Rab Noakes, The Old Fruitmarket, Celtic Connections 2017
An evening of song and stories with Rab Noakes.
Rab looked smart in a black and grey stripped suit. He kicked off the show with ‘Let The Show Begin’.
The Fruitmarket was full of Noakes’ dedicated, appreciative and respectful fans.. He introduced his band – Innes Watson (fiddle), Una MacGlone (double bass), Stuart Brown (drums), Una McImprov (guitar), Christine Hanson (cello), Lisbee Roo (Banjo), and Jill Jackson (vocals, guitar). I was impressed by these accomplished musicians.
Rab sang his trademark songs – ‘Together Forever’ (which was covered by the band Lindisfarne back in 1969), ‘Eden’s Flow’ and ‘Clear Day’ (a call and response song).
In ‘Gently Does It’ he expertly played the melody on guitar as he spoke of being inspired by the acclaimed folk singer Alex Campbell; a great performer with a gift for building up his set.
The ‘Twa Corbies’ was performed with Gaelic singer Kathleen Innes. A new stand out song was “a Scot’s song nod to Dylan and a Bob Dylan nod to Scot’s song”; entitled ‘Tramp and Immigrants’. It was a mash up of Dylan’s ‘Pity the Poor Immigrant’ and the Scottish song ‘Tramps and Hawkers’.
For his second set Rab started with ‘That Won’t Stop Me’ from his Treatment Tapes CD. This 70/50 show was a double celebration for Rab as he will be 70 this year and has now been performing for 50 years.
He sang songs of traveling, long gone folk with ‘Jackson Greyhound’, of the maturity of experience, lessons learned and hard fought for acceptance. He spoke of his travels in the deep American south – starting at New Orleans and on up to Alabama, with the civil rights on one hand and music on the other. He said it was important to let the song tell the tale when he sang ‘A Voice Over my Shoulder’.
He took part in the project ‘Scotland Sings – Hands up for Trad’, when he re-engaged with the Scots song tradition working with Kathleen Innes. He wrote his song about the treatment of asylum seekers being lined up for farm work with his ‘The Handwash Feein Mairket.’
He thanked his wife Steph for her help during his cancer treatment and, along with Kathleen, he sang an emotional ‘Just One Look’ and ‘I Always Will’. He also spoke of writing songs with her and sang ‘O Me O My (O Fly Away)’.
Rab always enjoys looking back and treated us to special songs of the past – he sang an emotional final song ‘Tennessee Waltz’ – which had the Fruitmarket audience on its feet.
Noakes is unassuming, genuine and a keen observer of life. It was clear he had put a great deal of consideration into the song choices for his concert. A memorable night.
Review and Photos Pauline Keightley – http://pkimage.co.uk/
This section: Celtic Connections 2017, Pauline Keightley
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