Rab Noakes and Friends at Celtic Connections

Photo: rab noakes and fraser speirs.

Review by Pauline Keightley

Rab took to the stage at the Strathclyde Suite, Glasgow Concert Hall on 31st January. The last time I'd seen him play was at Oran Mor, that gig wasn't so busy, so it was good to see a full house for him at Celtic Connections. ?

A host of Rab's friends from over the years joined him on stage: Tim O?Brien, Rod Clements, Monica Queen, Jimmie Macgregor and his a band featuring David Paton, Fraser Speirs, James Mackintosh and Hilary Brooks. Rod Clements of Lindisfarne, sang Turn a Deaf Ear.? Jimmie Macgregor sang Mormond Breas and Freight Train with Rab and he reminisced a bit about skiffle groups from the 60s. He sang some of his older songs such as Eden?s Flow, Turn a Deaf Ear and Clear Day as well as performing a selection of his newer songs. ?

Noakes sang Gently Does It, a deeply compassionate and deep thinking song about musicians he?d lost in the past year, including Gerry Rafferty. The song has emotive lyrics: ?You?ve been on the road so long, Building a highway to take you home.? He also sang Living in the Past, which has very moving lyrics: ?The past is a nice place to visit but I wouldn?t want to live there. Old dreams tie you down.? Nostalgia was also a feature of his song Memories.

Photo: rab noakes. Noakes always includes one older song and tonight it was the classic Bye Bye Blackbird with Fraser Spiers on harmonica.

In between the songs Noakes talked about the story behind his songs. He explained that he lets the songs come to him and doesn?t force anything. He appears to fulyl grasp the meaning and depth of the songs he interprets and for him it?s all about the narrative. Noakes also talked about the movies that have inspired his work such as Midnight Cowboy, which inspired his song I'm Walking Here.

For his encore song he sang Dylan?s Mississippi. Many of his songs have strong blue grass and Americana influences, although, he also draws on his Scottish Fife roots as well as those American artists that he grew up with. His songs made me think about how our music went over to America and then bounced back here! ?

The concert also made me wish that there was a 'Best of' album by Noakes. ?? rab noakes

Photos by Pauline Keightley www.musicfootnotes.com


First Half

  • Wait a Minute
  • Slippin Away
  • What are you doing here?
  • Turn a Deaf Ear
  • Meet me on the corner
  • Eden?s Flow
  • Seeing is Believing
  • Mormond Breas
  • Freight Train
  • Living in the Past
  • One Dog Barks

Second Half

  • Gently does it
  • No more time
  • I?m walkin? here
  • Song to the Siren
  • Sleepless nights
  • Bye bye blackbird
  • Absense
  • Clear day
  • Wrong joke
  • Fallen ones
  • Long dark night
  • A Day away from here
  • Mississippi
  • A brighter blue