On 11th January 2006 at 14:17 Anonymous 4028 wrote...
missed a few notes??? i doubt it very much!
Live at Faversham on Sunday, 8th January 2006
If plugged-in acoustic is about Tone and Feel as well as Volume, the rate of exchange can be a bit mean over how much V you have to accept for a bit of T and F. But in spite of the acoustic being electro-fortified for a small audience in a quiet venue, the Faversham's Sunday Session was good place to be, on an evening alluringly heralded by a poster comparing two young Leeds entertainers to Joan Baez and Leon Russell.
David Broad opened the show, working in his signature rather speedy pre-war blues style featuring much skilled finger-picking, and in the first couple of numbers singing perhaps a little louder than suited the level of amplification. It was through the next number, a slower more mournful Woody Guthrie creation that he brought in a better atmosphere which carried through the rest of his set of songs. His way with a guitar is both strong and delicate, absorbing to watch as well as hear, and notable for a mature restrained use of slide. Eerily, the stage lighting gave tonight's instrument a creosoted look.
Something which only nearly happened (with the final number of Broad's set) may have been a gem that got away before its value was recognised. For a few opening bars of up-tempo and suitably up-volume 'John Henry' he produced a thrilling machine-like effect, getting the blast and clang of the music's railway sound, and bringing real expectations of a tour-de-force : then suddenly dropped the song, not satisfied with his tuning. After a couple of attempts at improving it, he yielded to audience encouragement to 'Do it anyway!' and still managed to bring off a success. David Broad has a good repertoire, both of old-time songs and his own compositions, and such undoubted high playing ability that he might allow his audiences an occasional tune as an instrumental showpiece.
Fran Rodgers : not only has she a voice God-given for the purpose of singing, all other uses being secondary, but she seems to belong so firmly and so enjoyably in the era that flavours her work. It's a treat to be able to describe a voice as a solid deep soprano even if the phrase sounds a bit self-contradictory. Truly evocative of the folk revival of the 1960s, Fran Rodgers' voice may be the equal of any British example of that time, and also invites comparison with American singers : the poster offered us Joan Baez whose songs Fran has sung at times, and tonight she included Cass Elliot among the few covers in a set of mainly her own material.
In this material she may have a challenge to meet. Her own songs aren't always a match for the might of their performer's talent. A recent one is titled 'Carousel', the sort of word that could sit more easily amongst an artist's youthful work. It wasn't the only new piece in tonight's gig, and she gave a good delivery of one that was having its first time before an audience. She accompanies herself ably on guitar, and the amplification generally settled more comfortably round Fran's performance than David's, even if listeners at the back could indeed hear the dulcimer clearly enough before it was connected for the one song in which it featured.
Fran Rodgers sings as if she's accumulated her abilities over a lifetime's practice, whereas it's a matter of only the last few years, as she tells in a Radio York interview on her website. Could this account for how, on tonight's showing, she seems to miss a note from time to time - not when going for the big ones, but just the vocal equivalent of catching the wrong string on a guitar, or maybe that's what is was, with the vocal note though accurate clashing a bit? One of the pleasures of listening to her set was the distinct increase in confidence and quality that has come into the Rodgers presentation since recording the pieces available as mp3s on the website. They're worth a listen though - and if you do it before Feb 2, you can then move on to the live experience at Sandinista, and enjoy the enigmatic Mr Broad on the same bill.