CHELTENHAM FOLK FESTIVAL FINAL CONCERT: THE NIC JONES TRIO: TOWN HALL
The festival closed after another brilliant weekend with a profoundly
heartfelt standing ovation for Nic Jones. Jones, having recently returned to
performing nearly thirty years after a devastating road accident, holds a very
special place in the heart of the folk world, his work and in particular his 1980
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album Penguin Eggs being cited as a
major influence by many current artists.
Now, at 66 he is tall, thin and slightly stooped but his
voice, though naturally wavering at times, has retained much of the timbre that
earned him so many fans in the 1970s. This was to the fore on the opener Master Kilby, the sparse and very
percussive rhythmical guitar of his pre-accident career being uncannily reproduced
by his son Joseph.
The effervescent Yorkshire lass Belinda O'Hooley completed
the trio adding stark and haunting piano to the post-apocalyptic song Ruins on the Shore and jaunty accordion
on the traditional tale of female deception Barrack
Street. Randy Newman's poignant Texas
Girl's Lament at the Funeral of Her Father and the more traditional Oh Dear Rue the Day were followed by the
Radiohead song Fake Plastic Trees about a failed cosmetic surgeon, with Jones wryly comparing this with the plastics
and metals used to repair his once-shattered body. With 10,000 Miles receiving thunderous applause the trio then encored
firstly with an impish acapella take on Loudon Wainwright's This Summer I Went Swimming. Finally, Jones
had the audience singing long and loudly on the plangent chorus of the whaling
song Little Pot Stove. There weren't too
many dry eyes left in the house as the audience took to their feet to cheer a
very fond farewell to the brave and iconic Jones.