Woodman Folk Club - Reviews
|Gary Edward Jones
|27 May 2022
Hi, Woody here again with the latest review of the goings on at the club.
This was to be Gary Edward Jones’ fourth visit to the club and what a great time was had by all. Once again we were treated to different and much reduced line up but by no means did this diminish the quality of the performance. Gary was joined tonight by Johnny Darnell, who accompanied him on the largest array of guitars to ever grace the Woodman stage. And it has to be said, each guitar had been given it's own name. Jess was a full metal resonator while Alice was a bright red Gibson 335 (well not actually but I couldn’t get to see the name on the headstock); Maria was the Black Fender Stratocaster (At least I think that’s right, but I forgot to right it down. Anyone wants to dispute this I won’t argue) and of course what name could be given to the glorious acoustic but “Martin.” Gary played his normal acoustic all night except on Graceland when he played a sunburst Gibson Les Paul. A wonderful selection for any guitar aficionados in the audience, which I should mention was near to capacity.
Before Gary could get started the audience sang a rousing “Happy Birthday 2 Garys” for both the star of the show and our Woodman photographer Gary Griffiths. I don’t know who was more delighted to share their birthday with whom.
As is his usual format all the songs in each set were interspersed with little jokes and stories from both Gary and Johnny. They kicked off with the Soft Cell classic – Say Hello Wave Goodbye and then– Never Too Late. A story from Johnny about how he began playing guitar at the age of 10 and how long it had been since he had been in a folk club. Take Me Back, reflected on youth and growing up in the 70s. Gary then confessed that he had been given a wonderful surprise gift by his girlfriend – a motorhome, which he was going away for the weekend in straight after the gig. “Wow” I hear you say. “Indeed” says I. He thought it was going to be a bouncy castle. I would have been happy with that myself. Bang, Bang, Bang from Gary’s one and only album The Cabinet Maker (which he is incidentally), was followed by Bonfire. To say that he followed that with the Paul Simon classic Homeward Bound does not reflect the chat that went before it. I noted the whole of what he said but it really would take too long to repeat. Suffice it to say it recounted why he started to sing Paul Simon songs – as a one off – that stretched into a full 26 song show about him, which Gary has taken to lots of venues in this country and the USA including an 8 week stint on Broadway. All this came to a halt because of Covid but could be starting up again soon. He has also written another showcase for the music of George Harrison. The first set finished with another Simon song Still Crazy After All These Years.
The second set began with Graceland. I am amazed at how like Paul Simon Gary sounds when doing his songs. Even when you close your eyes. It was at this point that Gary said that he had done so much talking in the first set that he had 17 songs to sing in the second set, which was not going to happen as he would run out of time. Hence the birth of “Garyoke.” The set list was handed out to the audience who called out which song from it they would like to hear. And as a system it worked. He managed to “squeeze in” 10 songs ranging from old favourites Free Falling, Superheroes – at Debbie’s request and Vampires to A Whiter Shade of Pale. The whole evening finished with an encore of course; Gary’s version of To Love Somebody – with full audience participation and harmonies. In conclusion I must mention the superb guitar playing of Johnny Darnell. It was the perfect balance to Gary’s singing/playing no matter what style of music he was performing.
Support this evening was supplied twofold. As usual The Woodman provided the opening support in the shape of Velvet Green, who I haven’t heard play 6 songs together for at least 3 years. The set comprised Dougie McLean’s Scythe Song, Alan Taylor’s Roll On The Day and Bob Dylan’s If Not For You. Paul contributed 3 songs to the set, Before Your Heart Breaks, What Shall We Sing For The King and I Don’t Wanna Leave. They were magnificent and got the whole evening off to a wonderful start. After the interval we were also treated to 2 songs from Gary’s friend John Williams ( Not the Classical Guitarist not the Composer – the other one). Last Coal Train and Traveling Alone both had a country feel to them and were very well performed. He described himself as “The Warm Up To The Raffle” And so another evening came to an end and the audience wended their way home to return another day.
I shall conclude as normal by saying 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.