Radford Mill round up! Radford Mill recollections! Radford Mill report!
Hot dog! Another year, another festival! Well, buckle up and let's get to it!
The day started up with the all-too-rare strains of hokum emanating from The BAY RUM HOUNDS. These personable and talented troubadours got everyone on their side in a heartbeat. They had another two gigs to fulfil that day, and it's plain to see why!
Unfortunately, the band originally booked for the next slot pulled out that morning … but it was the work of a moment to rouse JON WALSH from his slumbers in Hampshire, mount him on his white charger and despatch him once more into the breaches to save the situation!
Now … our gratitude at this generous act in no way impacts on the fact that he was SIMPLY MARVELLOUS anyway! Who's that in the palm of his hand? That's you that is. He can sing it, he
can play it … and it's impossible not to warm to his delivery. No sooner had we resolved THAT little conundrum, but genuine tragedy then struck.
It would be wrong to trespass on a man's private grief, and our next scheduled artist was side swiped by a personal crisis that nobody could have overcome .…but soft … another unexpected delight in the small but perfectly formed shape of HELENA graced us with her ethereal transcendence! Yes .… the voice of an angel, with the devil's own wit. Know her anywhere.
Now .… when I was invited to book the bands, I was determined to serve you up something apart from the usual suspects … and if possible, surprise and delight you! I'm sure you'll agree that the fusing of the Ganges and the mighty Mississippi provoked a sound cocktail that was cathartic and engaging! MAHARAJA BLUES won a bunch of new friends on Saturday and Christian on harmonica (a citizen of the world, if ever there was one) gave his Gaelic shrug a new poetry.
MESTIZO BLUES COLLECTIVE defied the weather and defied the odds. Self-effacing, discreet and tasteful .… got a marquee dancing to original songs on a Saturday afternoon? Surely the understated musicality of Jerry Osbornes' drums must have played their full role!
I think it's illegal to have a festival without the enchantment of Roger Slade … and if it isn't, then it ought to be. This incarnation is dubbed LOST ELEVEN, and naturally, showcases his dexterity on an array of stringed instruments combined with harmonies that would give your cat sleepless nights. Americana with style and élan. Their CDs were doing good business, and with good reason.
DEL RAY ROCKETS! What more can be said about the mighty Rockets? Reconstructed .… unrepentant … they bring everything that is good and exciting to a music festival that, frankly, didn't need any help, and make it even more vital, galvanising and irresistible. Breathe new life into old classics and inject some of their own tunes too. This is how a real band goes to work.
It fell to the 'aged in the keg' Texas flavoured ROBIN BIBI to close the show … and rightly, his personality, unshowy mastery of stagecraft and dynamics couldn't be topped. Again, this master craftsman proved that original material is welcome on it's merit. Topper songs, great band, terrific guitar … and a sense of 'giving' that you can't get from a YouTube tutorial.
Well … you couldn't follow that … so we didn't! Fumbling for cloakroom tickets and festooned with smiles, we bring down the curtain … but not before a tip of the beanie hat to STEVIE on the mixing desk … he bestrode the day like a colossus … unflappable, professional, interested, with a plucky "can do" attitude not often seen in horny handed sound persons. Thanks pally.
And now … to sleep, perchance to zzzzz …..