A musical resolution

IF I were the sort to make New Year resolutions (which I’m not), one of them for 2012 would be to see more live music.

I’m not talking here about modern music by the likes of The Strangulated, The Weirdos or The Talentless.

No, I’m referring to the good old music of days gone by.

It has been remiss of me, but the last time I saw a live concert was a few years ago when I took one of my sons to see Lindisfarne at the Plinston in Letchworth.

It was a bit of an effort to get him to accompany me as he was 17 or 18, into other sorts of music and electric folk did not appeal to him. But the lure of free beer got him to go along and he really enjoyed it.


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But then he would because good music is good music and Lindisfarne were among the best in the business.

When I was a teenager in the 60s I was into both pop and folk music. I remember a memorable night at the Broadway Cinema when rock ‘n’ roll legend Gene Vincent topped the bill.

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He was a great singer, but what I particularly recall about the night was seeing Gene, who had suffered a horrendous leg injury in a road accident, still struggling to walk down steps off the stage halfway through the follow-on band’s act.

On another night, the Beatles were booked to appear there but the concert was cancelled because the band had been invited instead to appear the same night in a Royal Variety show.

Somewhere I used to visit every Sunday night was Hitchin Folk Club which met at the Railway Tavern (later called the Talisman Hotel).

I began going there in 1964 when it was run by local journalist and banjo player Roger Pearson (the older brother of a friend of mine, Keith, who went on to become a folk artist).

I think it was in 1965 when the guest singer one night was an earnest young American on his first tour of England who was unknown to most people.. He made quite an impression on me and I later bought his album. He was Paul Simon.

There were many fine acts which appeared at the club. One of my favourites was Johnny Silvo, a folk “shouter” who always put on a great show. He endeared himself to cash-strapped me by generously buying me a drink one night.

I was sorry to learn that Johnny died shortly before Christmas soon after celebrating his 75th birthday.

The person who took over running the club from Roger was a young folk devotee called Maureen (now Jones) who is still there after 45 years.

I’m told that the first booking she ever arranged was on January 22, 1967. It was a band called Picadilly Line which she can’t remember a thing about now.

To celebrate the milestone, the club’s favourite act, Show of Hands, appear there this Sunday.

Well done, Maureen. May there be many more memorable nights at the club under the leadership of you and your husband Keiron.

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