Showing posts with label Stealers Wheel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stealers Wheel. Show all posts

Saturday 18 June 2016

Rab Noakes performs a home gig!

This was a relaxed and informal gathering for Rab to perform in and it was fun to have a chat.  The conservatory was set with chairs for the 30 or so people invited for this special evening.

We had time to chat with Rab before his set and he clearly enjoyed the more social setting. He said he sang song interpretations , rather than cover version.. I asked him about his musical influences and how he mixes both a Scottish and American sound. He said, like Dylan he grew up listening to the radio and to musicians such as Buddy Holly, Billy Fury and to 20th century skiffle.

He said his SONGWRITING was an organic process and that no two songs came in the same way. He said sometimes the melody and idea came first, or playing a guitar riff.

*For his first set he sang songs from his new album and some of his most popular songs.
 SONGS: Moving On, out of Sight, I’m Walking here. No More Time, Moonlight and Gold, When one dog barks at the shadow, Most dogs bark at the sound, Branch, It happened All the Same, Mississippi.

*For the second half Rab performed some Americana songs
 SONGS: Don’t say money doesn’t matter, Roll on Saturday, Lonely by Twilight, Jackson Greyhound, Where Dead Voices Gather, Waters my Friend, One More Shavin Haircut, Travelling Light, Slippin Away
One song spoke of the opportunities come your way – grab them.

Rab’s partner told me about his submitting songs for the project ‘SCOTLAND SINGS’.

Thursday 27 February 2014

Rab Noakes Milngavie Folk club

Long Dark Night (Demos and Rarities 1971 - 2011)
Where Dead Voices Gather
Do That Again
Wrong Joke Again (Red Pump Special)
Brand New Heartache (The Everly Brothers)
I'm Walkin Here (new album 2014)
Your Clear White Light (Lindisfarne).
The Sketcher on the Last Train
Out of Your Sight
More than I can say

The welcoming club was packed out with people standing at the sides - the club is often filled with addicted folkies like myself(!) and with relaxed friendly chat. The last time I saw Rab here the crowd was half this size perhaps as it was the month before Christmas. I usually pick gigs of artists I particularly enjoy.
In 2013 Noakes released a 40th anniversary edition of his Red Pump Special album. He told us that the album was first recorded in Nashville with a cracking squad and somebody in the room had worked with Hank Williams.

Noakes sang 4 excellent cover songs choices  Brand New Heartache (The Everly Brothers?), Your Clear White Light (Alan Hall of Lindisfarne), Guessing Kitchen Porter (Michael Marra) and O The Wind and the Rain (Percy's Song) - Rab likes juxtapositions in songs and this one was a murder ballad sung to a sweet guitar waltz. 

Rab sings songs of different eras with small histories and moods and stories and like fine wine gets better over time... I dont' wish to pick out favourites as every song has something special.  He said the mark of a good song was if it can age with you.

One song was about being able to recognise a window of opportunity when it opens...., and I wondered about his lost times when he left Stealers Wheel with Gerry Rafferty and his slot on the BBCs Old Grey Whistle test.  He told the stories behind his songs and musical journeys and his songs range from harder hitting questions to subtler optimisms.
Rab called his style 21st century skiffle - in the style of Guthrie or Leadbelly before the folk revival and also a wee bit Buddy Holly.  Noakes crosses the generations, as he looks and sounds both of now and of those fifties folk songs. .

I can understand that artists like to perform their newer material while I know also that fans would wish to hear some of his older favourites such as Branch or Clear day - perhaps the audience might sing the backing vocals!

Don't' Act Like your Heart Isn't' hard
Travelling Light
Jackson Greyhound
Guessing Kitchen Porter (Michael Marra)
It happened All the Same
O The Wind and the Rain (Percy's Song)
Time Slipping Away
Don't say Money Doesn't' Matter

Rab Noakes PHOTOS -
Rob Noakes -  with  Where Dead Voices Gather' - still relevant and even better than his younger days.... 

Friday 28 December 2012

Rab Noakes Milngavie Folk club Dec 2012

For a man who's been touring for a very long time Rab Noakes looks fit and well. He was asked how long had he been singing in front of people and he answered that he thought it was about 60 years but that it seemed like no time at all. In fact 'it didn't too seem a day too long.'

Noakes guitar playing is both melodic and assured. He has written many memorable and thoughtful songs, that are sometimes full of pathos, over his career in music - such as Branch, Eden's Flow, Clear Day, Together for Ever, and Turn a Deaf Ear. He mixes folk, blues and rock n roll styles. He played with well known Scottish singer songwriter Gerry Rafferty in his pop-folk band Stealers Wheel in the early 70s. I first heard Noakes songs in my twenties when we had singing sessions and his songs were always favourites for harmony singing.

During his long career there has been influences by a wide variety of music from skiffle to the Rolling Stones. He mentioned guitarist Dot Watson, who was his first reference point, and said that he enjoyed 'rootsy' country music rather than 'pop' country. He saw The Rolling Stones in 1964 at the Barrowlands and explained that in their first albums they were gatekeepers for many to interesting blues artists, such as Rufus Thomas's 'Walkin The Dog' which Noakes performed.

Noakes had an older wooden guitar with him as he likes to use different guitars for different melodies. His latest album 'I'm Walking Here' will be Tin Pan Alley and 21st century Skiffle Music.

Noakes enjoyed sharing his fond memories of his musical career and had many interesting anecdotes. He remembered phoning Dylan's manager about the old Scots songs that Dylan sang on his Bootleg album in 1961. He frequently mentioned Gerry Rafferty, whom he remembered with great affection and said when he first met him he was an unassuming young man from Paisley with all these outstanding songs. Noakes explained that Rafferty often used the day as a metaphor for life in his songs. He spoke of the Humblebums' Concert at the City Hall in 1969 and how after Rafferty died in January, 2011, he strummed a guitar melody about the loss for a long time. Eventually, while at an art gallery in London, Noakes wrote words that seemed to work with the melody on his smart phone. The song was the poignant 'No More Time', which Noakes performed in his second set.

He spoke of the recent loss of another legend, Scottish singer songwriter Michael Marra. He described Marra as a master of location and brevity, with words that resonated wider. He performed Marra's 'Oh No More Will I Roam No More, It's Over.'  Noakes is organising a concert in Marra's memory for Celtic Connection 2013 called 'All Will Be Well'.

During the interval a fan asked Rab to sign his vinyl of Red Pump Special, and Noakes reminisced about the day the photographs for the back cover were taken in Edinburgh.

SET (1). Brighter blue, Blues Around Me Now, That's the Way the Whole thing Ends, Out of The Blue, Walkin the Dog, Branch, Light in my Heart, Seeing is Believing, Turn a Deaf Ear,
SET (2)  Highway To Take Me Home, Absence, Goodbye, Oh no more will I roam no more, it's over, ( Marra), Bye Bye Blackbird, No More Time, Moonlight and Gold, That's the Way the Whole thing Ends, Encore: See what booze has done for me, Mississippi,

Rab is quiet and unassuming, and his demeanour, look and sound remind me of Buddy Holly and those 'Americana rock n' roll week day blues'.  He hails from St Andrews.
I especially enjoyed his song Gently Does it (Standing Up album 1995). He is a big Dylan fan and for his encore sang a excellent version of Mississippi. I was pleased my son came and he has been playing this song since the gig.  Nice to hear!

Noakes says music is all about the dialogue and more about performing than simply the song. He spoke of those residency night gigs were artists can learn their craft in front of the live audience and the live performance when 'flying' in the heart of the music toughens you up and you have to learn loads of songs. He played in Denmark 6 nights a week. (I hope those residency nights are not in the past with those large tv screens so prevalent in bars nowadays?) Noakes now runs his own production company Neon.

It seems to me that these intimate venue gigs enrich and soothe the soul. His new album will be called I’m Walking Here – and will be Tin Pan Alley, 21st century Skiffle Music.

Noakes was supported by Colbeg,
It is fun for me to follow the older folk tunes and folk artists alongside the newer pop music songs. I begin to wish some of these older folk artists would collaborate more with the younger musicians.

A two way street though. Experience and wisdoms might be passed on and the energy and enthusiasms of the younger artists could inspire and innovate. Mumford have cleverly mixed dance rhythms with folk tunes to great success.
 Gently Does It
  • (Rab Noakes)
And a few years ago you'd been on this road so long
Now they're building a highway to take you home
Gently does it for a change
I used to think you were just like a mountain range
Your big boots stomped where small men feared to tread
I can hardly believe what I've just read
They say you can't travel any more
But you've got the key to a new front door
And don't you know 'cause you once said it all
When you stand so high you've got so far to fall
Not everyone can look you eye to eye
'Cause you get difficult, dangerous I'm damned if I lie
But we all pay the price
And they place your ante high.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

*"Bring It All Home - Gerry Rafferty Remembered" Celtic Connections 2012

Many Voices and the Songwriter gave them One Voice
A stellar cast took to the Glasgow Royal Concert hall stage as part of Celtic Connections 2012, to celebrate the life and fine tunes of folk pop singer songwriter Rafferty. He gave us unforgettable songs that certainly stuck in our heads back in the 70s – among them his biggest hits with the soaring sax of Baker Street and the dancing rhythms of Stuck in the Middle With You
The concert was led by former Humblebum member and friend Rab Noakes and his daughter Martha Rafferty. The songs selected ranged from the Humblebums, Stealerswheel to Rafferty’s solo career. The Rafferty family, blended their perfect harmonies when they sang The Ark, Family Tree, and Whatever’s Written in Your Heart. Noakes commented that only siblings can produce this special sound. Three of Rafferty's regular band members - guitarist Hugh Burns, multi-instrumentalist Graham Preskett and saxophonist Mel Collins joined with the house band, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire.

The Proclaimers gave a stirring performance of City to City. Ron Sexsmith had flown in from Canada, and with his strong vocal he sang Days Gone Down. Mark Rafferty sounded like Gerry on the wonderful song Mary Skeffington and former Cream bassist Jack Bruce finished the first half with a resounding version of Shipyard Town. There were spirited backing vocals from both Betsey Cook and Barbara Dickson.
This was a concert full of fine jewels. Other highlights were Noake’s accomplished rendering of Moonlight and Gold; Maria Muldaur’s beautiful blues-filled Another World; the soaring vocal of Songbird by James Vincent McMorrow; the Rafferty Family singing the moving The Ark. Martha said that this song best showed Rafferty’s philosophy about life.  
The rousing finale came with Paul Brady singing Rafferty’s biggest hit song Baker Street, after which the entire cast took to the stage for Stuck in the Middle With You which had the concert hall audience on it’s feet. These songs were led by the strong playing of lead guitarist Hugh Burns and saxophonist Mel Collins. Noakes gave the glue and character to the show with his stories about Gerry, the Humblebums, late night travels and more. He spoke of Rafferty’s intelligence and of his love of harmony; of his mystical and spiritual side; and of his strong will and self belief. He spoke of the poignancy yet hard core centre of Rafferty’s songs.I'm still singing Rafferty song two weeks later! His songs are spiritual and offer hope.

Rafferty’s songs cover the full spectrum of emotions, they express full-on-energy, questioning cynicism and mystical spiritualism. He was from Paisley Scotland and his music gave the folk song a new voice. He cared about the craft of the song and not celebrity or it’s trimmings. He was an artist in the true sense of the word and had a rare clarity of artistic vision. A wonderful celebration of one of Scotland’s greatest ever singer songwriters that did Gerry proud and a highlight of this years Celtic Connections.

All Photographs are copyrighted Pauline Keightley and are taken with the permission of the artists, the festival, and the venues involved. Please respect my copyright. Photos at Celtic Connections since 2008.

If you watch this wonderful program - you can see me taking photos on the Ron Sexsmith song! Fame at last!
Bring It All Home - Gerry Rafferty Remembered" Celtic Connections 2012 PHOTOS - Raffertyconcert 

Ran Noakes - Can I Have My Money Back
Proclaimers - Mattie's Rag
Ron Sexsmith - Right Down The Live
Maria Muldaur – Didn’t I
Mark Rafferty - Mary Skeffington
Rafferty Family  -  Family Tree
Barbara Dickson – Wise as a Serpent
Paul Brady - One Drink Down and Another to Go
Emma Pollock - To Each and Everyone of Us
James Vincent McMorrow – Songbird
Tom Robinson – Get It Right Next Time
Jack Bruce – Shipyard Town
Rafferty Family –Whatever's Written in Your Heart
Jack Bruce & James Vincent McMorrrow -  Waiting For the Day
Maria Muldaur – Another World
Ron Sexsmith – Days Gone Down
Rab Noakes – Moonlight and Gold
Emma Pollock - Late Again
Barbara Dickson – Steamboat Road
Rafferty Family - The Ark
Proclaimers -  City to City
Roddy Hart – Her Father Doesn't Like Me Anywore
Jack Bruce & Tom Robinson – Life Goes On
Paul Brady – Baker Street
Everyone – Stuck in the Middle With You

Artists included Rab Noakes, The Proclaimers, Ron Sexsmith, Barbara Dickson, Maria Muldaur, Jack Bruce, Paul Brady, Emma Pollock, James Vincent McMorrow, Roddy Hart, Tom Robinson.