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OOTB 285 – 24 January 2008

OOTB 285 – 24 January 2008

Performers: Ed & Chris, John Lamb, Rob St John, Colin Milne, Lynn Sampsell, Ross Baird, Susanna, Ian Sclater, Rob Sproul-Cran, Dave O’Hara, Starship, Jim Tudor.

Apologies to ED & CHRIS, who spent nearly as much time tuning our tuneless guitars as they did playing their set. This is a very capable duo with crafty guitar interplay and a good harmony gig, but the tuning problem has them slightly off their game. OUTSKIRTS has a nice line … biding my time on the outskirts of your mind.

Where have you been all my life, JOHN LAMB? Damn, it’s good to have him back. Heads bob to the truth of NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, CREDIT CARDS, and a class love song, SUNLIGHT ON FOREST PINE. John’s got those jazzy chords that just won’t stop.

Rob St John in 2006

Rob St John in 2006

Have I read correctly on myspace that ROB ST. JOHN is finished with gigs for the foreseeable future? Hope not. TIPPING IN is all elegant plucking. A WOODEN ROSE has my ears straining to know what this quiet singer is on about, but I know it sounds lovely. LIKE ALCHEMY speaks of leaves being drained of chlorophyll and other natural wonders. Great songs and very well received.

COLIN MILNE has made his own ‘glute’ and now plays it for us. What a treat. With such poetic and cynical lyrics, I think he must be Morrissey’s granddad or distant uncle. On the menu are weird experiences at cheap motels and dangerous lunchtime dalliances. Milne botches the third song and turns instead to Sweaty Betty  , a busty Alabama broad. Having lived in ‘Bama for 10 years, I am quite amused by this fit of stereotype. Entertaining all the way.

SQUASHEE LYNN SAMPSELL follows the glute with a bass guitar. She is joined by Chris of Ed & Chris   fame, playing guitar and singing harmony. THE ROSES is a song of bereavement. Lynn’s got a low and lovely voice, which cries out, May the beauty of the rose surround you.   Sincerely, I am touched.

FEATURED ACT: ROSS BAIRD I hear you saying the fix is in! Darren reviewing Ross? He’s sure to get a glowing report! Well, screw you ! I can’t help it, my mate and guitar legend is that good. He begins with a pair of new songs that I have not even heard yet, the second of which was finished just the day before. Ross sings, We’re still looking up to the sky with that spark in our eye, thinking, is there something else?   I detect a spiritual wondering … have to ask him about that. Ross often weaves scenes of nature and particularly islands as he serenades his past and his upbringing on Islay and Mull. These make for some of his great lines: An island’s lack of empathy is an island’s cold brutality and an island’s greatest enemy is me.   OUR BEST FRIEND, his angry   song, causes one listener to remark, That is the most beautiful angry song I’ve ever heard.   Anyhoo, Ross is a skilled guitarist, lyricist and singer, and his songs cause this writer to feel an ache, the emotion of winter, the problem of tears brimming without knowing why.

With a classical guitar and an admitted case of nerves, SUSANNA lets loose a torrent of folk songs and a very interesting vocal style. Words about shipwrecks get lost in a delicate vibrato. Second song is a cappella, nice, gutsy, and feels particularly traditional. I crave one kiss from your cold clay lips.   ATTIC, she’s alone there, memories filling up boxes and guitar chords not forming exactly as she plans. A quality showing nonetheless.

IAN SCLATER. A squashee who always manages to get in two songs. It’s a spell he casts over the compere. He plays my favourite of his songs, BACK ON THE GOOD EARTH. From a rock opera in waiting, the gorgeous line, I have written your name in the red dust of Mars/I have blown you a kiss from the moon   makes me wonder if I’m ground control or Major Tom. THIS TIME AROUND is a country song written by someone who hates country.   The result is something perhaps not quite inspired, but lyrically clever and catchy anyway.

Our humble compere ROB SPROUL-CRAN now does something I’ve never witnessed. He’s written a song while Ross was playing, and now he performs it, having had no time to pick up a guitar or give it a good sing. It’s something to do with death. I saw you cryin’ the day he died.   It’s rather tender in that Rob way. I want to hear this one again soon. Well done sir!

Soundman extraordinaire DAVID O’HARA sets up and I can’t resist starting the Radio Gaga/David O’Hara chant. I get a death stare from him and feel satisfied in my work. His Arabian Nights   standard hushes the room and is followed by a new number called Two Tunes.   It is a pleasure to see and hear him writing new stuff and getting it out there.

STARSHIP! Not the horrific 80s incarnation of Jefferson Starship, but tonight’s moniker for Nyk Stoddart. He’s in the vault with a couple of class songs he’s not played here in six months, then finishing with Another Song.   This of course used to be called Ming Mong   or something like that. I’m an idiot, I’m a fool, cause I don’t play by your rules.   No he certainly does not, and we should all be glad.

JIM TUDOR plays the first song he wrote when moving to the Burgh four months ago. It’s called PAPER CASTLE, and it’s so good. His voice is a cottony cavern. I don’t exactly know what I mean by that, but it’s meant to imply depth and good tone. THE GIRL WITH A TWINKLE IN HER EYE is about a flash in the pan, a one-night stand that changed his life. He croons, The flash was nice, but the rash got out of hand.   Yikes!

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