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Blind Willie McTell Day The Betsey Trotwood , Farringdon, Sunday 4th November Review by David Atkinson, Photos by Matt Bergin
I love Willie McTell's music and was vibrating with anticipation at the release of Michael Gray's biography. Then when I learned there was to be an afternoon devoted to the book and his music I was nothing short of chuffed. If I'd been wearing a hat it would have been on the side of my head.
After piling into the tiny basement of Betsy Trotwoods in Farrigdon, enthusiastic punters were treated to short sets from each act, usually comprised of two originals and two Willie McTell numbers. David Cronenbergs' Wife kicked things off with angular aplomb and the remaining acts followed swifly and in a well organised manner, interspersed with choice readings from the book by Gray himself.
The stark reverb-soaked sound of The Congregation was a personal highlight but each act was enjoyable by virtue of being intellegent and idiosyncratic. From fractured solo turns from The Intolerable Kid to shouty esoteric havoc courtesy of Extradition Order. The bespectacled The Train Chronicles' admirably winged Dyin' Crapshooter Blues, its lengthy and complicated lyrics taking everyone - particularly him - by suprise. Lil' Lost Lou were new to me and I'll be checking them out again. Fiddles are all too rare these days...
BluesinLondon faves The Cedars capped off the day with thier set, featuring a rollicking take on Stomp Down Rider, bringing an eclectic afternoon to a close. It was well concieved and executed and as interesting as it gets. Bravo.