Reviews 2019

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Flossie Malavialle

Woody* 25 October 2019

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Hi Woody, here again with the latest review.

Roughly three weeks out of every month we have guests at the club to entertain us and because of the excellent taste of Debbie and Derry I can honestly say all have been very listenable and entertaining. Amongst these are special guests that we like so much that they are booked regularly. Then there are a select few who we like to think of as special friends of the club. Flossie Malavialle is one such friend. A little like The Beatles in a way she known to us all by her first name only. Bryn mentioned to me at the start of the evening, that although Flossie has been to the club on five previous occasions no one has written a review before. This shall be remedied immediately.

It is purely coincidental that the date coincided with Debbie’s 65th birthday, so we were all in party mood before it started. Bryn as MC had dressed in a somewhat striking tuxedo loaned to him by Chris Irving, causing the lights to be dimmed more than usual to avoid glare. Of course, we began with a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday, followed by a three-song set from 3/4 of Nothing To Prove (minus a poorly Rob O’Dell). The silence during the mandolin solos was very restful. After some alteration to the height of the microphone Dick Woodhouse gave us two thought provoking songs, beautifully played and after the interval “your MC for the evening” Bryn Phillips, sang two of his own songs.

What happened next is not easy to put down in words. It would be easy to say that Flossie sang, played and told us funny stories but that cannot possibly capture the hilarious atmosphere in which it was conducted. The room was rammed to the rafters – getting to the bar was a nightmare. The interaction between the audience and Flossie, and the audience and themselves sometimes was unbelievable. Flossie said from the outset that she never knew what to expect when she plays the club and she was right. There were times when I felt almost sorry for her trying get through her set and having to deal with the banter between she and individuals, all of whom wanted to share being part of her presence. She will not be surprised to hear that because she is “such a sport” she was set up before the evening to actually mention when she thought it would be right for the audience to play percussion. What she did not know was that when she did, the audience had been primed to bring out various instruments – mainly tambourines which flashed on and off, augmented by a glitter ball in on the side of the stage. She of course, collapsed with laughter.

Every song she sang is worthy of a mention. Her guitar playing is simple but appropriate to each tune and her voice so powerful, and so emotive. In no particular order she sang; Kieran Halpin’s Making Up The Miles and Berlin Calling; a lovely version of Pete Abbot’s Almost A Year – which told her he intended to sound French when he wrote it. Tracy Chapman’s Baby Can I Hold You started the first set and Suzanne Vega’s Luka ended it. Eve Cassidy versions of Fields of Gold and I Know You By Heart; Willie Nelson’s On The Road Again triggered the tambourines. There was a discussion around how many of us knew that Make You Feel My Love was a Bob Dylan song, which ended in a show of hands vote. There was a little bit of “get my own back”, when Flossie did not know that Till There Was You was not a Beatles original but written by Meredith Wilson for The Music Man. (She’s too young). I however did not know 4 Non-Blondes What’s Up but everyone else must have because they joined in the chorus. Personal favourites of the evening were both French songs – in French, of course – La Foule (The Crowd), a haunting song from Edith Piaf dating back to 1957 and La Boheme, made famous by Charles Aznavour. As If this was not enough, Flossie “finished” with a brilliant version of Hey Jude which had the whole audience singing and clapping and went on for almost as long as the original. Her beautiful Gibson guitar was put on the stand and we were treated to an encore – the audience clapped on one beat stamped a foot on the other beat in time with Flossie and a rousing version of Janis Joplin’s Mercedes-Benz. There was rapturous applause.

I know that this has been a rather long review, but it was well deserved and had I been able to capture everything that we experienced it could have been much longer. Flossie is taking a year off in 2020 and returning to France. We all hope it goes well for her and I for one hope that we get to see her again.

So, once again, this is me, an elated Woody, signing off for this time. And as usual;

A wonderful night was had by all, here’s to the next one.


* Notes taken by Les Jones, who also typed up the review, but the views expressed are 
  those of Woody, the club mascot.