Rod Clements and Rab Noakes set at Backstage at the Green Hotel is very much imbued with the spirit of the musician's musician, the late Robin McKidd. The opening song 'Alive and Picking' (and a later reprise) is dedicated to the talented and influential Dundee born guitar, banjo, and fiddle player who died of emphysema in 2016.
The grimly humorous 'A Voice Over My Shoulder' was also inspired by McKidd who loved the phrase, 'and a voice over my shoulder said things could get worse... and sure enough they did'. The arrangement of Noakes rhythm guitar and Rods mandolin picking and are particularly effective and Clements treats us to an inspired mandolin solo.
Clements and Noakes have been playing together for around 50 years now and though at times slightly ramshackle (they have just had a six-month break) their performance belies two musical personalities that fit together like a jigsaw. Vocally they very much have their own style. For example, Noakes delivers the high harmony part on 'Highway Blues' with a touch of a Dylan drawl (which seems fitting as lyrically the song reminds me of 'Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts') but when combined with Clements purer delivery it just seems to work
I love a murder ballad as much as the next man (particularly if the next man is Nick Cave), so I was pleased when the duo played an arrangement of 'Long Black Veil', a song I'm familiar with from versions by both Johnny Cash and The Band. This version has a touch of The Handsome Family about it with Rods juddering, tremolo laden lead playing teasing out the supernatural elements from this tale Best of all is the beautiful love song 'I Always Will' with its fingerpicking melody as pretty as Steve Earles 'My Old Friend The Blues'.of ghostly betrayal.
Rab plays three songs from his excellent 'Treatment Tapes EP' which details his recovery from tonsillar cancer (he wryly describes it as a 'party album'). 'Water is My Friend' is a hymn to the joys of hydration and the people looking after Noakes 'who don't get paid enough', whereas 'This Won't Stop Me' is a swashbuckling song of defiance. Best of all is the beautiful love song 'I Always Will' with its fingerpicking melody as pretty as Steve Earles 'My Old Friend The Blues'.
Rod Clements also showcases a strong set of songs. 'Why Can't I Be Satisfied?', a Jack The Lad song, features a blistering slide solo and Noakes joins in on the drinking song 'Whisky Highway' despite having been teetotal since 1982.
It is quite late in the evening before Rod breaks out the first Lindisfarne song, a ballad that continues the long tradition of songs about Hobos in folk music. 'The Sundown Station' a lovely song from the obscure 1999 'Untapped and Acoustic' album ('I've personally met everyone who bought a copy' Rod quips) with its tales of 'riding the blinds' is reminiscent of Woody Guthrie's 'Hobo's Lullabye' and Bob Rod showcases some truly heroic slide guitar work and a beautiful ringing broken chord spelled out in natural harmonics.Dylans 'Only A Hobo'.
Next up is 'Train in G Major' which is actually in E Major because Rod can't sing as high as Lindisfarne vocalist Alan Hull. Rod showcases some truly heroic slide guitar work and a beautiful ringing broken chord spelled out in natural harmonics.
'Meet Me At The Corner' by Lindisfarne is the greatest song ever written about buying illegal substances... at least the greatest not written by Cypress Hill. Despite (maybe even because of) its subject matter and the years that have passed, Rab and Rod manage to still convey an almost Bradyburyesque sense of wonder and youthful naivety.
After a reprise of their theme tune, 'Alive and Picking', the show ends with a sing-a-long 1920s song 'Stealin'', which saw a resurgence in the 60s and 70s when it was covered by everyone from Dylan to Janis Joplin. Both the duo on stage and the Kinross audience are in fine voice and it is a great end to a really entertaining evening of songs and stories from the irrepressible Noakes and Clements.
Perth Festival of the Arts has joined forces with its 2020 artists to create a 10-day online celebration to ‘celebrate the arts together'.
May 21st Thursday 2020
Dougie Maclean's new Perthshire festival this summer: Cardney Concerts.
March 18th Wednesday 2020
Party at The Park, the South Inch, 27th and 28th June, will feature fantastic live performances from The Charlatans and many more!
March 12th Thursday 2020