Sunday, May 02, 2010

Kit and Cutter May Day Special

Kit and Cutter's May Day special at the Deptford Arms last night was really special. It was packed, as indeed it should have been for the presence of one of the most important figures in the last 50 years of English music - Martin Carthy. His two sets were great, a mixture of some of the finest played guitar tunes you are ever likely to hear with awesome folk songs. As a nod to his South London audience he sang Georgie, a song about poaching and gallows on Shooters Hill. A few years ago I sang this on Shooters Hill at the start of a South East London Folklore Society walk. Let's just say his version was better!

But his was not the only good voice on display. Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham were a revelation to me, they sounded amazing. Highlight for me was Ball O'Yarn - a song that begins 'In the merry month of may, when the men were making hay...' is followed by a predictable end nine months later.

Club hosts Kit and Cutter also sing beautifully - would like to see them do a full set some time. The Belles of London City coped admirably with the small and crowded stage to perform some high energy morris dancing (they recently explained it all to Paul Morley - check video here).

So obviously it was a great privilege for me to share the bill with this lot. The Neil Transpontine contribution was a short talk/slideshow giving a quick history of May Days in South London (will post up the talk later in the week).

That was the last Kit & Cutter at the Deptford Arms, as the pub looks set to be bookiefied. I am sure putting on a folk club there with its smelly toilets and noisy drunks in the public bar has been a bit of a challenge, but it's great to see this kind of music filling rooms in high street pubs. Hopefully they will find another venue soon not too far away.
(see also review at Crosswhatfields?)

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