Rab Noakes is touring on his own. He’s a survivor, a travelling troubadour and he’s also celebrating his recent recovery from tonsillar cancer. Appearing at the Greystones, he recalled playing there when it was the Highcliffe, a pub venue on the folk circuit of the past. He’s got a lot of heritage, a lot of history. This tour, scheduled in stages, is named the 70/50 tour. He turns seventy in May this year, and it will be fifty years since his first paid gig. That’s some achievement. He jokes about his lack of Greatest Hits. He calls them "landmark songs", and he’s still writing them. His latest CD is called 'The Treatment Tapes', songs written in response to the diagnosis and treatment of tonsillar cancer in 2015. He also jokes about his response to the diagnosis – realising that there would be a couple of songs in it. Positive and creative thinking. He’s a "landmark" artist for a lot of the audience too and stories were shared at the merchandise table at the interval.

Rab Noakes is a performer who invites the audience in. Each song is introduced with a story, some funny, some poignant, all fascinating. His voice is rougher now, after radiotherapy, and he did reveal at the end of the gig that he had been suffering from a head cold. This didn’t detract from his distinctive sound and a gruffness in the voice adds something to his bluesy songs.

He shares his influences and inspirations with the audience too, from 1920's field music, to rock and roll, from the Beatles to Dylan, from the Georgia Crackers to Ricky Nelson, from skiffle to pop.

He calls this pop music’s archaeology, reminding us of the days when you had to seek out the connections, when our musical discoveries were made by luck and chance.
He kicked off with aptly titled 'Let the Show Begin', followed with 'By the Day (One More Shave’n’ Haircut)' from 'The Treatment Tapes'. The story of his connection with Lindisfarne, and the kick start that gave his songwriting career followed, introducing 'Together Forever' from their 'Fog on the Tyne' LP. His admiration and friendship with the late Alex Campbell was recalled with 'Gently Does It'. 'Water is My Friend' was next, part of the legacy of his radiotherapy treatment. Tales of Ringo and his recording studio at John and Yoko’s former home introduced 'Lonely Boy Tonight'. 'Roll On Saturday' celebrated the days of the weekly pay packet and living for a big night out. 'I’m Walking Here' from the double CD of the same name was followed by 'That Won’t Stop Me' from 'The Treatment Tapes'. Swapping between guitars, he introduced us to his newish Gibson guitar, a reproduction L1 Blues Tribute, as played by Robert Johnson on 'Where Dead Voices Gather'. 'The Voice Over My Shoulder' was a tribute to his friend Robin McKidd who died last year. 'Jackson Greyhound' was next, a road song, taking in the music and the civil rights legacy of the Southern States. 'Eden’s Flow' was described as biographical. Next up was 'The Handwash Feein Market', a recent song inspired by the dubious hiring practices of the car wash gang masters in his home town of Glasgow, a contemporary work and protest song. 'I Always Will' followed, a love song for his wife Stephy. The two of them had collaborated to write the next song, ‘Oh Me, Oh My (Fly Away, Oh Fly Away)'. 'Out of Your Sight' was the encore.

This was an intimate performance. By the end of the night Rab felt like an old friend, and his stories and songs will live in our memories. His repertoire and experience, his influences and musical knowledge allow him to go from a major Celtic Connections concert with an with an eight piece band last month to a solo folk club appearance with ease and equal success.










Related Links:

http://rabnoakes.com/
https://en-gb.facebook.com/Rab-Noakes-Music-189260891282881/
https://twitter.com/rabnoakes


Commenting On: Greystones, Sheffield, 15/3/2017 - Rab Noakes








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