Many thanks to Daddypig for alerting me to a gig at Holy Trinity Church in Leeds last night, (part of Carthy and Swarbrick’s 70th birthday tour).
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that they are two amazing musicians. They have been performing together since the mid ’60s, and have been involved with numerous projects and bands at various stages, including Fairport Convention; the Albion Country Band and Steeleye Span, to name a few.
I met Daddypig and his friend Terry (champion of the Guardian’s Notes and Queries) at the appointed time, in what has to be one of the mini-est Spill socials ever. We took our own beer – it was surreal sitting in a pew in a beautiful 300-year-old church and cracking open a bottle of Hoegaarden. Considering the status of the performers, the audience was small, and we had a whole pew to ourselves. It’s not often you see two folk legends checking tickets and manning their own CD stall!
The acoustics were excellent; the opening number was “Sovay“, followed by other classics including “The Death of Queen Jane” (above), “When I was a Little Boy“, and “The Bride’s March from Unst“, which Dave Swarbrick had great fun in trying to pronounce, with very few teeth. For a man who has survived emphysema and a double lung transplant, he is incredible, his playing as fluid and relaxed as ever and a perfect complement to Martin Carthy’s excellent guitar and dour vocal. In between songs we were regaled with tales of pickpockets, derring-do, funnel-web spiders and how to tell the difference between a slip jig and a reel (it’s all in the timing).
They are promoting a new CD featuring live recordings between 1989-1996 (“Walnut Creek“) – check it out, if you’re a folk fan. I’m sorry the audio on the above links isn’t very good.
My thanks to Daddypig for getting the ticket, to Mrs Daddypig for hospitality and Match of the Day, and to Terry for the lift home. Much appreciated!