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Larry Foley - The Ship Inn - St. John's, NF - 01.10.01

So, last night was Larry Foley and his guitar(s) at The Ship. No drums, no bass, no mad fiddle- he was all alone (most of the time) The Ship is quite a small, intimate pub, so it must have been a madhouse when The Punters played there just before Christmas. Every Wednesday night is Folk Night at The Ship, when The Folk Arts Council of St. John's, along with local businesses such as Lilian Fidler design and Breakwater Books, sponsor a local artist to perform. This week was Larry's turn.

Larry's set was very different to the music you'll hear from The Punters. He did, however, perform Candle and Wine which was a request: "I wasn't going to play this, as it's too much like my day job!" The rest of the set, in no particular order, was:

One Starry Night
Slip Jigs and Reels
Galway and Graceland
Vincent 52
Jim Harris
Streets of Baltimore
P Stands for Paddy
Jolly Jack
Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy
Rocks of Merasheen
Down Where the Drunkards Roll
She Said No
Tie Me Down
Shores of Amerikay
Take Her In Your Arms
Same Old Story
Can't Help It/ Still In Love With You
Banks of Newfoundland

Larry was very chatty with the audience, especially at the start when we numbered 8, including the barman, the door-lady, the sound guy and the two organisers!
Larry: "Well, Happy New Year everybody. This is my first gig of the New Year- let's hope it's not my last! My name is Larry Foley. My mother wanted to name me after my father, but 'Dad' sounded silly!"

In between Larry's sets, we were fortunate enough to hear Fergus O'Byrne perform four songs, including 'You Will Burn', a haunting tale of the witch hunts, told from the point of view of the hunters. It was noticed that Fergus was once again wearing a 'Black Dog Bodhran' T-shirt. The same we have seen him wear four times in the last 10 days!!! I wonder if perhaps he won a competition for a year's supply?!

After Fergus' solo spot came Stan Pickett (accordian), Greg Walsh (Fiddle), Dwayne Andrews (Guitar) and Fergus on the bodhran. The four of them played a lively set of jigs, reels and singles, which allowed the braver (or more drunk?) members of the audience (which had grown considerably by then) to practise their dancing skills. Shannon Lynch was the final 'open mic' performer. Fresh off the 'plane from Halifax, Shannon had hitchiked from the airport and was lucky enough to be picked up by Paul Rumayne, whom I told you about a couple of weeks ago. It was Shannon's first time in St. John's, but he gave us a stirring a capella version of 'Fields of Athenrye' (sp?) and followed with a lively honky-tonk song accompanying himself with guitar and harmonica. I seem to say this a lot, but look out for him in a pub near you!

Larry got back on his stool and was joined for a couple of numbers by Frank Mar, accordian player extraordinaire. Then Fergus got up (again-the man's like a yo-yo!!) and did 2 songs with Larry, who was very excited as he's always been a huge fan of Ryan's Fancy. The second song, with Fergus on guitar and Larry on accordian, was called 'Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy' and it must surely be on Sean's list of songs to sing, concerning as it does, young men, fair maids and windows!LOL

Larry finished his set by himself, and earned a standing ovation for his efforts. It was great to hear Larry do different music to that which he has become known for through The Punters. There were lots of country style songs, and a few golden oldies from the 60s and 70s. Also, just hearing the man and his guitar, provides a much more raw sound, that I first noticed at the MIA Songwriter's Circle back in November, and really appreciate. It lets you know that here is a person who can actually sing, and doesn't need the technology of a studio to sound good.

It was a great night and I recommend Folk Night to anyone who finds themselves at a loose end one Wednesday evening in St. John's. Not only do you get to hear great music, but you never know who might put in an appearance, either to perform or just to have a pint.

So, there you go, my small (?) review of Folk Night and Larry Foley. I'm sure he did other songs, but these are the ones that were on his set list. Not that I got to keep it. I wrote it down on the other half of the paper and tore it off.
Larry: "Set lists are very personal things. Once I have one, I don't like to lose it" I guess it's just a good job I could read his writing!!!!


New CD Ready
Fisherman's Blues, the 4th CD from The Punters, is now available. On this CD the band celebrates their traditional roots and we finally hear a song from Pat.


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