Reviews 2008

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Pete Morton
Bryn Phillips 29 February 2008

Pete Morton didn’t turn up last year, because of a booking mix-up and so for weeks there has been debate over whether he would make it this year. We were all delighted to see him in the bar, saying hello to everyone – like many artists he seems to feel at home at the Woodman – and on stage he immediately takes charge, getting us to sing his infectious choruses and praising us for succeeding in emulating a Leicestershire accent when required.  

The performance was very much a “Pete Morton Sings His Greatest Hits” show. In fact it’s incredible how many songs we all know and sing along with. He has written some great songs. “Another Train”, “The Shepherd’s Song” , “The Luckiest Man”, “The Brothers”,  “I’m In Love with Emily Dickenson”, “The Shores of Italy”, “Listening to My Boots” were all there, performed with great enthusiasm and show-casing Pete’s craft as a songwriter. It’s the lyrics that really get to you – each of his songs is a painting – if you close your eyes as you listen you can see the people and the places. Never more so than in “The Great Gold Sun”; a song about a 1905 movie where he describes the actions of a man who is “stranger than most” – “he stands to the side and shuffles through time, looking for some kind of doorway”; then there are the assorted characters that populate Six Billion Eccentrics, The Post Office Queue and The Battle of Trafalgar - these aren’t characters you have to conjure up out of your imagination; you already know them!  

There were a few, but only a few songs that I hadn’t heard before. “The Lady Gorilla”, was a brilliant song about a gorilla that got the whole audience smiling. And then there was “Maybe Nothing Spoken” and followed a few songs later by “Madam Or Sir”. Each time I see Pete Morton, there is always one song that gets me thinking afterwards. This time it was “The Busker’s Song”. It’s a song about a chance meeting with a school friend – it’s full of mixed emotions – the nostalgia “we used to play Ramones’ songs faster than the Ramones” followed by the bitter-sweet consequences of time passing. Who got the better deal – The busker in the “sun rain and ice” or the old school friend “who got serious all of a sudden”? It’s a song of betrayal with the inevitable hint of jealousy and regret, but somehow the busker maintains the moral high ground throughout, ending with the eternally optimistic “world of many wonders”. It’s this that permeates his work – he sees a world of many wonders and has that rare gift of showing glimpses of this world to the audience.  

Once again, a great evening, which featured support from Ian Munro, Dick Woodhouse, Bryn Phillips and half of Nothing to Prove (Paul and Trevor)