Gary Fletcher on Fiery Bird Show – Blues on Purpose

Blues musician and writer Gary Fletcher joined me on the Fiery Bird Show this Monday to share stories from his many years touring with a variety of bands, notably the currently touring Blues Band founded by Paul Jones that he has been in since its inception, and his own projects with gigs coming up at Farnham Maltings

We discussed his upcoming tour and he played some lovely songs live in the studio. Listen again here to the show, mentions in dispatches for some lovely upcoming events at Fiery Bird Venue including Jackfest, Punk Valentine, Open Mic, Surrey Americana Festival and Guitar workshops as well as some lovely songs by Fiery Bird friends Mark Nelson Trio and Katie Bradley & Ritchie Lane

Play List

In Recognition – The Proclaimers – New Year Honour…..

Gin House Blues – Nina Simone ……..my Christmas

Rikki dont lose that number – Steeley Dan

Here comes the sun – The Beatles – for Steve Baker RIP

My Love Made You Wrong – Gary Fletcher Live in Session

Body & Soul – The Blue Nile

In Love With A Wish – Gary Fletcher Live In Session

Upside Down Blues – Mark Nelson Trio

Rudiger – Mark Knopfler

Ghosts – Katie Bradley & Ritchie Lane

Back To Your Heart – Gary Fletcher Live In Session

Beer Drinking Woman- Memphis Slim, me basically

Mannish Boy – Muddy Waters

That Lucky Old Sun – Aretha Franklin

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Forgive

Let me live in the past tonight

I go there alone

No matter where the mind wanders

It can’t hold your hand here

Can’t take your strength

I need to go back

And wander

The rooms of my existence

Before you came

Pick up those memories

Like ornaments to be examined

Look at them closely

Blow the dust that gathers

And increases their menace

Blow it off to reveal

Innocent endeavour misconstrued

Put them down

And move on

And forgive

And in moving through those rooms of the past

Come across,

Finally

A covered mirror

Unveiled

Regard the face there

And finally forgive

That one most blamed by me

Deadlines

I walk in the town

Where my son lives

Deadlines tie him

With no time to give

I watch at a table a son

And his mother

Laughing show pictures

Have fun with each other

I read in the paper

On coffee shop table

Of mother and son, missing, unstable

A smiling photo, chubby twinkle

Stares out from report, heart sinking

Tears, blur vision, drop in cappuccino

Reservoir dragged, bodies found, final

And the cheeks of the baby

Will never grow slim

To be the man laughing

His mother with him

Or moaning that more notice should be given

To bestow a five minute visit

On a mother unbidden

From grief at my lonely existence

I cry for the boy, his mother, this nonsense

That life takes us all

At one time or another

Casts a knife between

A son and his mother

The story in the news

Deadlines

Lines of dead

It’s November,

That baby didn’t want to go swimming

In that reservoir

All those dreams

Flowing a future in droplets

Of water

Drunk by others into their system

I hope they honour that

Dead Child

Dead child

I am not spinning around in your arms

I am not getting sweets with my charms

I am not playing a puzzle with friends

A bullet and knife is where my life ends

I haven’t known a day without fear

I haven’t felt a family near

I am broken from birth to the grave

Time counted in months was all that life gave

I know you fear me though I am just small

I don’t know you, don’t know you at all

I know you have children precious to you

My mother died crying because she knew

I woke in her arms still safe

Protected from breathing the dust of hate

Her eyes were dull sparkle gone

No answer to Mama?

2, alone

I am not a human to you

I am not a child

To you I am a ticking bomb

About to go wild

Support your own

By rote your favourite saying

What child of ours deserves to be slain

Support, love, universal truths

sperm egg the colour of youth

The future, the smile, the reaching out hand

Stopped in dead children spread over the land

A curse not from my lips will ever come

As blood seeps to earth dried by bitter sun

Remembrance flowers grow from the earth I nourish

Your little plot protected to flourish

I am only a child

I love to laugh

And when I cry

To have a hug,

Mum worried about my chesty cough

But now dead because I am shot.

My eyes stare now I don’t see

Tell me how the world will be

Lying broken, dead not asleep

No lullaby sung and no sweet dreams

EMcGinty 2017

First published in For The Many Not The Few Vol 1 compiled by CT Meek

Fiery Bird Show feat Dear Mr Pop Star author Dave Philpott & Jackfest Organiser Andy Mabbutt

In the first hour (13 mins in due to a tech hitch unusually not of my making 😉 of this week’s Fiery Bird Show on Radio Woking – Dave Dawson aka Philpott and his Dad Derek, have spent time writing to pop stars to point out the error of their ways, the inaccurate lyrics, the impossible assertions ‘No, Heaven cannot be a place on Earth Belinda!’ and, in many situations these pop stars wrote back, poo-pooing their assertions or sometimes admitting it caused them a reflective hour on whether they should continue music. Dave and Derek compiled a book called Dear Mr Pop Star which shares the collection of their hilarious exchanges. We spent half an hour talking about the process they went through, the things they got up to to reach people and how it all came about.

The second hour was all about Jackfest, a local fundraising gig put on by Andy Mabbutt and team to raise money for Shooting Star CHASE the hospice that supports his family and nephew Jack and so many other children locally. On 26 January Andy has organised a night of music at Fiery Bird, with DJ’s, 5 bands, raffles of signed merchandise from a variety of well known bands and much more. He spoke about the charity and shared some music from some of the bands playing as well as others who have donated items. Tickets for the event can be obtained here and more details here

To listen again to hear the show here – it starts 13 mins in

Play List

Small Man In Big Shoes – Steve Brookes

Spirit In The Sky – Dr & The Medics

Top of The Pops – The Rezillos

Got To Find A Better Way – The Sha La La’s

Dirty Rock n Rolla – Rollin Machine

Standing On The Top – Stone Foundation

You Are – Argonaut

Mango – Birdsworth

Ska Rhythm – Dakka Skanks

Vote For Me – The Specials

Soul Drummer – Ray Barretto

White Coats – Baxter Dury

Paolo Hewitt on Fiery Bird Show ‘Colour Me Father’

Colour Me Father, An Open Letter To My Son by Paolo Hewitt one of the celebrated sons of Woking takes a different turn on his usual writing. Whether his life’s work as the scribe of a generation mesmerised by the myth and magic of music, or his autobiographies, the sum total of both reaches 23 books. He joined me on the Fiery Bird Show to talk about growing up in Woking, his past and this, a very personal project shared at such a poignant time in his life; becoming a father.

In this more philosophical work he sets out a letter to his young son, Rafi, born in 2015. Sparked by his first birthday and his smile of delight at his family and friends gathered to celebrate, Paolo unlocks for his son the detail of the everyday that gives wonder to life to the philosophy of belonging that his sometimes painful, lonely, delightful and interesting journey has brought him to make a world through these new eyes make sense. “To keep you believing without a moment’s hesitation in your soul that life is indeed, deeply wonderful”

With a similar outlook to the allegorical writing of Paolo Coelho yet embedded from the childhood laid bare in The Looked After Kid, this book is a moving contemplative work that brings the bittersweet joy and fear of parenting to the fore. Its research was life unfolding, an instinctive, visceral thing provided by the very act of becoming a father, something he spoke to friends about who, whether sprung from a comfortable nest of family or not could assure the lone orphan that whatever our background, when we start again as parents, we all start again.

Like many of us do, wishing to pass on the wisdom we learn, it always comes down to what can’t be bought and the voice of the heart. That such a personal work about the future by giving his son the stories of his past, has proved cathartic for him in that it almost serves as the last in a trilogy started by The Looked After Kid through to But We All Shine On: The Remarkable Orphans Of Burbank Children’s Home and now with the birth of Rafi and this book that brings the past only to the future to be its guide, Hewitt says he has now let go of the past and has said it all, a weight has lifted.

The honesty about the loneliness of a writer, the vulnerability of revealing yourself layer by layer with each work stands it as a bearer for the outsider feeling so many have, that after all is only truth of individuality wishing to connect. Lessons learnt from our long lives are that; only by being and connecting to ourselves can we live out the integrity of our dreams. Since reading it the phrase ‘Be faithful to life’ uttered by Sister Patricia repeats itself often when there is doubt.

This personal letter shared is only available direct from Paolo, wishing to keep the book something that the writer and reader remain as reading a personal letter that means something.

More details of his work and this book can be obtained here.

To hear him talk about this book, growing up in Woking, fighting over the studio desk with me and general banter with the added contribution of possibly the nicest man in Woking, Pete Garland a long time friend of Paolo’s.

Three examples of the catholic schools of the parish of woking 😉

How they use us as examples is another thing

Listen again to the interview here (10mins in)

Playlist

Fire – Gino Parks (skipped miserably – i hate the desk but just so you know an attempt was made

Steeley Dan – Reeling in The Years

Color Him Father – The Winstons

Be My Baby – The Ronettes

Kushty Rye – Ronnie Lane

Reading from ‘Colour Me Father’ By Paolo Hewitt accompanied by an original piece by Simon Wells

Apron Strings – Everything But The Girl

Blue Horizons – Graham Parker

Long & Winding Road – The Beatles

Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy – The Tams

Beautiful and Woking ……………….

Beautiful the musical in Woking – the story of Carole King: As a line in the show uttered by her character says ‘I’m just a normal person, who wants to hear a normal person sing?’ Clearly the packed theatre confirmed they did and were interested to hear the story of one of the most successful songwriters of the 20th Century woven around the songs that made her so famous first as a writing partner with her then husband Gerry Goffin and later as a solo writer and performer.

Jukebox musicals are always popular. Whilst telling their story they allow the audience to add their own memories associated to the songs they share. As a vehicle to encompass, especially for those who may not know and assign the credit to performer rather than writers, the vast catalogue and contribution King made to modern music it serves so well.

The story centres at first around her relationship with Gerry Goffin (Kane Oliver Parry) and as part of the songwriting stable of impresario Donnie Kirshner (Adam Howden) they compete with friends Cynthia Weil (Amy Ellen Richardson) and Barry Mann (Matthew Gonsalves), as to who can produce the most hits. Including their work which was often then taken up by Phil Spector’s artists gave an added, welcome dimension to the piece – hearing the basic versions of songs pre Spector orchestration allowed the imagination to add that in and remember The Ronettes, Darlene Love, The Crystals, Righteous Brothers and the finished songs.

The friendships between King, Kirshner, Weil and Mann seemed to sustain her through troubled times with Goffin. His frustration at feeling inadequate in the wake of the new artists playing their own work and poets such as Dylan coming on the scene as well as his behaviour in the marriage finally contributed to its end and in a heartening scene her mother reminds her that she did write lyrics once and could again.

Her success in her own right came quickly after and the show tracks her reticence at being a performer to her concert at Carnegie Hall.

I admit to being still at odds with some of the songwriters I like getting the big musical treatment, though on the other hand happy to see people get deserved recognition I haven’t yet seen how ‘musical walking’ fits in – a style of sashaying across the stage that is so prevalent. Let’s face it though, if we don’t see it in real life that is only because we are all doing it in our heads going up the bread aisle at Asda and down the escalators in the Peacocks centre. It’s not just me…everyone does it, definitely.

I liked that it celebrated a diffident success “I’m just a normal person’ a person who had such a talent that she couldn’t not do it and who wrote regardless of fame, whose songs have provided a soundtrack to more than one generation even if they were flashbacks – The Locomotion- I remember jumping up on stage with the band at my sister’s wedding shouting that out, loudly, out of tune for three minutes – whatever- people danced and next day they did a whip round for singing lessons for me – never looked back- ha doubters! Anyway back in the room, Take Good Care of My Baby – sending that via private messenger to a teenage daughter’s boyfriend because I am so hilarious, a view not shared by her – philistines to my comedy. I Feel The Earth Move – doing an aerobics class, leg warmers (remember them) doing a grapevine in the wrong direction and knocking the rest of my line down like dominos, my sister (different sister, I keep spares) rolling her eyes and pretending she didn’t know me Around the theatre people were happily engaged in their own reminiscence.

As a vehicle to celebrate her work it, for those who know of it, and to present just how much she did for all those who didn’t realise, it is excellent. The early pop tunes to the later more introspective work and (ahem..) darker indictments of surburbia like Pleasant Valley Sunday and her release of an updated version of One Small Voice in 2017 on Donald Trump’s inauguration track her career. The cast were dynamic, especially Bronte Barbe in the lead role who reprised her poignantly, you really felt for innocent Carole who wanted to do the best for everyone. At times when the ensembles were singing the sound was very bright and as it only occurred when it was groups on the stage in big numbers – it seemed as if the performers couldn’t hear themselves over the music or the frequency was high, perhaps something only from the first night.

If it were to be said to be a musical about Carole King that centred more around her marriage than her work it wouldn’t be true, the King/Goffin collaboration was a success, it is also a celebration of friendship, You’ve Got A Friend seemed to sum up what her songs have done for people; been there in all aspects of their lives, and her attitude to her work and talent. I went with a friend, felt very friendy when that came on then I accidentally burped and looked at her in disgust so she would get the blame – as I said, friendship.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical runs from Tues 27 February to Sat 3 March 2018 for tickets contact http://www.atgtickets.com/woking 08448717645