Best of British Report - August 2019
August 10. It is a shame that Les Evans is still too unwell to perform with Glyn Long as one half of the Longshot duo but Glenn Rogers proved to be an excellent replacement. Having two lead vocalists gave a different dimension to the act with contrasting vocal styles and I particularly liked the frequent variation between older and newer country music. For example, Glenn singing Loving You Makes Me A Better Man, was followed by Glyn with Day of the Dead. Listeners and dancers showed their appreciation with good applause throughout the evening. Just how up to date Longshot are was emphasised when DJ Dave joked about them performing most of the club’s dance list, an exception, which Dave played, was a request for Dig Deep.
Unusually, there were more partner dancers than line dancers up for Gypsy Queen. Most of the partner dancers were from Danny & Barbara’s It Takes 2 western partner dance class, details available on the Best of British CMC website or you can call Danny/Barbara on 01795 475453.
Best of British Report - July 2019
July 13. The Ian Highland Band was formed in 2009 and this was their fifth appearance at the club in the past six years of which I have seen three. Their style doesn’t vary much and, as expected, we got a good mix of traditional country music. The line-up has varied a bit each time and tonight it was Ian Highland (lead singer), Arron Herrod (lead guitar and vocals), Bob Haskell (Steel guitar) Terry Downing (Bass) ) and Jon Keys (Drums). It was a ‘blast from the past’ seeing Jon again and I look forward to seeing him next year as part of the re-formed Memphis Roots.
Don’t Close Your Eyes was an early message from the band, but I could easily have ignored this advice after taking 2½ hours instead of the usual 40 minutes getting to the club due to M2 road closures and badly organised diversions. The second set included Carmen and Much Too Young both of which were No. 1 Hot Disc chart successes in 2012 for the Ian Highland band. Towards the end Ian asked “where has everyone gone, is this usual?” The answer is that it has been a growing trend in recent months and the very warm conditions this evening didn’t help. Thanks to Ian and his friendly band for continuing to keep us entertained right ‘til the end despite the heat.
Best of British Report - June 2019
June 8. The Chris Dunne Band made a welcome return to the club following their outstanding performance last year.
Among numerous songs that attracted enthusiastic applause I was particularly impressed with Zac Brown’s Highway 20 Ride, including an unaccompanied vocal section from Chris.
After singing Happy Birthday to Perry the next song, Proud Mary, was dedicated to club host Mary.
Amazed was performed by request and it is good to see that some of our acts still have the flexibility to depart from a set list.
After what I would describe as a real country music show this six piece band brought a memorable evening to a close with a great rendition of Garth Brook’s Ain’t Going Down ‘Til The Sun Comes Up.
Best of British Report - May 2019
May 11. One of my favourite acts, award winning duo Jonny and Lynnette, returned to entertain us in their unique way with their brand of mainly traditional country music.
In the first set, Lynnette referred to the sad loss of Gary Perkins and that they had been given three of Gary’s songs to learn by The Breeze. They certainly did Gary proud with the first of them, Love Me Like I Love You, which they have turned into a duet. Later they also sang Gary’s Thank You and a catchy number that seemed ideally suited to them,
Johnny Cash’s I Got Stripes with a good instrumental outro. The loud shouts at the end for more were fully merited, it was just a shame there wasn’t a higher attendance given the quality of the entertainment.
Best of British Report - April 2019
April 13. Although some of our regulars were absent, we welcomed others who had travelled quite a distance to see Ridgeway Country including a couple from Portsmouth, two from Northampton who were staying locally and six from the Eastbourne area involved with the Golden Spurs club in Herstmonceux.
There was one change to the usual line up with Tony, Mark, Jess and Matt being joined by the accomplished Ray Phillips on pedal steel. Ray, currently a member of the Ray Peters Band, was standing in for Dave Wheelhouse.
I enjoyed Ridgeway Country’s mix containing numerous traditional country music classics, some singalong medleys and brief departures to the 50s/60s with songs such as Hello Mary Lou and It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.
The last set contained one much newer number - Lonely For You Only, released by Midland in 2017.
As Mary said as the band were introduced, it was a treat to see a five piece band on the stage, these days a rarity we must make the most of.
Best of British Report - March 2019
March 9. Last here in August 2018 Stonecold Country made an early return as they were available at short notice standing in for our scheduled act who were double booked. I was away and have compiled this report from notes sent to me.
Father and son duo, Ray and Steve Kedge, were on top form and had the dancers up from the start. An early song, Dangerous Curves, featured some great guitar work from Steve. Ray (vocals/steel guitar) and Steve complemented each other all evening with their singing and instrumentation.
They performed Kiss the Girl, a Disney song from the film/show The Little Mermaid, which to me is a catchy and pleasant song to listen/dance to and yet across the Atlantic some have branded the lyrics sexist and misogynistic. As usual, Steve played a guitar solo and this time it was Ghost Riders In the Sky which club host Mary rated the best so far. Another song of note was Call Me When It’s Over written by local country singer/songwriter Billy Levin and you can see Stonecold Country singing this on YouTube.
They closed the evening with Gary Perkin’s Thank You which seemed appropriate as those present left thanking them for a great evening’s entertainment and the best they have heard from Stonecold Country.
Best of British Report - February 2019
February 9. The Valentines event saw the hall decorated for the occasion with hearts, balloons etc. and the ladies received a red rose. Some were dressed for the annual performance of the Trilogy when the club honours those who have given their lives in conflict and remembers loved ones and friends who have passed away in the last year, namely Carol Collins, Lawrie Bingham and the artiste Gary Perkins. Those who took part entered and left the hall to Special Absent Friends and the ceremony was performed to Mickey Newbury’s version of The Trilogy.
The entertainment was provided by Harrison County and it was good to see Chris Harris on (vocals) and Jim Martin (pedal steel & fiddle) back together again for one of their occasional gigs. They were a regular duo until about 8 years ago but now Chris usually goes out solo and Jim is part of Black Steel. During three very enjoyable sets, which contained many well performed familiar songs, I welcomed the inclusion of some newer material such as two of Brett Young’s best numbers (In Case You Didn’t Know and Mercy) and Burn Out by Midland, an American country band formed in 2016. A newer song maybe but a heartbreak ballad in true country style.
Best of British Report - January 2019
January 12. Having attracted last year’s biggest attendance Rancher got our New Year off to a great start with well over 100 eagerly awaiting their return
The dancers stayed on the floor between songs knowing they could dance to nearly everything that Rancher performed.
Steve and John constantly update their content and tonight played at least seven of the top 10 dances listed in February’s Cross Country.
As a listener (more so than usual due to a foot injury) I particularly liked Sangria, Wherever Love Takes Us (Waves of Love) and Thank You but Damn didn’t appeal to me.
Apart from some superb vocals I was impressed with their musicianship, for example the guitar work featured in Dirt On My Boots, which I don’t recall any other act playing here. All this was enhanced with quality sound and the care taken in setting up.
Not for the first time, some of Rancher's fans came bearing gifts, tonight Steve thanked Louise for her shortbread and Fiona for the best ever lemon drizzle cake.
Lawrence (Lawrie) Bingham
One of our long-standing regulars, Lawrie Bingham, attended this event greeting us as he so often did with one of his good humoured quips. Sadly, the following weekend he collapsed and died while attending another local country music club.
If there is any consolation at a time like this it is knowing that he died doing something he loved and in the way he said he’d liked to go.
His funeral at Medway Crematorium on January 23rd was attended by people from several CMCs and one of his favourite songs I Just Want To Dance With You by George Strait was played.
We’ll miss you Lawrie and send our condolences to wife Jean, family and friends.
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