Ryley Walker & Danny Thompson, The Arc, Stockton

It’s been one of those days before I finally set off to Stockton but even then there were roadworks that meant travelling several miles just to turn round and come back again. Luckily when I get there! fid a space to park right outside and managed to buy a pint and sit down just as the lights went down for support act Meg Baird.

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Now it could have been all the hassle getting there or the fact that I was right at the back but she just didn’t do it for me. I felt that I should like her but there was just something missing or not quite right.  My friend put it like this…

She can play geetars and has a lovely tone to hers and she has a great voice but all her songs were slower than an undertakers hand job, lyrics all merged into one blur of maunginess and she looked like she was due for the scaffold tomorrow.

After the interval I found a seat right at the front which meant I had a great view of Danny Thompson and Ryley Walker. Now I hadn’t heard of Ryley until a few weeks ago when I met up with an old school friend and he was raving about him. He’d mentioned about a London collaboration show with veteran bassist Thompson so when I found out that it had turned into a tour I booked a ticket for the nearest show.

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Obviously I am familiar with the work of Danny Thompson although I think the only other time I saw him was years ago at Cropredy but I don’t remember much about his set but it is quite possible that I had the kids with me so may not have seen all of his set.

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Together they were really good – two fantastic musicians who just seemed to gel as if they’d been playing together all their lives. Danny Thompson’s playing seemed as if it’d just fallen off a thousand classic albums and Ryley plays a mean geetar too.

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The between songs banter was funny and i have to say that in 40 years of gig going I have never heard anyone say ‘I tried Yorkshire pudding for the first time yesterday” before! The answer to a question from someone in the audience about how they met involved Danny making up a spurious advert “Bassist wanted”

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After it finished i dashed to the loo and as I came out I realised I was standing next to Ryley so I got him to autograph my ticket.

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I contemplated buying the record but as it was £20 and I knew I could get it gor £13 online I decided to leave it. I headed off and of course fell foul of some roadworks on the way back meaning I ended up heading south on the A1 before picking up the A68 to go home.

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