Monthly Archives: November 2012

Curtis Eller’s American Circus. Duck and Drake, Leeds. 17.11.12

After last night’s excellent entertainment, an early return to the Duck and Drake to experience the banjo-playing, yodelling New Yorker that is Mr Eller, along with his American Circus.

Straight away from his appearance, you get the feeling this is not going to be another bloody Thin Lizzy tribute act. Having said that, I don’t think I have ever been in here and not sat near someone with a manic stare and inane grin who is desperately arguing with an invisible friend, so he fits in quite well! A fantastic performer, whose eccentric delivery of songs about eg pigeons, coal-mining in Alaska and Richard Nixon masks some serious social comment. Unfortunately, we had to again leave early for the bus home so we got ”After the soil fails’ and it had to be goodbye.

Next time we are hoping for the full experience and I would urge the more daring of you to do similar. If your idea of music is The X Factor and the subsequent purchase of the winner’s cd, (which seems to find its way into the nearest charity shop in no time), that’s fine but Curtis Eller just might not be for you.

Full marks to the landlord for letting us enjoy Mr E and chums with no door charge, but the main drawback with that is the amount of customers who then just stand at the bar and talk loudly. A small beef in a much-appreciated gesture.

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People’s Republic of Mercia. Duck and Drake, Leeds, 16.11.12

The Duck and Drake fell by the wayside some time ago, but has been revived by a landlord who is as passionate and knowledgeable about his music as he is his beer.

Tonight, the top class Brummy rhythm and blues outfit that is the People’s Republic of Mercia hit the tiny stage.  A great mixture of original songs eg ‘Stir Crazy’ and numbers from Bo Dudley (!), Mungo Jerry and Status Quo. Their own songs slotted in well alongside ‘Who do you Love’, ‘I can tell’, ‘Baby Jump’ and ‘Roadhouse Blues’. The only song that didn’t quite work was ‘Milk and Alcohol’, it didn’t fit in with the general style, even though they are obviously Feelgood fans.

Aston has a very good voice, and the occasional harmonica isn’t overdone. Unusually for me, I bought one of their cds, and it was unfortunate that we had to go for our bus after the first set.

Highly recommended  for any fans of ‘proper’ r n b.

Catfish Keith, New Roscoe, 1.11.2012

In the last century, it used to be the case that if you were in the Leeds Irish Centre watching Dr Feelgood, it had to be November.  Now,  it seems if you are in the New Roscoe watching Catfish Keith, yes, that’s right. It was tempting to go back to the very first review and do a cut and paste job, removing the second digit in the day and changing the last digit in the year, but that would be a disservice to a great artist. He’s been touring the UK for 20 years, and I regret not having latched onto him sooner.

His new releases last year are, in fact, still his latest ones, so they get featured.  His first set features a mixture of originals and tracks by the likes of Leadbelly and the Rev Gary Davis. Again, he rotates playing on 3 guitars, the steel, the 12 string and a small 6 string which looks like Pinky and Perky should be using it. There seemed to be a lot of tuning on all of them though, maybe her Ladyship’s hot flushes were causing problems.  Excellent first set, though why a few pillocks at the bar paid to get in then talk loudly while people were trying to listen escaped me.

The second set started out with one of her Ladyship’s favourites, Bukka White’s ‘Jitterbug Swing’ and his guitar playing was at times so amazing that if I had been told he was from another solar system I wouldn’t have doubted it. We got a great version of Mississippi John Hurt’s ‘Payday’ amongst others. He’s got a great voice too, and there must be a case for any self-respecting Thesaurus to include ‘Catfish Keith’ in the section marked ‘awesome’.

A great night, and (like last time), criminal that there were maybe only 50 or so there. Especially when the ticket price is only a couple of quid more than for Who’s Next, allegedly the country’s premier Who tribute act. (A couple of years ago, they had found a Daltrey lookalike, and have a bloke playing an SG in a white boiler suit [lefthanded!]. So the minor fact that they sound absolutely NOTHING LIKE The Who hasn’t deterred their audience, seemingly.

CK is also a really nice man, very approachable, so go and see him!