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OOTB 18 – 28 Feb 2002

After a couple of songs from Jim and I, Jill took to the tiny but perfectly formed OOTB stage. She tried out a new song for the first time called I think “I Don’t Want That Much”, which had the spectral beauty and clarity of a sharp, still winter’s night under a full mooon. The guitar part for that song gave her some problems, but she overcame them by the sheer melodiousness of herJill Hepburn voice, so it didn’t matter. Speaking of moons, her song “Lotus Moon” I thought was brilliant, the line “I’ll be waiting for you/On the bridge/With the kids” being particularly evocative for me, quite why I don’t know, as I don’t think I’ve ever waited on a bridge with children, but it was a haunting image nonetheless. She returned to the stage later to perform “Long Gone”, and she really should have been by 11.15, as she had a last train to catch back to Falkirk, but instead she had a couple of pints and had to leave suddenly at 11.30, and I hope she made it to the station on time. That’s the problem with OOTB; people have MORE FUN THAN IS GOOD FOR THEM there. I don’t think Jill’s recorded her songs, but I for one would be willing to pay, good, hard earned money (or the taxpayers money, as I’m a student) for them.

Derek was next, having successfully claimed his woolly hat from the previous week. Obviously word had got out that we were planning to raffle it as the mystery prize. I don’t think many people play songs from a musical that they’re writing, but Derek is one such fellow, playing songs from his “Modern Times” opus. My personal favourite “Go Down” kicked things off, and was followed by “War Song”, “I Love To Sing” (which had some lovely dischordant spanish-style finger-picked passages), “Operation Overload”, and “Love On The Rocks”, which thankfully was NOT a Neil Diamond cover, and he returned later to play “The War”. I must admit that I’m very curious as to what might be happening on stage in Derek’s musical while these songs are playing, so maybe during the Festival he can get a bunch of pale arty students from Cambridge or somewhere to perform it in a draughty church hall or something, and persuade them that it’s “good experience”. Failing that, I’ll use my imagination, but the songs are good enough to stand up on their own anyway.

The flu-recovering Free Loading Frank stood up next, opening with “Sometimes”, and following with “Bloodshed On The Way”, one of a small number of songs in the “outwardly cheery sing-a-long with a topic of a concealed agenda of politicians untruths” genre. Somehow though, that song works, and never fails to get everyone joining in. “I’m In Love With A Woman Called Scum” I thought had some new lyrics, but at any rate proved very popluar with the crowd, and uniquely perhaps, Frank has the word “rapscallion” in the lyrics. I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard THAT in a song before. Finishing with a rousing version of the pro-fat “Cellulite”, Frank showed that the ‘flu can’t keep a good man down.

Riley then strode purposefully up, commencing with “Half One, All Your Money’s Gone”, the sound of a late night diner transposed inexplicably to Edinburgh. He then urged us to “Catch the train and clamber on/Won’t miss nobody when you’re gone” in the insanely infectious “Blue Horizon”, and asked us to “imagine a girl in a nightclub” for “Surly Girl”, the guitar part of which can only be described as beautiful. “Jennifer” finished his set, asking her to come “out walking with me” as he “Ain’t gonna love nobody, nobody but you”. I like the way that Riley plays with the styles and norms of country music, referring to it musically and lyrically but all the time making it his own thing, so that you’d be hard-pressed to classify his music.

Nelson

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