Saturday, 18 August 2012

Tales from the city - the first

As we are now able to, Doreen and I have decided to spend more time than usual in various parts of the eastern city at events arranged during August. Apparently they have a goodly number of them at that time, who would have thought it? I hope to keep up a regular blog of reviews.

Legends in tribute to the Legend
At the newly refurbished Assembly Rooms, the first event was Songs of Struggle, an extension of the successful concerts arranged to celebrate the UCS 40th Anniversary. Some of Scotland’s greatest singers came together and put on a concert inspired by the birth centenary of political activist and folk legend - Woody Guthrie.

Alastair MacDonald
Alastair MacDonald kicked off the show with Irish traditional song Kelly, the boy from Killane. he followed it with a classic ‘Thurso Berwick’ (Morris Blythman) song Perfervidum Ingaenium Scotorum. It set the good size audience up for a sparkling evening. While there were a good number of classic left political songs, set through it were more unusual items. Sheena Wellington, who followed MacDonald, set a more laid-back tone with her a cappella songs (including her own Women o’ Dundee). Dave Anderson - fresh from his success in Oran Mor’s Summer panto - Alice in Poundland, revisited Wildcat’s play about the 84 Miners’ Strike with his version of Dead Liberty. The balance problem between the keyboard and voice didn’t lose too much of the context.

Arthur and Brian at the UCS
concert in the Old Fruitmarket
It was left, appropriately enough, to Arthur Johnstone, and Brian Miller to bring us to the specific Woody Guthrie songs of the night, highlighting Ramblin Round, (a nice version of this song by Bob Dylan can be heard here - ) and Do Re Mi.

The short tribute ended with the ensemble performance of This land is your land, and sent the pleased audience on their way with Guthrie’s So long (its been good to know you).

Short, though the concert was, it was a fitting tribute. With the Guthrie songbook hardly even pauchled, never mind plundered, his hundredth birthday has surely some more mileage yet?

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