Reviews 2017

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Paul Walker & Karen Pfeiffer

Chris Irving 12 May 2017

Click on photo to 
Click on photo to 
see larger image

I’m wondering if Karen and Paul think I am stalking them? This is the third time I’ve seen them in as many months. First at Bromsgrove Folk Club, then at The Red Lion Folk Club and now at The Woodman. Each time has been a wonderful experience…. Music to make you feel happy, music to make you reflect…. Marvellous, melodic vocal harmonies complimented by skilful guitar accompaniment, you can’t help but enjoy their wonderful on-stage magical, musical chemistry.

They sang a selection of songs, some self-penned and some covers, from their two albums ‘One by One’ and ‘Marble Town’ plus a couple of extras. They started with a dramatic interpretation of  Dougie McLean's ‘Turning Away’ followed by a song ‘Lift This Weight’ written by Paul, about his home town Stoke.

 Karen is from Sachsenheim in Germany and I suggest you Google images of it to see how lovely it is. She sang a German Folk Song, popular in that region….. and I think many of you may have been familiar with it…. ‘Muss I denn’………some American chap had a hit with it in 1960, fifty seven years ago!  Another song which moved me was ‘Marble Town’. A love story set in Kilkenny, where the streets are paved in the local limestone. When it rains the pavements shine like marble. It reminded me of my visit to ‘Granite City’, Aberdeen… also known as Furry Boots. The locals ask “Furry Boots ye fram ?” The set also included Richard Thompsons deeply disturbing ‘Galway to Graceland’ a very different love song about an obsessional love. The first half closed with another of Paul and Karen’s own songs ‘Tell the Folks back Home.” Written after an encounter with ‘Stokies’ … Down-under. (Residents of Stoke visiting Australia and not what you thought!) We were all left to get our breath back after that and take a break.

The Second Spasm…..was opened by Bryn Phillips, our worthy M.C., with two songs…. And ‘The Raffle!’

On with the show… Karen and Paul re-opened with a song made popular by Vin Garbutt, ‘What’s the use of Wings?’ but what an extraordinary interpretation… first class! ‘Play me a Love Song’ takes place in that seedy, smoky bar, The Six Pack, open dusk till dawn, where the clientele are the lost and lonely. Under the one bright spotlight and through the cigarette haze, hunched over the piano, a beer glass and smoking cigarette balanced on the piano top, sits the Tom Waits or Jaques Brel type musician…. When a voice from the darkness pleads….”Play me a love song….” And so on. We’re on a roller coaster ride of emotion, romance, humour and chorus.

Then all too soon the finale…. Galway Farmer…Karen and Paul take us on a sensational ride to the flying finish…. They win by ten lengths and we’re all left gasping for an encore. Which they oblige with, and we all go home singing ‘Caledonia.’  What a terrific night!

Bryn thanks everyone…….including those other stalwarts of the club, Velvet Green and Nothing to Prove who opened the evening and broke the ice. Then we all wander off into the night with those songs and memories in our heads.