Reviews 2019

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Robin Laing

Robin Laing

Woody* 20 September 2019

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Friday night and the start of another season at the Woodman, and a warm welcome to you all, old members or new from Woody, your friendly mascot. I have been given a new lease of life this year – thank you Megan - and have decided that since I attend every evening the club is open without fail I should do something to make myself useful instead of just observing proceedings from a great height. So, I have decided that I would take over the job of writing the reviews. I have however, asked someone to make the notes for me each night so if there are any mistakes or omissions it is not my fault. That said here we go.

From my experience it is difficult to decide whether it is best to start off a new season with a good old favourite of the club or someone that is a complete newcomer. In this instance Debbie and Derry made the decision for me by inviting Robin Laing, “One of Scotland’s Premier Singer-Songwriters” and a Woodman Folk Club virgin. Albeit that having listened to him for an evening I really can’t believe we have never had him at the club before.

Words like amusing; creative; musical; etc can all be applied to Robin but having given it some thought I have chosen “Mellow” as my one-word summary. His repertoire ranges from traditional or at least old songs, almost exclusively from Scotland, to his own compositions, old and new of which as far as I can tell there are many. His subject matter ranges from humorous songs about punt racing, on the Union Canal and horse racing to dramatic songs about battles between the Scots and the English; thankfully none within the last two hundred years or so. The score was a draw at the end, but the body count was massive. Thought provoking songs about Ulysses, a pit accident – or was it? Picasso’s painting of the Guernica atrocity and Jamie Penman. Romantic songs about Islands, a lovely song written for his daughter’s wedding simply called The Wedding Song and Closer to Heaven – which involves soap and a shower. He will tell you, however that his greatest passion and one about which he has written many songs is Whisky (Scotch Whisky). Talisker Bay is on the Isle of Skye and makes its own whisky; Single malt £25.50 from Sainsbury’s or 25-year-old Single Malt £350.00 from Harvey Nicholls. The whisky I’m sure is as smooth as the song. Whisky For Breakfast speaks for itself and comes with a great story involving a haggis and a big dog. In fact, each song is accompanied by a witty story or explanation to help with its enjoyment.

To be completely serious – I used the word mellow earlier – because no matter what Robin sang it was soothing, entrancing and left me wanting more every time. When after two sets and sixteen songs plus an encore he had to leave I felt a tinge of sadness. I genuinely cannot wait for his return to the club.

In addition, of course, support was provided by Nothing To Prove – minus Paul, who is basking in the sun somewhere; Velvet Green and the inimitable Bryn Phillips.

So, here’s me, Woody, signing off for this time and as the former reviewer used to say:

A wonderful night was had by all and 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.