All The Pretty Horses…

Back Among The Folks
October 30, 2006, 2:40 pm
Filed under: Dancing, Listening

A great day ambling around north London (part of an ongoing campaign to do ‘different’ stuff and not spend every weekend wankered or recovering from being wankered) saw PieFace and I end up at Come Down & Meet The Folks in the early evening.

I used to go to this fairly regularly when it was in its two Camden locations but have failed to make it to the new pub – The Apple Tree in Clerkenwell(ish) – probably for the ‘wankered’ reasons above. I was expecting a new, spacious location but instead the pub – which is a grand old place on Mount Pleasant – was absolutely rammed, with people squeezed onto stairways and even forced to stand in the pub’s glass-panelled porch and peer through. Apparently, it’s not usually this crazy but it was all about Redlands Palomino Co, of whom more later.

First shock of the evening was seeing Alan Tyler reborn as a heavily-bearded mountain man. Alan’s someone I know to say hello to / chat with and he’s pretty much a hero of mine, because he fronted the Rockingbirds. Of whom, I suspect much more later, in another post.

Anyway, these days he fronts The Lost Sons of Littlefield and runs Come Down & Meet The Folks (Steve Tree used to run it with him but has fled to California or something, which is a shame – Steve is I believe widely regarded as the nicest man ever, and possibly the 5th tallest) and is incredibly hairy (the above pic must be quite old!).

I guess the main thing about CD&MTF is the music – all broadly in a country / country rock / bluegrass vein, although everything from The Stones to folk to a bit of rocksteady even has been known to appear on the decks (this week manned by John The Boatman, who has a fascinating face and bears a passing resemblance to a dignified, melancholy Harry H Corbett). You usually get two main acts and a short acoustic try-out spot, and sometimes Alan plays a song or two as well. All of which is free, save for the pintglass passed round at the close for donations (and is always brimming by the end).

But there’s also a fantastic environment to the club – it runs from about 5-8.30pm on a Sunday which works really well, and the atmosphere is incredibly friendly and welcoming and involving. I’d not been for more than a year but still saw a few regulars who remembered me, which is good for a South London boy in a North London boozer.. It’s all a bit shambolic – bands squeezed between tables, potplants getting caught in strings, fairly solid drunkenness.

The first guy yesterday, who’s name I don’t recall, was pretty good – looked like Gram, sounded like Rod singing one of Gram’s songs, you get the picture. Next up were the Southern Tenants Folk Union, who were great.

Looking like a Camden take on The Band – slightly ragged church-going suits and impressive sideburns – they’re very much in the southern gospel / bluegrass / gothic americana vein and damned good at it, especially since they’re a fairly new outfit (although they’ve got members from The Arlenes, The Coal Porters, Foghorn Leghorn and a bunch of others). All a bit haphazard but great songs and very ‘authentic’, although in this kind of context maybe that’s an insult (“presumably atheist North Londoners sing Appalachian songs about Jesus. Discuss”).

Redlands Palomino Company headlined and were really enjoyable, even though initial impressions were that they’re a bit pedestrian / MOR

I guess it IS a bit MOR – very pleasant and very crafted country rock with lots of harmonies and passion. But something about their enthusiasm, their drinking, the atmosphere and lots of pedal steel (“knitting machine”) won us over (which is a good job since I think the crowd were so partisan, any dissent could have seen us driven out of North London with flaming pitchforks). Nothing too astonishing, then, but pretty decent.. Oh, and a guest spot from a former Sugababes member (Siobhan, the first one to fall victim to the Mutya Machine) helped, too..
So, yes, totally recommended – I can’t think of another club that operates in quite the same way (perhaps What’s Cookin’ in Leytonstone, which by its own admission nicked the CD&MTF template to very good effect) and quite so successfully.


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

who’s the bloke at the front with the sad face and no beard as i pass him every day on the way to the train.

Comment by marcus

that’s the bassist from ALan’s band. can’t remember his name, he’s soundguy for Come Down & Meet The Folks

Comment by dubversion

very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

Comment by Idetrorce

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