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April 27, 2016 @ 8:00 pm - 10:45 pm£8 – £9
REVIEW – Bill Caddick 27 April 2016
This review is tinged with sadness as Bill Caddick has announced and confirmed on the evening that he will not be touring any more so for many of us this was the last chance to hear him outside his own home patch in Shropshire. I won’t list all the bands, projects and ensembles he has been involved with over the years but I think it’s safe to say that he has made a unique contribution to the folk scene over some 50 years.
An audience of 60 was first serenaded by the pit orchestra of Pete Coe, Johnny Adams, Steve Harrison and Andy Day in fine form, followed by songs from Pete, Chris Coe and Annie Dearman (a version of Cold Blows the Wind with stunning imagery), Bob Butler and Sue Burgess.
Then Bill came on, starting with The Song must go on and then launching into a sequence of his songs from across his career. One of the great joys of Bill’s performances is re-discovering songs you’ve loved in the past and finding gems you’d somehow missed (more later).
It’s not as if it’s a list of greatest hits – he is so prolific that many well known songs couldn’t be fitted in but selfishly I’m pleased to most of my favourites were included! A personal selection from the first half included Lilly Marlene Walks Away – a brilliant example of Bill’s haunting if at times disturbing imagery – Cloud Factory, and that wonderful song of childhood lost Oller Boller.
The second half started with songs from Annie & Steve, Tim Edwards, Lynda Hardcastle and Alan Rose (Bob Pegg’s lovely Instructions to a Young Lark Man), Phil Cerny, and a welcome appearance from that well known caller, entertainer & musician Dave Hunt, tonight appearing in a new role as Bill’s roadie!
Looking back on it the second half was dominated by Bill putting together pairs of matching songs to great effect – Eights and Aces/Wild West Show, The Reaper/Writing of Tipperary, Old Man’s Song/Unicorns (I could go on) – superb songs which really complemented each other. Talking afterwards it was said rightly that Bill knows when to stop and is not embarrassed to write a short song – a rare gift.
However despite the rollcall above for me and others in the audience the highlight of the evening was Bill’s reworking of the brutal ballad Long Lankin – Lankin’s Revenge – which is the one I had managed to miss. Usually I don’t enjoy rewriting of old songs but for me Bill here expressed a humanity I’ve never found in the rather too bleak original (don’t expect a happy ending though!)
The evening ended with two more special songs – one of his most recent– Latter Days – and by popular demand John o’Dreams. A fitting end to a very special evening and if I’ve made it sound almost too good – well, why not? The man’s a wonder and we’re really lucky to have him.