Billy Mitchell Concert Review
Washington Folk Club - Saturday, 8th November 2003
by Mike and Hazel Jessop
One week after the demise of Lindisfarne, Billy played his first solo gig as the
“First night of my new career”
at Washington Folk Club on Saturday to a full house.
At 8.44 pm Billy rolled up his sleeves and launched into This Guitar Never Lies to discover he’d picked up the wrong harmonica which after the middle 8 the song went up a key well..but the harmonica was left behind !
Darling Be Home Soon came next before humorous references to crime in North Shields and an explanation that the next song – Reason To Believe – was the first recording Billy ever made in 2.5 minutes for 10 Bob in Central Station. The beautiful 12 String Guild came out next for Rod Clement’s Sundown Station, a Lindisfarne tune favoured by Billy but rarely played by the band - some lovely use of Dsus4 too !
Billy recounted the background before playing Happy Birthday Dad adding that whilst he had experienced the male menopause he successfully did so without any shopping bursts !
The Rab Noakes song Together Forever was next but sadly needed to be brought to an abrupt end by a broken D string, this shortened the first set but the 3 planned songs were interwoven back into part 2.
After a range of resident’s contributions, including one on the same Simon & Patrick machine as my own, Billy reappeared at 10pm to tell us – for the next 6 minutes - of his Uncle Dick in the Prudhoe Home Guard – the second half was apparently recorded by Ron and the great atmosphere of fine music and superb humour like this would be a great treat to hear.
Next came Rocking Chair, then Walking to Blueberry Hill, before more cracks concerning another Uncle ( How many have you William ? ) – this one Ernie at Meadowell, and young Crispen too. After a fine Born at The Right Time, came a brilliant Dublin gardening story and news of the new Shields pub – The Flying Stool!
A much appreciated favourite – Mr Bojangles on Capo 5 was delivered next before Wild World, an old solid favourite. Remember Tomorrow sounded wonderful, back with the 12 string now, before Meet Me On The Corner brought up the communal harmonies in both verses and chorus.
Ghost In Blue Suede Shoes showed Billy’s excellent picking styles accompanied by more Mackem choruses, before Billy closed with a song unplanned but requested – Billy played for Hazel, “a long-time supporter of me”, the lovely January Man which was much appreciated by us and others listening too.
Two encores followed the Hamster Pelt – Can’t do Wrong for Doing Right with fine picking and bass runs, then a belting The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down with a lovely unusual acapella ending.
A fine evening, great atmosphere from a relaxed Billy – if you get a chance, go see this new young lad on his “New Career” You won’t be disappointed.
Mike & Hazel Jessop