I imagine that few readers will be unfamiliar with Stanley Accrington. They may not be as familiar with the support act that preceded him on this evening. They were The Matilda Trio who consist of three women singing close three-part harmony. Not only are they excellent singers but their approach to their craft is original too. They opened with Karine Polwart’s Come Away. They included one or two original songs including These Hills are Our Hills about access to the moorland and mountains.

Ian Robb’s Homeless Wassail provided a challenging link from traditional seasonal themes to the Christmas spirit and indifference to it. They ended their excellent set with the traditional Wexford Carol. If you’ve not seen the Matilda Trio, seek them out - they are a real light in a sometimes dark world.

The incomparable Stanley Accrington began his first set claim- ing that he had been preparing for weeks. I could compound this lie by agreeing, save that the audience all knew that Stanley had stepped in at very short notice when the band we had booked cancelled due to the dreaded Covid 19. In his usual fashion, he adapted material to make several gags, and even some new verses about this situation.

STANLEY ACCRINGTON - Folk At The BarlowStanley is known for his humour, and this is what audiences take from his concerts. In truth, he is far more than that. He is poet, historian and commentator on current affairs. He opened with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s Little Sir Echo. This brought happy memories of this zany band of the ‘60s, and Stanley followed up with a blues number in memory of Pete Ryder, who passed away recently.

Stanley continued with an original and, in his words, angry version on Black Leg Miners.

Then we returned to the zany, if very witty humour that Stanley Accrington is most famous for. Ozymandias lived before 1000BC and then immortalised in Shelley’s poem. Stanley, however, thinks it’s Vladimir Putin in disguise.

Telling the story of being banned from Scotland, (for what, we were not told), he launched into Great Wales, a song that attempts to include as many Welsh place names as possible, in this case 48.

Back to the serious and thoughtful Stanley we were told the story of his song Holy Ground, and its origins in his reflections whilst waiting for the tram home after a Paul Simon concert in 2017. The tram station at Victoria is built on the site of a burial ground. A powerful song but one that includes as many Paul Simon song titles as well.

Stanley’s second half began with a reflection on his first visit to our Club before our relocation to The Barlow. Then he was performing as part of a band when the gig was abandoned at half time due to the deteriorating weather (snow) outside. I remember it well as we didn’t get home and had to sleep on a sofa.

So the concert continued with a mix of humour and a unique outlook on history. This is Stanley Accrington. He’s a poet, a musician and a commentator on life and its injustices, but always with a respectful touch of humour. He’s always, above all, an entertainer.

Get In Touch Visit his website