Tom Russell. Brudenell Social Club. 11.10.2015

It’s been a couple of years since we last saw Mr Russell (see earlier review). Last time , at the Sage in Gateshead  (for free), he had Thad Beckman accompanying him. Tonight it is some young Italian guitarist.  For some time he has been touring his latest record, ‘The Rose of Roscrae, A Ballad of the West’. The tw0 set show has featured mainly songs from that in the first half, with a ‘hits’ (?) second set.

8.00 pm kick-off, and into ‘Carrickfergus’. ‘Hair Trigger Heart’ follows and Tom is basically taking all the vocals from the songs off his afore-mentioned record. No easy task, as there are quite a few collaborators on the two and a half hour, 52 track magnum opus. And he is positively jovial…almost!  The first set of an hour includes the likes of ‘…Bad Kid’, ‘Guadalupe’,and ‘I talk to God’, finishing with a rousing oldie,  ‘Tonight we Ride’.

A break of about 20 minutes and they are back. ‘St Olav’s Gate’ is followed by the more recent ‘East of Woodstock…’ and given that there are decades between them, it shows how his songwriting muse has remained at the highest level. ( We do, of course, get a tw*t behind us who knows all the words, and seems to think we have come to listen to HIM!  I know the words too .B*ST*RD!)  ‘Nina Simone’, ”Stealing Electricity’ and ‘California Snow’ all maintain the impeccable quality, and ‘Who’s Gonna Build your Wall’ is even more topical today, given Donald Trump’s buffoonery.  The classic ‘Blue Wing’ came as the first encore, and Mr R paid homage to The Kinks. Rocking out with ‘Haley’s Comet’, he looked genuinely happy.

He is a great raconteur as well. Here playing to 100 or so, when a bloody Pink Floyd tribute show can fill the Albert Hall and charge £50 a ticket!  (No, I am not talking about David Gilmour!)  And there is really a God?!   I first discovered him via a 50p used cd from the local library. For the uninitiated , get onto YouTube now.

Photos not 10 out of 10, Her ladyship forgot her camera.

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