The month of August has been a highly pleasant one of beautiful music, meeting wonderful people and serendipitous coincidences.
One of those was hearing and subsequently meeting at several other venues the visiting country bluesman that is Tony Brook, the big man from Alabama with the big laugh, big heart and huge talent. When I arrived at The Plasterers he was outside just finishing a phone conversation so we had a very pleasant chat outside until we heard the pure strains of Yve’s lovely voice as she started her set within, that we were both there to enjoy.
Her set was another absolute delight with some well chosen and exquisitely delivered covers getting the whole pub humming and singing along with her. She really is lovely and when she and Tony are around musical magic happens. Everyone in the bar begged and pleaded for Tony to join Yve for a song or two and he duly obliged. Beautifully sharing the one mic for their cover of Those Memories was a gorgeous way to end the set and one of the highlights too. I shall miss Tony until he next returns but until then we still have the considerable talent of our wonderful Yve, both in her solo gigs and with the fantastic Morganway.
On my way home I stopped off at The Reindeer having heard that Steve Arlene was playing a rare set. I’m so glad I arrived in time, it was a splendid treat with Steve playing for at least an hour or so, joined for about five songs by Henry Greenwood on blues harp, a combination tried for the first time but with great success. Steve played some of my favourite songs in a set that I didn’t want to end but the icing on the cake was when he was joined by his wife Stephanie to briefly reunite The Arlenes, and Jose McGill of The Vagaband for a wonderful rendition of Springboard.
The songs are highly personal and have a running narrative of a wider story which with the brilliant songwriting makes it utterly compelling for me. I so love The Arlenes, the songwriting, personal stories, the mood of the songs, and THOSE harmonies. Precious songs and a real treat of a gig on yet another wonderful weekend of live music in Norwich, that is why we call it Music City UK, even Tony from Alabama thinks so.
Many thanks to Yve and Tony, and Steve Arlene
words and photos (c) richard shashamane 2015