This third part of my Charnwood Minstrel blog focuses on those acts who don’t take themselves terribly seriously.
When I first came across Phil Doleman and Ian Emmerson they were performing as a ukulele duo called The Re-entrants. They would perform pop and rock classics with all the intricate arrangements of the original songs included, but on two tiny soprano ukuleles, and they sounded wonderful. Since that time Phil and Ian have dropped the Re-entrants act and moved on to music that is perhaps much more dear to their hearts, that being early jazz and blues. Phil plays ukulele, banjo and banjolele with Ian accompanying on guitar. Their gigs are joyous affairs and they have recently recorded a new CD together called Can’t Get Enough Of That Stuff.
You can see a video of Ian and Phil performing a track from that CD below.
When I first started playing there was a duo on the local music scene called R.A.F. (Roger and Frank). They started being accompanied by a wonderful harmonica player called Nigel Lawson. Nigel also started playing gigs with me and we played across the East Midlands as a duo. When Roger lost interest in performing Nigel and Frank started playing as a duo with Nigel doing most of the singing and Frank singing a few songs as well. They also recorded a CD called Straight From The Harp. Lawson/Johnson Ltd soon took on a percussionist, Brian Rodwell, and bass player, Andy Chorlton and became The Dangerous Dogs. They played blues songs, their own original songs, mostly written by Nigel and Frank, and also more quirky stuff like songs from The Jungle Book and the theme to Dad’s Army. They recorded a CD called Bark to the Future and later accordion player Fiona joined the Dogs’ line-up.
Sadly, Nigel passed away in February 2015 and left a huge void in the local music scene. His love and enthusiasm is terribly missed. He never thought much of himself as a singer but when I hear other arists playing songs that The Dogs have played I always think “Nigel did it better”.
The Dogs still perform now and again with Frank, Fiona, Brian and Andy. The video below features Frank singing Monkey Business.
When I first set out to perform in the turbulent maelstrom of the East Midlands music scene, the first musician I came across with Eric The Turtle. Eric is an exceptionally talented songwriter, specialising in quirky, humorous songs, but also venturing into more heartfelt and serious songs, like his tune ‘Man Made Of Smoke’. Eric is also the frontman of his band Dead Man’s Handle who recently performed Eric’s epic show To The Edge Of The World, which is a Viking Saga telling the tale of Silas, a bold adventurer seeking a new home for his people. I’ve seen Eric play electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, ukulele and bhodran. He’s a terrific songwriter and To The Edge Of The World is an excellent piece of work. There is a link to the title track below.