The almost legendary folk and blues band Scullion made a most welcome return to Garter Lane and Waterford as headliners on a showcase and fundraiser for Manor St. John Young Bands Projects. It must have been fifteen years since I last heard this iconic band, founded on the cusp of the eighties, with Jimmy O’Brien Moran in the original line-up as well as Freddie White (I seem to remember).
This revival featured a mellow Sonny Condell, an as great as ever Robbie Overson and the coolest dude at the Arts Council, Philip King.
The tight and tuneful Neil White Band opened the night with Rolling Dice, that has the awful closing line – It’s no good. They followed this with Kevin Power in splendid form on guitar for Stockholm and faded too soon into Shoestring. I wanted to hear more, as young band, a very nervous band, Yeah You of female singer (Rachel) drums and three guitars revived The Cure song, Boys Don’t Cry, which has the closer – Tomorrow I’ll Be Gone (perhaps bands should select lyrics more carefully for showcases). I liked their lively Oi! Oh! Let’s Go! But again three songs is too short to establish rapport.
Next up was a tasty Hollering Pine who were advertised as bluegrass but didn’t do any bluegrass in a short, (again too short) three song appearance. Eoin Dalton and Kate Glavey have a tight cosy sound and seem to exclude a really good fiddle player, Tommy Keating, but perhaps the choice of three was the problem here. A jazzy original(?) I’m Not Going had its moments and the country flavour of Oh My Sweet Carolina was good. Scullion opened with Hanky Pankey Knowhow and segued through songs of transporter vans, jealous nights and city images at night. Philip King is a little huskier but still has lots of bluesy power and vocal highlights.
They brought it all back home and Sonny Condell was excellent. They gave a full show, such an unexpected treat and an amazing long encore as well. Jigsaw was full of fragments of the past, old photographs and it’s still hard to keep your heart about you. King shone in an a capella version of an Appalachian song and the biggie from Balance And Control, Eylids In The Snow just wowed me.
They paid a nice tribute to late great John Martyn with John The Baptist as they mellowed into a long encore and standing ovation as King bluesed into Ain’t Gonna Work. The Actor was class and Down In The City nostalgic and memorable.