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Eliza Carthy and Saul Rose, The Goose Is Out, DHFC, East Dulwich, July 2nd 2010

July 9, 2010

Hippy Nick and I met up with our old friend the Beloved Entertainer and had a fantastic lunch at Zucca in Bermondsey. You should go – it’s the best ‘modern’ Italian meal you’re likely to get in London without having to pay an arm and a leg for it (for the best value trad Italian, go to the Ristorante Trevi at Highbury Corner, and if you’re lucky you won’t bump into Tony Parsons). We then had to dash to a pub to watch the Brazil v Holland World Cup game in the afternoon, but after the Beloved E almost got into an altercation at one boozer, we had to go to the lovely Horseshoe Inn off Snowsfield to see the rest of the game. Well done, Holland. And well done to the Ringwood Brewery for some delicious beer.

Our arrival at the Dulwich Hamlet Football Club bar at 7ish was timely, as Astral and Mr P were just about to head in. As you can probably tell, this wasn’t going to be the sort of evening where I took notes, so there’ll be no setlist for this review, just a rave – Eliza Carthy is a brilliant entertainer as well as being a fine folk fiddler and singer. And Saul Rose is the perfect accompaniment to Eliza’s up-front playing and talking – more diffident, but dry and amusing.

Back in March, I sang Eliza’s praises, not just as a folk artist but also a (reluctant) defender of the folk tradition against ignorance and stupidity – both from a bunch of little-England fascists, and from stupid faux-liberal Guardianistas. Incidentally, for all the hot air and tribal-political bluster post-election, I still think there has been too little attention paid to the comprehensive trashing of the BNP in that election. For me, that gives more reason to celebrate than whether or not my favoured man did or didn’t get the keys to No. 10. Good on England, I say. And kudos to Folk Against Fascism for being there and continuing to take a stand.

The hot and sticky evening seemed not to slow Eliza and Saul down as they raced through a raucous set of traditional tunes, old songs and Eliza’s own numbers. Her voice is strong and tender, while her fiddle-playing is powerful, swinging and expressive. Saul is a wonderful exponent of the melodeon, getting shades of sounds out of it that you wouldn’t think possible. But they both wear their proficiency lightly, which is how it should be, and their banter is just right for a summer crowd about to ‘break up’ from The Goose Is Out club until the autumn. Many thanks to Sue and Nyge for putting on some cracking shows.

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