Brewood Acoustic Music Club is held every Thursday in the pavilion of Brewood Cricket Club, a small venue with a capacity of about 60 people. On the 26th March it wasn’t full, it was absolutely rammed with people who had come to see just one thing, and that thing was another consummate performance by the wonderful MARIE LITTLE.
Most of the artists on the folk scene are approachable and friendly and some are a little aloof, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! However, Marie is something quite different. Marie wraps you up in a warm blanket and gives you a great big cuddle!
Taking the stage at 9o' clock prompt she thundered into “All in a Day” a song about the Glasgow ship workers. Great chorus this and sung with great relish by the audience. She followed this with a new song, “Some Kind Of Love” before reverting to her back catalogue for “Jackie,” a latter day “Black Leg Miner “ with a new perspective as it was song from the women’s point of view and then “Sammy” a song highlighting the problems of dealing with a loved one who has an alcohol dependency. Clearly, these two songs are immensely personal to Marie and both were song with great passion and feeling.
So, how do you follow two such very reflective songs? Yes! You’ve guessed it, we dip into musical comedy with “Rawtenstall Annual Fair”. I absolutely love this song and Marie sings it better than anyone else I’ve heard and the lapse into a Gracie Fields impression was quite seamless. The songs were now flowing thick and fast; “Blakeny Hill” was followed by Gary & Vera Aspey’s lament for those poor unfortunate members of the community in “The Bankers Code”
Those of you who know Marie will be well aware that she is not just “guitar and gob” – her words, not mine, but she has a magnificent sense of timing that all good comediennes need. This was very ably demonstrated with a touching little poem by Ian Hall called “A violent world that we live in” about the first few hours of life that seem to set the stage for what is to come. I particularly enjoyed the bit about the first meal. Use your imagination! Whilst we were still laughing Marie introduced the Brian Bedford song “Wings” about letting go of something that is precious to you, something we all have to do at some time or another. “One Day Daddy” and a raunchy “Another Pieces of My Heart” that would have put Janis Joplin to shame brought the first half to an exhausting close.
A brief interval of no more than 15 minutes brought the residents back on stage to warm up the audience for the second half and do the inevitable raffle.
I didn’t win. Something should be done about such discrimination!
Marie re-took the stage at 10.30 and swung straight into the Dolly Parton classic “An Eagle When She Flies”, and the wistful “Roses From The Wrong Man”. It was then straight back to comedy with Shel Silverstein’s outrageous male chauvinist national anthem "Put Another Log on the Fire” before acceding to the request by at least half a dozen people (me included) for the John Connoly song “Charlie In The Meadow”. This was followed by “One In A Million”, a fairly lengthy song about a beautiful girl who worked in a fish shop, distinct overtones of Romeo and Juliette here but with a happy ending.
Digging into a Tchibo carrier bag, Marie produced a very battered tricorn hat, an essential prop for her performance of the monologue “Nelson and Hardy” an unreserved swipe at the pestilence of political correctness before once again changing the mood for “Diary of a Northumberland Miner” and “Winter Down in Nashville.”
Some years ago at Upton Festival, Ian Bruce was asked to sing the Graham Miles anthem
“El Dorado” he said he was happy to do so but we should all wait for Marie Little to take the stage as she did the definitive version of the song. Nothing changes, and Marie’s version is still unquestionably the very best. The second half was just flying by and two songs with the same subject matter from totally different perspectives (All Used Up” and “The Golden Years”) brought the set to a close.
Inevitably encores followed in the shape of Stan Roger’s “Mary Ellen Carter” and Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice” before we all made our weary way home..
Marie Little is not just a fine singer, she is the consummate entertainer. She very rarely come this far South and each time she does so she is met with warmth and full
rooms. Keep an eye on her web site and if she is close to you, go and see her and take in the Marie Little experience.