Sunday 19th November 2017
This was a really excellent night at the Poppy Folk Club. We knew it would be good - we're big fans of James Fagan and Nancy Kerr (who were brilliant guests for us as a duo in September 2013), and of Richard and Jess Arrowsmith; but the Quartet excelled in this concert - part of their tour to launch their new album, 'Dominion'.
We had an excellent packed house with a responsive audience singing along and applauding loudly.
The first half of the concert was all taken from the new CD, Dominion, starting with the gorgeous acapella 'Mariah's Gone', and including songs led in turn by each member of the Quartet. Nancy sang a lovely and unusual version of 'The Seeds of Love'; Richard led a lively and humorous 'Ware out Mother' - a song about an invasion of canal building navvies; James led a Martin Carthy song 'Dominion of the Sword'; and Jess sang a totally lovely and sad Paul Davenport song 'Davy Cross'. There were, of course, tune sets too; 'Rosslyn Castle', a lovely tune played on fiddles, melodeon and guitar, being a favourite.
The second set included a mix of Dominion and their previous album 'Fifty Verses'. Once again, a lovely acapella 'When You Were Born You Cried' featuring all four voices was terrific, but other highlights included James's singing of 'Bampton Fair' and his own tune 'Low Quebec', Jess's 'Wedding Bells' song; Nancy's 'Fifty Verses' and Richard's leading of 'Raise Your Voice', written for him by Jess. The set was completed by a set of Polkas, but with the audience cheering for more we were treated to a two-song encore - Twelve Apostles, and the rousing and great finishing song 'Bright Morning Star'. An excellent finale to an excellent concert!
A big thank you to Steve Parry (who opened the evening with a song from the floor - on his first visit to the club!) and to our own Claire Halliday for her melodeon tunes to open the second half.
As always, we followed the concert with an hour of 'singaround' for those who wanted to stay a little longer. Poppy crew Phil, Julie, Dave, Juliet & Ally, Claire all sang or played, as did Bill Wilkes, Ian Price, Wil Walker, John Stephenson, Jenny Bell and a chap from Sheffield whose name I'm afraid I didn't get but who sang very nicely indeed! Alistair Bloomfield played some 48-bar jig tunes and was joined by Jess, Nancy and James since Melrose Quartet (who had intended to get off home straight after the concert) had got hooked into the music! Marc Block sang a song taught to him by James Fagan and, in a lovely Poppy moment, was accompanied by James and Nancy! Probably one of the best post-concert sessions I can remember at the club!