to a far off galaxy and are not yet familiar with their music.
Brian Dawson from Lincolnshire was to have been our much anticipated guest on this night, but very sadly had a heart attack a week before the concert and, although we didn't know it at the time, was to lose the fight for life a week or so later. Under the circumstances, Keith and Sylvia took no persuading at all to step in at very short notice to give us a great night of traditional songs.
The evening was started for us by another couple of Brian's friends, Nick Burdett and Jacky Lockley; and the second half by Marian Button who had travelled up from Kent to be there!
Keith and Sylvia got their set off to a great start with 'The Five Gallon Jar' and 'Banks of the Nile' from their 2011 CD, Well Dressed. Keith, at one point trying to check the set list in the half-light, joked that "it can be a bit of a problem for a folk singer when you're losing your sight, your hearing and your memory" - but he need not have worried as they sang and played beautifully through songs from Well Dressed, a good deal of older material, and a few Roger Watson songs - Roger being a big influence of Keith from his time in Muckram Wakes.
Gold Stars for me were for the fabulous singing on 'Once I courted a Damsel' and 'Love Farewell'; the terrific Roger Watson song 'Gilliver' about the faithful pit pony; and the uplifting 'Dwelling in Beulah land' of which somebody once said 'if that didn't get you going, nothing will'.
It was all terrific stuff - just about the best I've seen them, and a huge thank you goes to Keith and Sylvia for stepping in at the last minute.
Many thanks also to everyone who stayed back for the after-concert song and music session - including Des and Margaret Redwood, Jenny Bell, Lynn Goulbourn, Corrine Male, John and Sheila Bentham, Nick and Jacky, Wil Walker and, of course, Keith and Sylvia.