Thursday, July 07, 2011

Last week we had a double dollop of none other than Owen's favorite singer Buffy Sainte-Marie. For the first time he didn't get a hand-shake afterwards but more of that later...

The first helping was at a BBC4 recording for their series SONGWRITER CIRCLE which gathers together singer/songwriters of note (no pun intended) to play some of their best songs and chat about their process of creation. Joining Buffy was her contemporary folkie Donovan and Blue Mink creator Roger Cook.

You soon learn that these recordings - like signing sessions - only include punters to provide a backdrop, one is stickered, moved around and marshalled like so much condemned veal.

However once the actual show started a good time was had by all. The running order was Donovan then Buffy then Roger taking turns to sing a song, chat a bit and help their amies out with the odd harmony. Owen rightly surmised that it was a good idea to put Roger Cook at the end as he usually lightened the mood after Donovan and Buffy's occasional serious songs.

Buffy gave us 'Until It's Time For You To Go', 'Piney Wood Hills', 'Cod'ine', 'Little Wheel Spin And Spin', 'I'm Gonna Be A Country Girl Again', 'Up Where We Belong', 'Universal Soldier' and 'Still This Love Goes On' and all were delightfully performed and "Universal Soldier" in particular, was given the biggest ovation of the evening. It was also very noticeable that of the three, Buffy is the one who is still current and making music.
The next night we took our pew places at the Union Chapel in Islington for her concert backed by her fine, rocky band of three big lads all from Winnipeg.

First however we had to suffer a 30 minute set by some winsome, dreary, Dido-esque singer dressed in her best Ophelia-ish long white floaty frock. Dear lord, she sucked donkeys... at one point she informed us that she was going to do a song "that's a bit more up-tempo". Thanks for the heads up love, but it still meandered itself up a musical cul-de-sac. What ultimately annoyed me the most was that Buffy played a curtailed set - just over an hour - so why did this dreary bleating mare get a full 30 minutes?

As I said, Buffy played a curtailed set - about halfway through I was aware she was checking her watch more than somewhat and after an enjoyable but raggedy ending with a taped pow-wow song playing while they did their best reservation dance to it, they left the stage to a massive standing ovation. We clapped and clapped but the little backstage door remained shut and after an announcement that the show was over, we were hustled out of the chapel with undue haste. It turns out that Buffy had a photo session booked on the stage, it's a shame she couldn't have done a quick acoustic number and ended the show properly.

It was great to see her again though in these two different shows.

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