Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Monday, 29 September 2014
|20th Yarm Chess Championships|
Youngsters at Yarm Preparatory School have played host to local primary schools at the 20th Yarm Chess Tournament.
The championship saw 24 teams in action, battle their way through five highly competitive rounds in the Under-9 and Under-11 titles.
Competing schools included Errington, Ings Farm, Brambles, Throston, Whale Hill, Westgarth and John Emmerson Batty. Over 100 children took part in the tournament, which was organised by Sean Marsh from Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC.)
Yarm School A won the Under-9 section, just ahead of Whale Hill and Throston who were second and third respectively. Yarm School A were also successful in the Under-11 section, scoring a very impressive 18.5 points out of a possible 20. Errington School B came second and there was a three-way tie for third place, between Westgarth A, Westgarth D and Throston.
Bill Sawyer, Headmaster of Yarm Preparatory School, said: “It was a fantastic day for everyone taking part. Teams of boys and girls came from all over Teesside and everyone improved their game and gained valuable experience while also having a lot of fun. I would like to thank every pupil who took part as well as Chess in Schools and Communities for organising the tournament, which we were, as ever, delighted to host.”
Mr Sawyer added: “Extra-curricular activities are important to any student, and as a school we value them very highly. Tournaments like this one, deliver an opportunity for students to hone and demonstrate their skills, as well as providing them with valuable experience for future contests.”
Sean Marsh from Chess in Schools and Communities said: “It was great to see so many players from so many different schools enjoying playing chess, making new friends and enjoying the experience, whether they became champions or not.”
Yarm School regularly offers a range of extra-curricular opportunities to students, with clubs, societies and activities available at lunch times and after school for pupils.
As part of the 20th tournament celebrations, Sean Marsh signed copies of his recently launched book, The Batsford Book of Chess from Beginner to Winner.
|The Sky is Crying|
Erja's new album is (in her own words) ''a raw and down to earth blues album.'' It also a tribute album, designed to celebrate the world and sounds of the Mississippi blues guitar. Consequently, all songs bar two - Erja´s Contribution To Jazz and King of the Slide Guitar - are covers.
The presence of Blind Willie McTell, Robert Johnson, Fred McDowell and Son House can all be freely identified on The Sky is Crying but the biggest influence is without doubt Elmore James - the King of the Slide Guitar. Erja, a.k.a Finland's Queen of the Slide Guitar, last appeared here at Marsh Towers back in January 2013. On this new album she takes nine of Elmore's songs and stamps her own unique style all over them, throwing in two of her own compositions for good measure.
1. Person To Person
2. Baby Please Set A Date
3. It Hurts Me Too
4. Erja´s Contribution To Jazz
5. The Sky Is Crying
6. Got To Move
7. The King Of The Slide Guitar
8. Sho´ Nuff I Do
9. Something Inside Me
10. Hand In Hand
11. Dust My Broom (live)
Erja Lyytinen: Vocals, slideguitar, guitar
Davide Floreno: Guitar, backing vocals
Roger Inniss: Bass
Miri Miettinen: Drums
Harri Taittonen: Piano, hammond, accordion
Abdissa Assefa: Percussion
Jukka Eskola: Trumpet
Petri Puolitaival: Tenor sax, baritone sax
Erja's vocal delivery is more than up to the task of keeping these old classics alive but the absolute star of the show is definitely her slide guitar, which has to be heard to be believed.
Among the album's many highlights, it the live version of Dust My Broom (recorded in September, 2013) that stands out more than any other. Running to just over nine and half minutes, it allows plenty of scope for exemplary solos and no opportunity is left unused.
''Blues will cure your soul'' sings Erja on The King Of The Slide Guitar. Whether that is literally true or not, it's got to be worth a try - so just slip The Sky is Crying into your player, sit back, relax, and take the cure.
For the latest news and tour dates, head over to Erja's official website.
Sunday, 28 September 2014
Thursday, 25 September 2014
Don't forget to use the code on this flyer to obtain a discount on The Batsford Book of Chess: From Beginner to Winner, when ordering directly from Batsford.
Signing sessions have started! Stay tuned for further details.
|Use the code to get a 20% discount|
|A signing session at school|
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Dreamboats and Miniskirts
Civic Theatre, Darlington
The plot is thin but that doesn't matter much, as the hits from the 1960s come thick and fast - all played and sung live by the hard working cast. Some of the ground covered is similar to that of Cilla, the current ITV series featuring the music and times of the same era (the early 1960s). Even The Beatles make an appearance.
It's all easy going stuff, with an inevitable happy ending. The trick is just to sit back, accept the undemanding nature of the plot and simply enjoy the whole crazy scene.
If you liked Dreamboats and Petticoats this sequel is a must.
|The tour stretches into 2015|
Sunday, 21 September 2014
|Catch the Fire |
Keith Thompson Band
Catch the Fire is Keith Thompson's eighth album. The band, featuring Roy Adams and Neil Simpson, has been touring extensively on the festival circuit, all the way from Croatia to the USA. Keith has also served serious time as a session musician and his work has even appeared on computer games, such as Grand Prix 2 and Over the Hedge, providing ample evidence to support his versatility as a musician.
Paid My Dues
Burning The Playhouse Down
Don't Come Running To Me
She's Too Hot
Getting Ready For The Burn
Send Your Fire
Wrong Side Of The Bed
Keeper Of The Flame
Angel Fire - Omega
Highlights include the sax-enhanced toe-tapper Don't Come Running To Me and Getting Ready For The Burn, featuring a blistering guest appearance from the Laurence Jones. Buddy Whittington also makes a brace of welcome guest appearances, on Burning The Playhouse Down and Restless - both of which can safely be marked down as further highlights.
All in all, Catch The Fire offers a considerable slice of feelgood blues with a good range of tempi. Fans of riff-driven blues should definitely give it a try.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Theatre Royal, York
In a nutshell, 1984 was every bit as powerful, shocking and thought-provoking this time as it was the first time around. There was even an unscheduled ''breaking of the fourth wall'' when a temporary technical fault brought a member of the behind the scenes crew centre stage to announce a break in the action while the problem was sorted.
Highly recommended - but definitely not for the faint hearted - 1984 is an impressive reworking of the classic story. Find out more about the play and keep up to date with the tour over at the official website.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
|Mike Zito and The Wheel|
Songs From the Road
Ruf's popular Songs From the Road series continues with a double disc release from Mike Zito. Mike's work has been featured here before (here, here and here if you'd like to catch up).
The series typically offers a double dose of live music, with one CD and a DVD covering the same performance (usually with a couple of changes in the respective track lists, for the sake of variety).''This DVD and live album were recorded on January 10th, 2014, at Dorsey Dee at The Woodlands, TX, to a sold-out crowd of crazy Texans'' says Mike. ''The audience was on fire from the first note. The band played with such energy and passion. I was overwhelmed many times throughout this performance by the sheer energy of love that poured out of every soul in that building. It was a truly magical night, one I will never forget.''
Jimmy Carpenter: sax and vocalsScot Sutherland: bass and vocals
Lewis Stephens: piano and organ
Rob Lee: drums and percussion
Track-wise, this is a showcase of Mike's best songs from the albums mentioned above, plus a a couple of covers.
Don't Break a Leg
Little Red Corvette
Hell on Me
Gone to Texas
Don't Break a Leg
I Never Knew a Hurricane
Hell on Me
One Step at a Time
Gone to Texas
Natural Born Lover
The DVD of the concert lasts just over one hour and 20 minutes. There's some bonus material in the form of fan interviews and three additional videos of Mike Zito in action.
It's a very entertaining package. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the music.
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
|20 Years Anniversary|
This excellent two-CD set showcases the extraordinary array of talent on their books. Most of the featured artists have been reviewed here at Marsh Towers (judicious use of the search box will be of help there).
The first CD presents some of the finest cuts from Ruf's Girls With Guitars and CD2 focuses on the Guys With Guitars. Despite the nostalgia-fest, Ruf keeps one eye on the future, with a formerly unreleased song by their latest signing, Eliana Cargnelutti.
There's no point in trying to pick out highlights from this bumper collection; they are all highlights! It's an ideal set to enable listeners to ''try before they buy'' from the extensive Ruf catalogue. Simply slip a CD into your player then sit back and relax.
CD 1: Girls With Guitars
1. Fish, Taylor, Wilde: Bitch – 03:38
2. Dana Fuchs: Bliss Avenue – 02:58
3. Joanne Shaw Taylor: Can’t Keep Living Like This – 05:12
4. Samantha Fish: Down In The Swamp – 04:13
5. Dani Wilde: Shine – 04:44
6. Meena: Try Me – 04:59
7. Ana Popovic: Love Fever – 04:27
8. Eliana Cargnelutti: Stranded in Memphis – 03:29
9. Joanna Connor: Never Been Rocked Enough – 03:26
10. Erja Lyytinen: Skinny Girl – 03:05
11. Sue Foley: Show Me – 03:31
12. Candye Kane and Laura Chavez: Toughest Girl Alive – 02:40
13. Foley, Coleman, Potvin: In The Basement – 03:26
CD 2: Guys With Guitars
1. Thorbjørn Risager: If You Wanna Leave – 04:12
2. Royal Southern Brotherhood : Rock And Roll – 04:56
3. Walter Trout: Livin’ Every Day – 04:41
4. Oli Brown: Speechless – 04:27
5. Laurence Jones: Temptation –04:15
6. Mike Zito: Voices In Dallas – 04:3
7. Bart Walker: Waitin On Daylight – 04:33
8. Spin Doctors: Some Other Man Instead – 04:33
9. Lister, Lyytinen, Parker: Blues Caravan – 02:43
10. Jeff Healey: I’m Torn Down – 05:03
11. Cyril Neville: Swamp Funk – 04:3
12. Devon Allman: Homesick – 03:32
13. K Simmonds and Savoy Brown: Nuthin‘ Like The Blues – 04:55
14. Albert Castiglia: Bad Avenue – 07:00
15. Luther Allison: You Can’t Always Get What You Want – 04:38
Incidentally, we will have reviews on new albums by Mike Zito, Devon Allman, Robbie Hill, Keith Thompson and Erja Lyytinen over the course of the next couple of week - so stay tuned.
Monday, 15 September 2014
Carnforth Station offers 11 brand new songs, all written by Jennifer.
Long Drive Back Home From Love
I've Forgotten Everything
One More Day
Angel in Disguise
Only the River
The range of instruments allows plenty of scope for a fresh range of sounds, with the harp and accordion in particular standing out and giving the songs significant extra dimensions.
Jennifer Crook: Lead singing, harp, acoustic guitar, banjo
Beth Porter: Cello, fiddle, harmony singing
Mike Cosgrave: Acoustic guitar, accordion, harmony singing
Kevin Brown: Weissenborn, lap steel, electric guitar
Miranda Sykes: Double bass, harmony singing
Readers may already be familiar with the real Carnforth Station and its significance in the story of Brief Encounter, with its themes of broken love and journeys (of more than one type). Similar themes inform the songs of this new album, from the very start, with Long Drive Back Home From Love. It's a very strong opener, detailing the dual-level journey (geographical and emotional) away from an unsuccessful relationship.
The title track continues the theme, with its ''graveyard of trains'' and ''carriages carrying high expectations'' which are ''left out to rot in the rain.'' This is all very potent material and it will undoubtedly strike an emotional chord with the vast majority of listeners.
There are several divergences from the central themes along the way, including the medieval-like Apples and the tempo-lifting, Gospel-tinged I've Forgotten Everything, which could well provoke an audience sing-a-long when played live, evoking, as it does, When the Saints Go Marching In.
Black Fly is one of the album's highlights, offering a slice of darker folk with a mystical slant featuring a wise old man and a choice of paths to take. It's not so easy to banish fear in the darkness.
The album comes full circle with For You. This closing song returns to the theme of broken relationships but sees the subject concluding her journey - having emerged a much stronger person - with a sugar-coated poisoned message to her former partner, the sort of person who was always right, left to ''act like you don't care.''
Carnforth Station is, without any shadow of doubt, Jennifer's finest work to date. The new songs are all set to be fully unleashed during an imminent tour.
Head for Jennifer's official website for further details on Carnforth Station and her 2014 tour dates.
Sunday, 14 September 2014
Thursday, 11 September 2014
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
The Sage, Gateshead
This was a great coup by The Sage as Roland played just four venues on this mini-tour (the others being in Birmingham, Hull and London) as he limbers up for the release of a new album, Return to Vegas.
It was a serious, intense set punctuated by just the occasional burst of humour. Early on, he asked ''Does anybody like punk rock? Do you love punk rock...? Well, here's some reggae'' before launching into a storming Ever Fallen in Love.
The audience was in a very responsive mood throughout the gig and the biggest cheer of the night was reserved - predictably - for Suspicious Minds. Elsewhere, he still hit the high notes in She Drive Me Crazy, which had the audience singing along from the start.
The encore started with The Prisoner, a recent song based on themes explored by the famous TV series of the same name, with key line ''I am not a number; I'm a free man!'' belted out very convincingly.
What Do You Mean
Ever Fallen in Love
Girl Like You
Johnny Come Home
It’s Only Money
Around the World
She’s Not You Girlfriend
She Drives Me Crazy
I’m Not The Man I Used To Be
This was undoubtedly one of the best gigs of the year. Here's hoping the new album appears sooner rather than later and that a full tour will follow, with the same band.
Here are a few more photos with which to conclude.
Monday, 8 September 2014
The Sage, Gateshead
First up was Lisa Stansfield, who drew a capacity audience to the beautiful surroundings of Hall One.