Reviews 2023

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Huw Williams

Woody* 12 May 2023

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Huw Williams
12 05.23

Hi everyone Woody here again with a review of another fabulous night at the Woodman Folk Club; and as the chimes of Left Bank Two by the Noveltones faded into the distance the evening was opened by our MC, Chris Irving, who was in a particularly buoyant mood. He was standing in for MC Bryn who regrettably had contracted covid along with a couple of other people from our usual audience who I know were looking forward to seeing tonight’s guest.

Huw, originally with his duo partner, Tony Williams, now no longer playing, has been on the folk scene for many years and has appeared with many of folk’s most famous names during that time. He is one of Wales’s foremost song writers and can claim Fairport Convention as one of the many exponents of his work. As a solo artist Huw has appeared at the club on one previous occasion in November 2021, when regrettably I missed him. I knew from several other club members that Huw is someone I should not miss, but no one ever actually said more about him than that. Then again , my fault, I never asked. I was mildly surprised therefore when following his introduction, he took to the microphone and without a word played two songs straight off. It was only after the second of the two “Jack Of Kent” that he spoke to us and the evening took off. Over the two sets he performed 14 songs (or 15 if you count the encore which he assured us he would not be doing), many of which I did not know and since I forgot to ask him for his set list at the end, I perhaps never will. I did however recognise the beautiful “The Summer Before The War” and Rosemary’s Sister”. I also noted “Days Like These”; “Don’t Stay Down”; “Self-Indulgence” and “Mother’s Day”. I am used to artists chatting between songs mostly to announce the title or explain what it is about, but Huw is totally different from this. His “patter” was more like a comedian's stage act and had the audience in stitches from start to finish. A recurring theme was a survey he purported to be taking for his media support, which consisted of his completing a form on his clipboard to determine the age of the audience. It’s surprising how many lines from TV adverts we remembered from the 60s and 70s. He seemed happy with the result. Under the table he kept a cardboard box filled with various objects, a “Barbie” style head replete with blond hair, two small tankards with Welsh dragons on, a crystal sugar bowl and to complete the set a doily on which to put them, all of which were said to be his mother’s. This backed up a wonderful story about his mother’s radiogram. You really do have to be a certain age to truly appreciate it. (And the survey said we were). The song “Self-Indulgence” showed his love of musical theatre during which we sang with him the complete stage version of the song “Oklahoma”. I hadn’t realised how much there was to it and we knew it all. Lyrics from “West Side Story” was sung to a Jake Thackray tune, and it fitted. But the highlight of the whole evening for me was Huw Welsh clog dancing to finish the first set and the audience singing a short refrain in Welsh to Huw’s Welsh verses. I can sing it but I can’t spell it. I wish I could write more but I have to finish somewhere. Needless to say I shall definitely be there the next time he appears at the club. And I recommend anyone reading this to do the same.

The evening was opened by in very much in form Velvet Green. Five glorious songs from the pen of Paul Matthews - Keith Donnelly – Chris While and Julie Matthews (no relation) stand out. Their spot climaxed with Paul’s rendition of the David Essex song “You Kept Me Waiting” from “Stardust”. Almost rock ‘n roll. A great start to the evening.

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.