Concert Review John Kirkpatrick’s Carolling and Crumpets

Review by Ben Macnair

With a Melodeon, an Accordion, a Concertina, some tales of pagan Christmas past, and an assured stage presence the musician John Kirkpatrick kept the audience’s attention when he played at Lichfield Guildhall.

Best known as an in demand musician, working with such luminaries as Steeleye Span, Richard Thompson, The Albion Band, Ralph McTell, Gerry Rafferty, Loudon Wainwright III, and Brass Monkey to name a few, here the full range of his musical talent was displayed in such instrumentals as The Pantomime Schottische, or in the song The Miner’s Dream of Home which sequed into The Bells, a crowd-pleasing rendering of chiming bells, which showed the versatility of the instrument, and the musician’s open minded approach to the sounds that it could reproduce.

Although this was listed as a seasonal show, more traditionally well known Christmas songs and carols didn’t feature, instead we heard rarer songs, or songs from the Sheffield tradition, even the well known The Holly and The Ivy was re-written by John Kirkpatrick, taking it back to its earlier versions, whilst The Boar’s Head Carol was sung in Latin. This was not an obviously crowd-pleasing show, one for the purists who prefer seasonal music to be of the time, redolent of the cold, the snow, the Mid-winter festival before Charles Dickens wrote a Christmas Carol.

Songs about Wassailing, about drinking and comradeship featured throughout the set, whilst pieces such as the original Pig on a Tricycle, a complicated concertina instrumental, and Carolling and Crumpets a narrative song about this time of year were very well received, this was a one-man show, with wide appeal.

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