What better way to start the autumn/winter season than with the warmth of a Dave Burland performance.
The veteran singer attracted an enthusiastic audience from as far away as Sheffield and Keighley and there were some new faces in evidence, obviously long standing Burland fans.
The regulars worked their usual magic; Annie Dearman and Chris Coe kicked off with Richard Thompson’s ‘The Old Changing Way‘ (having checked that Dave B wasn’t going to include it in his set), and then Steve Harrison accompanied Annie in ‘The Bold Smuggler‘ from Sam Larner; Pete Coe rendered Colin Cater’s ‘Penny for the Ploughboy‘ preceding Sue Burgess’s version of ‘The Watchet Sailor’, relocated to Gloucestershire.
Former guest Matt Quinn performed an Irish patter song about Shakespeare prior to Dave taking the floor. Not only did we have a past guest but also a future guest act in Alan Rose and Lynda Hardcastle who started the second half with ‘Merry Mountain Child‘ collected from Holmfirth singer Arthur Howard; Terry Evans sang ‘The Female Drummer‘ and because we were missing a couple of regulars, Chris Coe got another go with George Dunn’s ‘Edward‘ and Mal Jardine was press-ganged out of the audience to give a lovely version of ‘The Golden Glove‘ aka ‘The Squire of Tamworth‘.
For years our guest has been referred to by most of us as ‘Burland’ possibly indicating his passage from mere mortal to legend (think Dylan, Carthy, Swarbrick and many more who no longer need their first name). Burland displays his legendary status by slipping effortlessly between traditional, contemporary, rock, pop, blues and whatever, delivered with a dark and warm voice backed by guitar parts that are deceptively simple but highly unpredictable and occasionally amusing in a “..why didn’t I think of that?” sort of way.
Thus, Spencer The Rover and The Dalesman’s Litany bracketed a first half which included Margaret McArthur’s Appalachian version of ‘Reynardine‘ ‘The Lancashire Fusiliers/Going For a Soldier Jenny‘ (from Nic Jones’ days in The Halliard), a song from his days in Hedgehog Pie and a couple of ‘sailor songs’.
A rousing ‘Row, Bullies, Row‘ started the second half, then into a rare self-penned song about Barnsley recruits during WW1 – ‘Kitchener’s Finger‘; McColl’s ‘Sweet Thames Flow Softly‘ (see… another missing first name ), Lord Elgin, an Appalachian ‘Barbry Ellen‘, Tawney’s ‘Grey Funnel Line’, finishing off with Dylan’s ‘Girl From The North Country‘.
All this, delivered with ease, wit and warmth, was going to result in an encore so what does a legend like Burland finish of with? Elvis’s ‘Don’t Be Cruel‘ of course.