Thursday, 22 April 2010

Danny Thompson and Friends Old Fruitmarket 30th January 2010

Renowned bass player Thompson introduced an all-star line up that included - Darrell Scott, Luka Bloom, Donald Shaw, Michael McGoldrick, Eddi Reader, Martin Simpson, Mollie O'Brien, and Tim O'Brien. They each recalled memories of Martyn and included several of Martyn's best loved songs, finishing with his best known , May You Never. This concert was part of the Celtic Connections festival and a tribute to John Martyn who died in January 2009. Thompson came out firstly for a short bass solo centre stage. He is known best as a double bassist, who over his long career has played with among others, respected folk/rock musicians Richard Thompson, Gerry Rafferty and John Martyn. Thompson has played with nearly every major artist all over the world, over his fifty five year career. He received a Lifetime achievement award in the 2007 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. One aspect that I enjoy at the Celtic festival is the artists collaborating, and its clear how much fun they were all having working with each other on stage at this gig. Many of the artists at this gig and others, talked about their writing with other artists, and being inspired by them. In this world it is the norm to co-write or cover others songs.

This was a quality and stately gig - and uplifting and heartfelt by the performers. Some of Martyn's songs performed were - Over The Hill, Love Me With Your Head And Heart, May You Never, and The Jelly Roll Blues. Plus other songs that seemed to be chosen to fit with a general theme of optimism in the human spirit. Mollie O'Brien from Tennessee, Tim O'Brien sister, had a very strong jazz-filled voice.
(postscript) Thompson's initial experience of bass playing was with a skiffle group, with whom he played a tea chest bass (a bass he built himself out of a tea chest, which folded up so he could carry it). In the early 1960s he bought a second-hand double bass from an old man in Battersea who let him have the instrument for £5 (despite the fact that it was worth much more than that), on the basis of his keenness to play it. He christened the instrument "Victoria" and it has remained his instrument of choice ever since. The bass was built by Gand, a French luthier in 1865.