It might have been the wet miserable weather but even Tom Mullane’s twitter didn’t bring a smile to my visage as I set out for the tiny St. Patrick’s Church in Patrick Street. A late start gave me a rare chance to chat to people who had travelled distances to attend the Imagine Festival concert of Seeger Waterson Carthy.
I could feel my trouser ends drying as Martin Carthy, his wife Norma Waterson, their daughter on fiddle, Eliza and ace accordianist Saul Rose started into Flash Girls or Yellow Handkerchiefs. Nostalgia washed over me and I could feel those twinges of arthritis again. Strange to think that over thirty years ago I was as eager and vigorous as Steeleye Span (who featured a hippy Martin Carthy) as the show Span launched into The Lark In The Morning.
Norma Waterson delighted with that iconic voice in Bright Shiny Morning before we got those Napoleonic anti-war songs. Martin updated My Son John to touch on Iraq, Afghanistan and the Taliban.
A set of waltzes Sheffield Waltz, Waltz Clock and The Wounded Huzzar. I marvelled at Gerry Garcia’s Black Muddy River and the various versions of The Lion’s Den. Eliza sent shivers down me with that Liverpool Farewell – Goodbye Fair Thee Well and by the time they closed on The Bunch Of Thyme I was slipping into sadness. Time it is a precious thing. Time brings all things to an end.
After the interval, Peggy Seeger, another living folk legend, took to the altar with the song her then partner Ewan MacColl, wrote for her – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Her voice was frail in the soprano register and the tremolo faint and sad.
There was a strong emphasis on her feminist catalogue of ditties and a lot of banjo tuning. Once Again had me sad at the lad I once was in 3-button vest and bell-bottom dreams. Her protest songs seemed dated rather than nostalgic but we live in a worst world now.
She pleased the audience with guitar, dulcimer, concertina and keyboards and a poem for her mother caught me unawares, Everything Changes and even a Farting song couldn’t lift the trough of despond.