You are hereGalley Beggar and The Jar Family
Galley Beggar and The Jar Family
Under the heading 'An Evening of Folk Rock', the London-based sextet Galley Beggar squeezed into the small upstairs function room at the Three Horse Shoes pub on the outskirts of Doncaster town centre to bring some of their distinctly vintage-styled music to a venue. The Three Horse Shoes has its own historic connections with folk music over the years and the ghosts of those who inhabited the pub were present tonight in spirit if not in person, as the two bands performed before a small audience; the other band being Hartlepool's The Jar Family, returning to Doncaster after their recent success at the Doncaster Folk Festival a few weeks ago. The few folk-rock enthusiasts who did brave the weather to attend the concert were treated to an evening of 1960s-style folk rock courtesy of Galley Beggar, whilst the Hartlepool songwriter collective performed their own brand of self-penned indie-folk.
With a set featuring familiar traditional songs such as The Outlandish Knight, Jack Orion and John Barleycorn, complete with Dave Swarbrick's fiddle coda to Matty Groves tagged on to the end, the six-piece Galley Beggar filled the small room with sound during a set featuring songs from their current album REFORMATION HOUSE as well as featuring one or two new songs from their forthcoming follow up including the band's take on Lord Randall. By the band's own admission, Galley Beggar are more of a festival band than a back room of a pub outfit, nevertheless the band comprising Maria O'Donnell on lead vocals, David Ellis on guitar, Mat Fowler on guitar and mandolin, Celine Marshall on fiddle and the rhythm section of Mark Hammersley on bass and Paul Dadswell on drums, managed to re-create a sound and image based on the influence of such notable outfits as Fairport Convention, Pentangle and the acoustic folk forays of Led Zeppelin.
Kicking the night off was the seven-piece songwriters circle of Al Devon, Max Bianco, Richie Docherty, Chris Hooks and Dali, together with former Squeeze bassist Keith Wilkinson, otherwise known as The Jar Family, who stood shoulder to shoulder in the small stage space to deliver a selection of their own songs. Taking their name from their own self-styled song selection system, whereby each of the band's new songs are placed in a jar then chosen randomly during their initial try out period. A democratic system necessary for a collective inhabited by five diverse songwriters.
Starting with their hometown anthem Poolie Strut, the collective demonstrated their versatility throughout the set, swapping and changing instruments throughout to suit each of the song's arrangements. With the Dylan-esque She Was Crying, Max Bianco is no shrinking violet when it comes to paying homage to his inspiration, wearing his harmonica rack as a fashion accessory, obligatory shades and Woody Guthrie This Machine Kills Fascists slogan scrawled on his guitar.
The Jar Family bustled with a cross fertilisation of diverse personalities and with no apparent leader, instead a combined songwriting pool of talent, from the charismatic bowler-hatted Dali, to the informed left-handed guitar playing of Chris Hooks, with each of the songwriters taking centre stage whilst the band offered empathetic backing for each of the arrangements on such songs as Debt, In For a Penny, Getting Better and the band's forthcoming single Broken Minded.