I have talked before in Musical Mondays of Show of Hands, a truly marvellous folk duo (though really a trio now) from Devon. One half (third?) was playing a solo gig at the Rock in Maltby, which is a former Wesleyan Church that now plays host to a musical night every Friday.
It was great to see Phil on stage after spending some time in hospital earlier this year. He writes very few songs, and instead specialises in reinterpreting both English traditional folk songs and more modern American songs. These included Steve Earle’s The Devil’s Right Hand and this cracking version of Bruce Springsteen’s Youngstown:
Beer is a child of the 1960s and lots of the music he played in two fifty minute sets are from that era. I really liked his version of the Hollies’ Bus Stop, for instance, while this short Tom Lehrer ditty was a favourite of mine. This song reminded me that I really need to listen to more of Tom Lehrer’s stuff, since I share his warped sense of humour.
He is best known for his fiddle playing, and the following video shows why:
Phil Beer is a very genial performer and a very talented instrumentalist. One review I read of his said that he could make a decent sound of a cheese roll. I don’t doubt that. He is touring now with Show of Hands for the next couple of months, so if you haven’t seen them live before, make sure you do.