Pete Atkin

guest appearance by Naomi Hyamson

Walthamstow Folk at The Plough, E17, January 11th 2009

Review by Seán Kelly (originally posted in Midnight Voices)

Walthamstow Folk

Pete at Walthamstow

Ian Sorenson told me I had to post the setlist "before midnight" - hey I'm late, sorry Ian - blame it on the post-gig tea and toast [how rock and roll eh? ]

Well, a really excellent set (actually two sets) from Pete at Walthamstow tonight. I overheard someone in the Gents saying "He just gets better and better" - so right!

There were some good floor spots including MV's: Russ Chandler who is a mainstay of the Walthamstow folk club played an excellent version of a Ewan McColl song and Alan Neville sang a very funny song he wrote inspired by the Chinese Terracotta Army.

And then it was Pete - as promised all songs were on guitar. I promised Jan I would take a setlist - since she couldn't come - so... Pete's setlist went like this:

Thief In The Night

The Pearl-Driller

Sunlight Gate
          - not an obvious choice for guitar only set - but really worked!

Ballad Of An Upstairs Window
          - Pete said this was requested on this website by private message [Aside: Like a moment of
          enlightenment I suddenly realised as Pete sang it that the comic effect of the whole song revolves
          around the use of the word "illumined"]

Thirty Year Man
          - yes, still on guitar - I know - unreal! You had to be there - No idea if he'll ever do this again -
          I sat listening to it and not believing it even as I heard it!

Senior Citizens
          - which without a break went straight into

Time To Burn
          - at least I guess this is what this one is called. I asked Pete about it afterwards [but didn't check
          the title - sorry] and he confirmed it is a new song written with Clive - I hadn't been sure: the lyrics
          are so compact I wondered if another hand had written them. Pete said he has played it before -
          Jan can tell us where. Then to finish the first set:

Girl On The Train

Then Interval - raffle - other singers - followed by our very own Naomi Hyamson accompanied by Jenny on piano doing a setting of a song from Shakespeare called Come Away Death, followed by a lovely version of An Empty Table - with an authorised line change Naomi said, so that a woman can sing it. A rare treat this (especially in a folk club!)

Pete's second set went as follows - still all on guitar:

Have You Got A Biro I Can Borrow?

Here We Stay
          - [many thanks indeed to Pete from the requester!] For those who heard both versions a while ago
          in Sheffield: this was Version 2 with the marching rhythm which has obviously become the
          permanent version.

The Flowers And The Wine
          - requested by 2 people, apparently.

Sessionman's Blues

The Last Hill That Shows You All The Valley
          - someone [the requester?] let out such a big whoop as this started that it stopped things in their
          tracks for a moment . It was a rocking version too - great stuff.

Care-charmer Sleep
          - a song no-one ever requests, apparently - so Pete's own choice.

Errant Knight
          - lots of laughs from the audience - signs of this being new to some people - not everyone in the
          audience was an MV!

I See The Joker
          - "I'll play the Single version" said Pete (i.e. the shorter version). A terrific version of this song.
          I think it was about this song that Pete said "I am about to take my life in my hands in an
          unprecedented act of hubris... in other words play it on guitar"!

          Pete's setlist seemed to end here but there was time for another song - so an inspired call from
          someone in the front row [well done sir!] gave us
Perfect Moments

          - then more shouts/requests resulting in
The Original Original Honky Tonk Night Train Blues

          - and then finally Pete chose to go out with
Touch Has A Memory
          which was a great way to end the night.

The second set was longer but there was time, and Claire Chandler who was MC'ing kept encouraging him to do another - and of course we encouraged her!

It was very interesting to have an all-guitar set - and just a privilege to see and hear Pete perform all these songs; the mature delivery is indeed "better than ever". Thanks to everyone (including Russ for the booking) - and Thanks Pete!


More members' observations on this event in Midnight Voices

Main photo Seán Kelly; this photo Val Jennings

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