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15th November 2007 - Allan Taylor in Concert

'Different Dreams'....... to....... 'Some Dreams'

Allan Taylor with jiva in support - our final Special Guest Night of 2007. Super! This was Allan's second visit during Jimmy and Val's stewardship of the club.

Allan and jiva arrived at 6:00 pm to ensure the room was set up properly (it was... hurrah!), to set up the equipment and do a thorough soundcheck before the audience arrived. Diane Green joined us around 6:30 to look after the door - thanks, Diane... very much appreciated.

The moment Allan stepped up to the microphone and started playing guitar he effortlessly filled the Bothal Suite with beautiful music. He then took great care to ensure that Jimmy & Val's voices and guitars were perfectly balanced to give jiva the best sound they've ever had at Ashington.

Then, as people started to arrive we were able to spend time chatting to old friends and saying a welcoming 'Hello' to newcomers. Allan even found time for a little bit of offstage guitar jamming!

The room was filling up nicely and there was an expectant buzz as the minutes ticked down towards 8:30.

Exactly on time, the room lights were dimmed and the audience chatter faded as jiva took to the stage in their usual colours - black clothes, purple wristbands, purple guitar leads and purple leather guitar straps on their Taylor 6 and 12 string guitars. After a brief introduction from Val they launched into 'Different Dreams', a lively self-penned number that got some of the audience singing. Next was a gentle Anthony John Clarke song, 'An Acquaintance Of Mine', which demonstrated the beautiful interplay of the two guitars (thanks to Allan for setting up the sound to perfection). They followed with 'Passin Thru', a song written by Randy Scruggs and Johnny Cash. For their final number jiva gave us another of their own compositions, 'Some Way Home'. Four songs, twenty minutes, all well received... yes, it was a good night in the making.

While the stage was cleared of jiva's gear, Val made the Early Bird draw which gives one early ticket buyer a refund of their ticket price. Then she introduced the Special Guest of the evening, Allan Taylor.

'Brighton Beach' was the opening number... it covers four decades (60s to the 90s). Allan surprised us by slipping in a line from 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow'. He then took us from Brighton Beach UK to Brighton Beach USA, telling us about his early days in America as he introduced a song about New York in the 70s. As a request he sang 'The Morning Lies Heavy', explaining how during his time in America he came face to face with the prospect of friends and relatives being drafted to go to war in Vietnam. This powerful and thought-provoking song is equally applicable to anyone who has to deal with either themselves or loved ones being called up. Still in USA vein, he sang 'Homestate' - expressing his feelings towards New York State where he lived for some years. Then, after telling us how lots of his songs came from observations and conversations in bars in many countries, Allan sang 'Los Companeros' - a song chronicling an old man's recollections of fighting for the revolution with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, and how it didn't turn out as hoped. The first half closed with 'Frenchtown', a dark and moody ballad which was given extra atmosphere by Allan's slide guitar introduction. There was great applause from the appreciative audience, and then the lights came up for the break.

After the obligatory raffle, Val called Allan back to the stage for his second set. He dedicated his first song, 'Back Home To You', to hosts Jimmy and Val (and 'let the cat out of the bag' when he remarked 'You're learning this one, aren't you'). He quickly taught the chorus to the audience, and they didn't disappoint - a good start to the second half. Next was 'Running On Dreams', which again had joining in on the last lines of the verses. Allan talked a little about the debt musicians and songwriters owe to traditional music, and then played a delightful pastiche folk song, 'Firefly'. He followed this with 'Roll On The Day' - a song which has already become accepted into the realms of the folk tradition of this country. Again the audience were in good form as they raised their voices in harmony to this very moving song. Allan shared with us his teenage thoughts of boredom with the lives of his parents generation and of how, with hindsight, he could now appreciate the sacrifices that were made to ensure more opportunity for the following generations. This led into the heartfelt story of 'The Almost Man' - a song which is as poignant as it is powerful - Allan taking us on a journey of discovery and of valediction. All too soon it was time for the final song of the second set, and Allan turned up the pressure to finish with a thunderous performance of 'Kerouac's Dream'.

There were cheers and whistles and shouts for more as Allan stepped down from the stage. Val managed to quieten the audience a little as she thanked Allan for a wonderful show but, as soon as she announced there'd be 'one more song' from our special guest there was more cheering and punching the air and cries of 'Yes!' in appreciation. Returning to the stage, Allan encored with the much-requested 'Some Dreams'. The audience quickly picked up on the chorus, making an emotional end to another very special night from the best singer/songwriter ever to grace the stage of Ashington Folk Club.

Unfortunately, no one took any photographs of jiva while they were on stage doing their fine job in providing support. So you'll have to be content with this shot of their guitars (resplendent with purple leads and purple leather straps) awaiting their opportunity to be part of this magnificent evening.

Thank you, and goodnight...

Note from Jimmy & Val (jiva): Thanks to Diane Green for sterling help on the door. We had a truly memorable night - thank you to everyone for your support... it was wonderful to see so many friends and new faces. Please feel free to add your comments in our Guestbook.

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