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Seán Kelly
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The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« : 01.10.07 at 16:51 »
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Just to let you know that, although it seems you can't book on line for Pete's gig at the Blue Hours on the 19th Oct, you can ring the box office on 01635 522 733 and buy tickets with a card and they will send them to you.  It's unreserved seating apparently so the woman in the box office said "get there as soon after 7pm as you can" (to which I add "stand just behind me please"  Smiley )
Seán
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Simon Reap
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #1: 02.10.07 at 09:12 »
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It's just not fair.  A gig that's so handy for me (I drive past Newbury on the way to work every day), and that evening I will be in South Wales on half-term holiday.  I'm so jealous!
 
Simon
 
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Seán Kelly
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #2: 02.10.07 at 18:49 »
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I'm on the same thing Simon but have successfully managed to bend the destination for the first night  Smiley
Seán
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Cathy Corbishley-Michel
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #3: 05.10.07 at 21:01 »
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Hope to meet some of the MVs there as I am a new bug.   It will be the first time I've seen Pete perform since 1974 when I saw him accompanying MAN when I was a medical student in Bristol.  
Have just bought the CD in anticipation and yes it is the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the fog - many's the time I drove the old yellow Renault 4 to the Ham Green fever hospital across it in the winter of 1979 to do my house jobs.  I used to be the slim little thing with the long dark hair but alas times have changed a bit but from your pictures on the website I think I am not alone.  (Ham Green is now a housing estate - gone are the days of being woken up in the morning by the tea lady singing gaily through the door - ' How many of you are there in there?' and the railway rumbling under the doctor's mess building on its way to sunny Wales.)
 
Cathy
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naomi
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #4: 20.10.07 at 03:21 »
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Thanks to the kindness of our new member Cathy and her husband Geoff, here I am back in London, having been chauffeur-driven by them back from what was a memorable concert at New Greenham Arts, in Newbury. An extremely goodly contingent of MVs  (though I failed to persuade Mr Moss to leg it round from Oxford and back before anyone noticed his absence from the function he was attending  Wink) and a friendly, convivial atmosphere in a lovely - and full - venue.  
 
The singer Barb Jungr, our delightful host at The Blue Hours, opened the evening with a set that featured some of the acclaimed and imaginative reworkings that she has made with her excellent pianist Simon Wallace of Bob Dylan classics: Don't Think Twice, it's All Right, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, and I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. I was knocked out by her impassioned rendition of the "American Songbook" standard DeForest's When Do the Bells Ring for Me - yet also by the simple sincerity of Waterloo Sunset, which she dedicated to Martin Sutherland, the director of the arts centre who is departing for pastures new, and with which she closed the evening after the audience cheered Pete and Simon to the echo.
 
I must say that hearing Pete tonight purely as a singer who was accompanied by a pianist - much of the time he was not playing an instrument - was something of a revelation. It brought home the strength and quality of his baritone voice and its variety of colours - sometimes pellucid, always true; the subtlety of his expressiveness; and the sheer musicality of his phrasing.  
 
The audience - most of whom, I guess, won't have heard Pete before, were spellbound.
 
Just to clarify: Simon Wallace was Pete's piano accompanist. The ensemble between them was wonderful, as indeed it had been between Simon and Barb. Pete played guitar in some of the songs. I humbly apologise for not knowing which of his guitars did duty and failing to ask !!  
 
So here is the list that I have compiled (Mr Kelly was also making notes). "Piano" throughout refers to Simon, "guitar" to Pete.
Please forgive me if I have any of the song-titles, or anything else, wrong - and supply corrections  !!
 
(1)  Touch has a Memory - Pete on guitar; Simon on piano.  
Intimate, moving
 
(2) Perfect Moments - piano and guitar
 
(3) Sessionman's Blues - voice and piano.  
Lovely jazzy playing by Simon; superbly laconic delivery by Pete
 
(4) An Empty Table - voice and piano.
So moving - and the audience plainly found it so. It was all the more touching for being understated. "Less is more", singers are told. Very few can make that seem so natural !
 
"Art-song", my notes say here.  
 
(5) Thief in the Night - voice and piano.
"Again, v expressive baritone", I wrote
 
(6) Master of the Revels - voice and piano.
A brilliant reworking (which I prefer to the original): dark, with Pete's vocal power deployed to suitably menacing effect
 
It linked into
 
(7) Laughing Boy - piano and guitar
 
(8) The Flowers and the Wine - voice and piano.
"Breathtaking", my notes say.
 
"Most of our songs are pretty miserable," Pete observed at this point, "but that's about as miserable as they get."
 
The next song, he suggested, might be sung "the following night in the pub". It was  
 
(9) Payday Evenings - piano and guitar
 
(10) Beware of the Beautiful Stranger - guitar only (Mr Wallace taking a hugely well-earned break at this point)
 
Pete mentioned that Antonia Quirke quoted the lyrics in her highly readable memoir of life as a film critic, Madame Depardieu and the Beautiful Stranger
 
(11) Thirty Year Man - voice and piano
 
It all went so quickly - but tumultuous applause brought
 
an encore: The original Original Honky Tonk Night Train Blues.
 
PS - Visual note: our chansonnier wore black trousers and shirt and light-coloured (taupe?) jacket  
 
- Naomi
 
« Last Edit: 20.10.07 at 03:43 by naomi » IP logged
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #5: 20.10.07 at 10:00 »
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A couple of photographs from last night (taken on the discreet pocket camera, so a little ropey!)
 

 

 

 

 
(Apologies especially to Simon Wallace - from where I was sitting he was hidden by the piano for a lot of the time, so I didn't have chance to get a good shot!)
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Keith Busby
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #6: 20.10.07 at 14:34 »
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Thanks to Naomi and Alexis for the report and pics. I'm sorry to have missed it but couldn't manage a transatlantic quickie (as it were) this time. Will report when the first copy of Midnight Voices arrives in the great Midwest. Unless Bogus has a copy on order which arrives before mine. Sounds like the Beaujolais Nouveau race.
 
Best to all,
 
Keith
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Richard Bleksley
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #7: 20.10.07 at 16:06 »
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Blimey, Naomi, posting at 3.21 in the morning! There's dedication for you….
 
Well, if there was ever a venue for an Atkin gig that looked unpromising from the outside, this was it. In sharp contrast to the lush, picturesque setting of the Ravenswood last year, New Greenham Arts is in an anonymous building lost in the wastes of a "business park," or, as they used to say in older and less euphemistic times, an industrial estate. But did that matter once we were inside and the gig was under way? No, of course it didn't!
 
Cathy C-M and myself had arranged to get acquainted over a pre-gig meal in the New Greenham Tandoori just along the corridor, risking its apparent reputation for dilatory service for the sake of the convenience. It worked out, but only just. Having arrived at 6.15 (I'd intended it to be 6.00, but failed to make quite enough allowance for the horrors of the Friday afternoon half-term traffic), we finally emerged at 7.50, any thoughts of starters, sweets or coffee having gone by the board. It was just as well that Cathy and her husband Keith proved to be agreeable company! In fairness I should say that I've never seen an Indian restaurant so busy so early in the evening, and that the food was very good when it finally arrived.
 
And so to the real business (or pleasure) of the evening. Despite the unpromising setting the atmosphere inside the venue was, as Naomi says, intimate and convivial - right up Pete's street, in fact - helped along in no small measure by the larger-than-life personality of our hostess, Barb Jungr, whose speils between numbers frequently had the audience in stitches. But when it comes down to singing she is, I assure you, very serious business indeed, the possessor of a powerful and incredibly expressive voice, and of an almost uncanny ability to transform someone else's song into something entirely and brilliantly her own. I was particularly impressed by the way she took Kris Kristofferson's Me and Bobby McGee by the scruff of its neck, giving it a funky, Gospel-inflected performance. And nobody hearing her beautiful rendition of Waterloo Sunset, not knowing the original, could have guessed it came from a sixties "beat group" - meaning no slur on Ray Davies' song-writing, for which I have considerable respect. I really must get to hear some of her blues stuff.
 
As for Pete's set, those of you who were at St. George's can imagine the general style of the performance if you mentally subtract the bass and drums. (The guitar, Naomi, was the Atkin, I do believe). I find I need to do a certain amount of mental adjustment at witnessing Pete in the unaccustomed role of "stand-up" vocalist; but, once done, it does, as Naomi says, really bring out his talents as a singer. I won't duplicate Naomi's excellent work in going over the set in detail, but I must spare a few words for Thief in the Night.
 
Firstly, as Pete remarked, it seems odd to do a song about a guitar with no guitar in it; but, as he also said, if you look at the words closely you will see that the bloke in the song doesn't love the guitar at all, he hates it. That had never occurred to me before, but now it's been pointed out it seems obvious.
 
Secondly, I agree with what Colin Boag has said elsewhere. It's always been one of my very favourites (top of my list in last Christmas's poll), and so I could very easily have found such a radical reworking disappointing. Not a bit of it! The new version is every bit as wonderful as the old, just very different - a whole new lease of life for the old warhorse.
 
A word on Pete's comments about The Flowers and the Wine being "about as miserable as they [the songs] get," while Payday Evening might be the same bloke in the pub the next night being a bit more cheerful. It's all down to personal interpretation; but to me The Flowers and the Wine has a wistful, resigned mood, while Payday Evening is the depths of despair. The girls who pull the handles forcing their laughter, the rings on the formica tables, the junkie's girlfriend's face coming apart outside - utter desolation.
 
Those of us who were anticipating by-passing the Post Office's turmoils and going home smugly (Pete's word) clutching a copy of Midnight Voices were doomed to disappointment. Pete had had a senior moment (his words again) and left the box of CDs at home! Rats!
 
Using my usual rule-of-thumb measurement for the proportion of Atkin neophytes (I daren't say "muggles" after being hauled over the coals a few years back on the mailing list) in an audience, i.e. the amount of laughter that greets the line "these earrings are hell and I'm through for the night," I'd agree with Naomi and say that most of the them were not on intimate terms with our hero's work. They certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. Oh, and "they want me to work the afternoon after I'm dead" got a chuckle or two, as well.
 
Simon Wallace was unassumingly brilliant throughout both sets.
 
It seemed a bit strange, having an Atkin gig with neither Janice Sim nor Andy Love in attendance. You missed a good evening, my friends.
 
As I and my little party (wife Maggie and son James) passed Barb Jungr on our way out, she spared a moment (obviously recognising us as non-regulars) to thank us personally for coming. A nice touch, I thought.
 
Have you ever tried to find your way out of an unfamiliar industrial estate in the dark? I was reduced to retracing my wheel-tracks and following another car out!  
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Cathy Corbishley-Michel
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #8: 21.10.07 at 15:09 »
Quote

Just a note to thank all the MVs who welcomed us so warmly to our first event last Friday in Greenham.   Particularly Richard, Maggie and James, with whom we shared a curry, and Naomi who was rash enough to accept a lift back to London with us - despite us advertising the service as 'Mad Axeman Taxis Ltd'.
 
It was good to meet the Birkhills as well as Sean and Alan.  Although I was green with envy as some of them already had the CD (mine is probably at the bottom of a bag in Mount Unpleasant).    
 
The natives of Greenham were friendly and you could have heard a pin drop in Pete's set they were paying such attention, even though most of them had never seen or heard him before.   My 17 year old daughter, Zoe,  refused to come as she might have been the youngest person there, but that was not the case as we sat with a lovely local lady and her granddaughter of about 15.  (Zoe also told us to behave ourselves and be sure not to take any illicit substances as she had heard of all the things that went on in the 70s.  She also told us off for going out to meet people we had contacted through the internet).
 
I will try and make sure it is not another 33 years before I attend a gig again.  Thanks also to Pete for signing my vinyl which I have been carting around from flat to house for some decades.  He was impressed with the condition of the sleeves but this does not mean they were not played, but they were well looked after.
 
A comment on the set, I was so pleased to hear two of my favourites, Perfect Moments and Thief in the Night.  The Thirty Year Man is probably more contemporary today than it was in the 70s reminding me of singers like Joss Stone, and even perhaps Amy Winehouse!
 
yours
 
Cathy
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Richard Bleksley
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #9: 22.10.07 at 11:11 »
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on 21.10.07 at 15:09, Cathy Corbishley-Michel wrote:
 (Zoe also told us to behave ourselves and be sure not to take any illicit substances as she had heard of all the things that went on in the 70s.  She also told us off for going out to meet people we had contacted through the internet).

 
So what sort of person does Zoe take me for, Cathy? Not sure whether to laugh or take offence.  Smiley
 
Seriously, I hope you enjoyed your first Atkin gig for 33 years. It's a long time, ain't it?
 
Richard
 
(the Internet prowler)
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Leslie Moss
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #10: 22.10.07 at 13:25 »
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Sorry I couldn't go, even more sorry I missed it having read the postings. The only consolation is that New College do do a mean "visitors night" dinner and it was a huge pleasure seeing the esteem with which his friends hold our eldest son.
 
And Robin even admitted that one of his friends listed Pete Atkin as his favourite singer on his Facebook page! Perhaps we should introduce him to Zoe?!
 
Did anyone see the interview with Clive James in the Observer yesterday? (It might have been the Sunday Telegraph - I picked up both papers for a glance). It included snippets of Clive's Renaissance Man writings, including an acknowledgment of his skills as a songwriter (described as a "pop lyricist" which is hardly accurate but hey) with some lines from Sunlight Gate.
 
Leslie
 
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Mike Walters
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #11: 22.10.07 at 14:03 »
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You must have picked up more newspapers than you realised, Leslie, as I think the interview must have been the one that appeared in the weekend FT.  It's available on-line at
 
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/691ea774-7de7-11dc-9f47-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check =1
 
Mike
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Cathy Corbishley-Michel
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #12: 22.10.07 at 19:10 »
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Dear Richard
 
Re : "Zoe also told us to behave ourselves and be sure not to take any illicit substances as she had heard of all the things that went on in the 70s.  She also told us off for going out to meet people we had contacted through the internet"
 
Zoe's tongue was very firmly in her cheek and she enjoyed getting her own back on us for all the helpful advice we hand out to her when she goes out at night and when she is on the chatrooms to her friends.
 
And yes we both enjoyed the gig very much and the CD arrived today in the post.  
 
best wishes
 
Cathy
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Seán Kelly
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #13: 27.10.07 at 11:59 »
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Great work Naomi, Richard, Cathy and Alexis (don’t you just hate it when you’ve been away and there’s nothing left to review except the reviews?!).  From the hard-to-find venue to the ebullient Barb you have left me very little to say – so can I just confirm that Simon Wallace was a perfect accompanist and Pete was on terrific form. Perhaps it was having Simon on piano which allowed Pete an extra concentration on the singing?  Perhaps it was just a great night!
Here’s a picture of Pete signing one of the few copies of the new CD that was present on the night.
 

 
Thanks to Alexis for technical support in learning how to put a picture on this board (he declared afterwards he wouldn’t have helped me if he’d known which picture it was! Sorry Alexis  Smiley
 
Seán
« Last Edit: 27.10.07 at 12:16 by Seán Kelly » IP logged
Kevin Cryan
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #14: 29.01.08 at 07:46 »
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on 20.10.07 at 03:21, naomi wrote:
.......................
 
The singer Barb Jungr, our delightful host at The Blue Hours, opened the evening with a set that featured some of the acclaimed and imaginative reworkings that she has made with her excellent pianist Simon Wallace of Bob Dylan classics: Don't Think Twice, it's All Right, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, and I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. I was knocked out by her impassioned rendition of the "American Songbook" standard DeForest's When Do the Bells Ring for Me - yet also by the simple sincerity of Waterloo Sunset, which she dedicated to Martin Sutherland, the director of the arts centre who is departing for pastures new, and with which she closed the evening after the audience cheered Pete and Simon to the echo.
 
.......................
- Naomi
 

 
Barb was one of the recipients of a 2008 Nightlife Award –an award designed to celebrate the best in New York cabaret, comedy and jazz – at an award ceremony last night.  
 
This is how Playbill previewed the event yesterday.
 

2008 Nightlife Awards Presented Jan. 28; Vilanch Hosts
By Andrew Gans  
28 Jan 2008  
 
Bruce Vilanch  
 
Former Hairspray star Bruce Vilanch hosts the 2008 Nightlife Awards — celebrating the best in New York cabaret, comedy and jazz — Jan. 28 at Town Hall.  
The annual awards ceremony boasts no acceptance speeches, just performances. In addition to the winners — who all perform — the 7 PM evening will also feature the talents of Phoebe Snow, Sandy Duncan, John Mulaney, Anat Cohen, Bill Charlap and Sandy Stewart, Lari White, Hilary Kole, Charles Busch, Lucie Arnaz, Julie Halston and Tony Award winners Bill Irwin and Joanna Gleason. Carl Andress directs.  
In a previous statement Nightlife Awards creator-producer Scott Siegel said, "The remarkable aspect about The Nightlife Awards is the incredible diversity of talent we get on the stage. Not only does the audience get the extraordinary experience of witnessing New York's best comedians, jazz artists and cabaret stars all on one stage, in one night, the stars themselves, back stage, regularly comment on the stunning variety of talent of which they are a part."  
 
The complete list of winners of the 2008 Nightlife Awards follows:  
 
Outstanding Cabaret Vocalist in a Major Engagement: Marilyn Maye
 
Outstanding Cabaret Duo or Group in a Major Engagement: John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey
 
Outstanding Cabaret Vocalist: Barb Jungr
 
Outstanding Cabaret Comedy or Characterization: Christine Pedi
 
Outstanding Cabaret Duo or Group: Modern Man
 
Outstanding Piano Bar Entertainer: Natalie Douglas
 
Outstanding Jazz Vocalist in a Major Engagement: Carol Sloane
 
Outstanding Jazz Vocalist: Allan Harris
 
Outstanding Jazz Soloist: Hank Jones
 
Outstanding Jazz Combo: Anat Cohen and the Anzic Orchestra
 
Outstanding Comedian in a Major Engagement: Louis Ck
 
Outstanding Comedian: John Mulaney
 
Outstanding Comic Duo or Group: Flight of the Conchords  
 
Town Hall is located in Manhattan at 123 West 43rd Street. For tickets, priced $25-$75, call (212) 307-4100 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

 
Kevin Cryan
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Kevin Cryan
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Re: The Blue Hours 19th October 2007
« Reply #15: 30.01.08 at 07:22 »
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.. and on the night of the awards  "Brit star Barb Jungr, winner of the vocalist award, remembered the late cabaret crooner-composer Charles DeForest* with his ardently pensive composition "When Do the Bells Ring for Me?";**(Variety)
 
Kevin Cryan
 
*Charles DeForest
 
**When Do those Bells Ring for Me by Tony Bennett
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