Clive Gregson: Folk Club, St Neots – live review

clive gregson

Photo by Roger Liptrot

Clive Gregson

Folk Club, St Neots

19th June 2018

Clive Gregson is back in the UK for a short run of solo dates. Louder Than War caught him in St Neots. 

Running since 1966 and now in the goods hands of Roger and Patti Pitt, the Folk Club runs every Tuesday evening at The Piory Centre offering a varied selection of folk artists and also a platform for local singer songwriters to hone their craft in front of an audience. Clive Gregson is a multi faceted musician. After the demise of Any Trouble, he embarked on a successful partnership with singer Christine Collister that lasted till 1992. Since then he has maintained a busy schedule releasing solo albums regularly while playing and recording with other artists (Richard Thompson, Nancy Griffiths, Dennis Locorriere…).

Roger started the evening singing a few folk songs and introduced Greg in a warm manner. The upstairs room at The Priory Centre is small enough to enable the artists to play without a PA so it’s just armed with his Martin Acoustic guitar that Clive took to the stage. Clive is always writing new songs for different projects so it was no surprise that the gig featured a lot of new material yet to be recorded. The first set started with “Brand New Me” (which he later qualified as “a series of lies set to music”). The currently titled “Birthday Song” (due to being penned round Clive’s Birthday) sat comfortably against an open letter to Teresa May (“Poorville”) and reflections on the life of a musician (“The Birds Fall From the Twig”). Clive peppered the evening with some stories behind the songs and anecdotes about his career. The yet to be recorded “Elvis in 56” (probably destined for a rockabilly LP with Three Boxes) was introduced by a story where Clive recounted being invited to a Folk Radio programme where he had to choose a selection of his favourite tunes, to the producer’s dismay Clive’s Ipod only contained early Rock’n’roll tracks by the likes of Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley so a hastily assembled selection of Folk tunes Clive barely knew had to be put together at the last minute (“I haven’t been invited back” Clive quipped”). Self deprecating humour and great songs made for a great evening.

As an added bonus the audience was treated to a small set by local songwriter Soloman Smith between Clive’s two sets. Showcasing four excellent songs that matched the quality of Clive’s material. The brooding “Aminor E7” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a JJ Cale seventies LP while the sparse “Chemically”  hid its depth behind the simplicity of its lyrics and its arrangements (less is more). A new track titled “Uncle Sam” showed much promise for the next record.

~

More info can be found at Clive’s website.

More info on Soloman Smith can be found at his website. He’s also on Facebook.

All words by Craig Chaligne. More from Craig can be found at his Author Archive. He tweets at @ChaligneCraig.

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