Concert Review

Lindisfarne Acoustic

Bury Met Arts Centre- Friday, 7th May 2004

review by Derek Walmsley

“Met” Me On The Corner with One More Bottle of ElderBury Wine

Heavy work commitments had played havoc with catching the Acoustic Trio on their final fling. The ticket sitting on the mantelpiece gave me added incentive to burn the midnight oil and complete the major project just in time. I was now back in circulation and ready to rock!

My train journey from Barrow to Manchester and then by Metrolink north to Bury took me onto home territory. The Walmsley surname comes from this Lancashire market town famed for its black puddings. I reached the door of the Met Arts Centre at the same time as Billy and seconds later I met up with co-fans Steve and Peter. The “Met” is a 200-seat theatre in the main street and was filled to capacity for this concert in the final month of the band known as Lindisfarne.

Billy promised us some Bury Manilow. A member of the audience asked for some Chuck Bury. Instead, we were treated to two dozen classic Lindisfarne related songs including seven from the late, great Alan Hull. “Meet Me On The Corner” apart, these were not the “classics” (i.e. “hits”) that a lone heckler demanded but a set which illustrated the sheer quality of the back catalogue. As Billy summed up, “we can play what we like because we won’t be coming back!”

On stage we had three fine and contrasting vocalists, Rod alternated between his dobro and mandolin. Billy and Dave also had their 6 and 12 string guitars and harmonicas to add just the right instrumental touches to each song. After establishing the pronunciation of Bury, Billy launched into “Old Peculier Feeling”, the first of three songs with alcohol in the title, before telling what would happen “When Jones Gets Back To Town”.

Rod, Dave and Billy alternated on verses for Rod’s “Refugees”, Rod adding spine-chilling mandolin to a “song which was written about 14 years ago, but still unfortunately topical today”. Billy contributed atmospheric harmonica to Dave’s poignant vocal on “This Too Will Pass” before taking time out to tune his 12-string. After a minute Billy said “that’s good enough for Bury. I say that every night- they wondered what I was talking about in Birmingham!” His moving “Happy Birthday Dad”, was followed by Rod’s “Whisky Highway”, complete with a cappella introduction.

It was back to Billy for “Sundown Station”, Rod providing mandolin solo for his 1988 song first recorded with Bert Jansch and a regular in the Lindisfarne set since 1996. Billy continued with the first Alan Hull song of the evening “Log On Your Fire” and the “Neighbourhood” tracks “Ghost In Blue Suede Shoes” and “Born At The Right Time”, the latter a classic he wrote himself.

During the interval Billy turned into shopkeeper as items including “Lindisfarne Acoustic 2” and the re-issued “Dingly Dell” flew off the counter. The staff of the “Met” were frantically ushering people back to their seats seemingly not knowing one of the band was still cashing up!

Billy made it back on stage with Rod for a fine rendition of his “Walking Back to Blueberry Hill”. Dave re-entered to take the lead on “City Song”, the first of five Alan Hull songs in a row, three from “Fog” plus two solo gems. Billy took over vocals for “Passing Ghosts” and “Peter Brophy Don’t Care”. The harmonising of Dave’s lead with Billy’s backing vocal on “Walk In The Sea” from “Phantoms” was very effective. Rod provided fine mandolin accompaniment to Dave’s lead on the “Pipedream” gem “United States Of Mind”. It’s amazing to think it is now over 8 years since I heard Billy sing this at his first Lindisfarne concert in South Shields, thinking how well he fitted in to the line-up.

Rod’s “Train In E Major” afforded a bluesy contrast, having been modulated since Ray Jackson sang it. Co-writer Vince Grey was in the audience to enjoy Billy’s rendition of the fine Callies/Jack The Lad song “Rocking Chair” about Billy’s grandad. Both these songs were written around 35 years ago and Rod told of the days of the Rex Hotel in Whitley Bay when they met Alan.

“Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong” and “Candlelight”, “Neighbourhood” and “Promenade” gems sung by Billy and Dave respectively, brought up-to-date the song writing quality which has been the hallmark of the band throughout its life. A rousing rendition of “Meet Me On The Corner” brought the second set to a close.

Having sung their “hit” (although “Can’t Do Right” also got to No.36 last Christmas with Erin Rocha!), the encore started with “a single which no-one knew about”. This was Rod’s succinct description of “Roll On That Day” from the 1989 “Amigos” album, originally with Marty Craggs vocal and here sung by Billy to great effect. Rod then performed his own “Freedom Square” from “Promenade” and the night ended appropriately with “One More Bottle Of Wine”. An emotional rendition of Alan Hull’s classic ballad from “Squire” by Dave Hull-Denholm on acoustic guitar, supported by Billy on harmonica and Rod on mandolin, proved the perfect climax.

Billy repeated his City Hall summary that his time with Lindisfarne has been a great adventure, paying tribute to band members past and present. It is an adventure I feel privileged to have shared as I shook hands with the band known as Lindisfarne one last time. They all signed my copy of “Lindisfarne Acoustic 2” which is playing as I write this- a wonderful souvenir of a memorable night and a talented band.

After the beer, whisky and wine at Bury, I’m looking forward to further brews from the musical melting pot. The dates for Billy’s Autumn “Backtrackin’” tour will be out shortly at and there’s Rod’s solo and Ghosts of Electricity dates with Dave and Ian at

We’re all thirsty for more music lads!