Friday, June 20, 2008

Review: Don Partridge at the Pack Horse, Friday, 13th June, 2008

Onwards to belated review number two...

... the mighty Don 'Snakehips' Partridge, King of the Buskers, complete with one-man band and two guitars – the big twelve string and a six for more elaborate stuff returned to the Pack Horse after a five-year hiatus. Another national treasure like Jack Hudson, Don has a good few old friends up here from his tenure in God's Little Acre and environs a few years ago – some of whom were here tonight. If you have seen him playing on the streets, the indoor performance is somewhat different. For one thing, he can rein back a bit, not competing with traffic and outdoor urban noise. And this gives another side to his music – Don has always been a clever and sensitive writer of songs and those who know him just from the pop hits of yesteryear ('Rosie,' 'Blue Eyes' and the recently resurrected 'Breakfast on Pluto') may be surprised at his depth and reach. Don is also a natural raconteur with a fast wit, interspersing the music with tales of the roads travelled. Coming from folk music, yet broadening out to include songs like 'Black-eyed Susie,' originally an old bluegrass number that mutated into a big hit for Guy Mitchell. (I remember a long time ago he used to do 'Hey Baby,' the old Bruce Chanel track, in a similar move – he probably still plays it).

Others - a loping 'Streets of Laredo' (joined effectively on squeezebox by the other half of the resident musicians duo, Dave Morton), the old Bessie Smith tune 'Nobody knows you when you're down and out,' a soulful 'I've got you under my skin' which featured some nifty harmonica. Of his own songs, 'Trans-Canadian Highway' is a favourite, recollecting a journey long ago and his seven minute version of his setting of Alfred Noyes narrative poem 'The Highwayman' displays abundantly his musical ear – both sensitive and rousing as befits the story being told. The one-man band sound of bass drum, cymbals and harmonica fleshes out his guitar work to give a full and solid support throughout, translating well from the streets to the club. A fascinating night, with odd fluffs here and there but they did not marr the overall performance and are almost obligatory for a folk club anyway. Only criticism, the vocals may have benefited from a touch of amplification – I was straining a bit at the back occasionally. Having said that, most of those in front of me probably heard everything more clearly... So: Hail the King! (Also, mention should be made of Mr Marmion's new instrument, seen in one of the photos, forged from the body of a six-string banjo and chopped into – something else... nominations for a name are being taken. 'The banjo from the Black Lagoon' was one...


Isaac Ashe said...

Hi there,

my name's Isaac, I write The guide section of the Loughborough Echo.

As you're posting reviews of gigs in Loughborough here, I was wondering if you'd be interested in writihg some for the paper too.

If you'd like to find out more, give me a call on 01509 635820 or email me at



PS. Please read my blog!

Tim said...

Good Job! :)

Rod... said...

...thanks, Tim!