Jimmy Rae's Songwriter Showcase

Everyman Bistro
17th November 2006

Reviewed by Amanda DeAngeles

Anyone present at this night will tell you the stars were aligned for a special evening of acoustic melodic playing around.

Songwriter Showcase was a debut for organizer and host Jimmy Rae, who pulled together some class acts for an evening of song. Upstairs the theatre was busy with Mr. McGough and his other poetical friends so the sound below had to be minimal (not for long).

The room was busting with bodies basking in a glow of peachy-warmth and a scent of fresh flowers, flickering tea-lights and fine wine (or lager).

Jimmy Rae is a-little-bit-country with mellow acoustic blending. He has a soothing voice which can rise to rock if he wants. I like his style. He's a story-teller between and during tracks and his most memorable song was one about 'Eddy's' (Cochrane's) guitar.

Jimmy dares to stray away from lyrics with a pleasing "whoo-oo" waving softly from his larynx. He also gave us a "yeehaw" showdown and a lullaby.

A personal trip from a younger version of himself, from the Wirral, revelled in the joys one might find in unemployment and made us smile.

Jimmy was welcoming and courteous to all his guests and he did a great job, he needn’t over-explain his songs as they sold themselves.

Helen Panayiotou has a wispy, straight vocal as sensual as a breath before a good kiss. Personally, I would only listen to this sleepy-sound if I needed to wind down. Paul on guitar added beautiful spirals to this performance of pretty melodies. My favourite track was Landslide. I believe in the art of closing a song before it wears itself out.

Nick Ellison has confident poise; I promise you he's good. He stretches his vocal range to alto, but knows his limits. He is a great song-writer and guitar-vocalist. My favourite track was Leaving (yeah, you had to be there). Wonderful.

I've mentioned Alun Parry in previous reviews; this man cannot be missed if you follow the scene. My favourites of his set were Woody's Song and Corridors of Stone (his newly-released, album title track). Most of his songs have an infectious, political edge. Alun performs with courage of his conviction and feels Liverpool moments some might have missed.

Christene Le Doux, on tour, is a graceful woman with a rambling soul, and a honeyed voice. I bought her CD (an absolute treat for just £10). Dear Pattie is my favourite, because of its poignant truth. Each track is a winner. Christene had the room embraced around her. This lady has gone far and will go even further. I wrote pages about her, but the secret is to listen yourself.

Rob Clarke was in finest form. He sang his own and shared our company with a hero of his: Robert Dylan, for the only cover of the night. He dutifully battled to hear his voice for 'I'll Be Your Baby Tonight’. He got a fantastic response from the crowd. He's a masculine, gentleman with a wonderful voice. Go and see him play and buy his CD. I can't choose a favourite; it depends on my mood I suppose. Rob has something for everyone.

Next, an impromptu set from a future soul singer (another young lady to hail from LIPA). This girl is beautiful, has an outstanding voice and is a diva of the highest standard! I'm talking glittering gowns and the very best concert stages in the world. I envisage stardom for young Katie Miller.

What a fantastic night! Thank you, all.


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