Holy moly, mercy me, mama mia and OMG! What a night. What a celebration. WHAT. A. BELTER. Oh, yes, yes, yes, ladies and gentleman, it was sold out and rolled out, turned out not burned out, meltering, sweltering and purely beltering fun, shenanigans and all round good time action on the pretty, pretty occasion of Letham Nights Number 50! Yes, fifty! Or, as the Romans would have it ‘L’. Yes, L for loving it, loving it loving it.
As special Golden Jubilee guests go, we had a proper rip-snorter of an act, don’t you worry. But more on that in paragraph 3. You’ll just have to wait and see.
First of all were good friend of Letham Nights and all-round good egg, Stephen Wragg and his Rag House Band (get it?). Shredding ukulele and ably backed by family members and antipodean bush-bass buddies, Stephen and his cheeky ensemble gave us a charming, tuneful and, at times, amusing curtain-raiser for our special night. With Rachel Wragg’s beautiful voice (shades of Beth Orton, I hope she won’t mind me saying) leading the vocal line, husband Andy on bass uke (it’s a bass, but 20 inches long – no, honestly!) and Graham from Down Under working various contraptions made from cans (and a theramin), the foursome worked their three-part harmonies and laid back uke shapes into a belting little set. Last song, Needs and Wants, united the whole band on ukes and tickled many a funny bone. Think Manu Chao meets Flight of The Conchords. In a good way.
Did I mention we had a special act for our fiftieth? I did? Oh. Well, I wasn’t joking. Fife legend, singer-songwriter par excellence and all round nice guy, Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote, was kind enough to light up our souls with his unique blend of mournful, soul searching earth sounds. Brilliantly backed by four amazing musicians (Des Lawson on keys, Andy on drums, Gogs McLean on bass and the incomparable Mairearad Green on accordian), Kenny brought his haunting ballads of welsh wind-turbine angst (Melin Wynt) and relationship break-up waltzes (Rules of Engagement) to delight our ears and ignite our better natures. For a while at least. Because then the mood changed. Movement was discerned upon the dance-floor. Participants, at first only in the single figures but swelling, swelling into ever greater numbers; the floor gradually filling with so much heaving flesh. Slow-burning beauty gave way to toe-turning booty (sorry) and the hall uprooted and took flight, carried along on the intoxicating, seedy breath of Bacchus, winging it’s way through the cold Fife sky. And the banter, oh, the banter. There’s only one thing a Letham crowd appreciates more than great music and that’s a bit of chat. And this charming man, as well as being troubadour number one, can also work a room like a comedy giant. Des Lawson and Les Dawson all for the price of one! HONK! Great music, lunatic dancing and #bantz. It doesn’t get much better. Mmmm… nice!
Special mention is given to our own Michael Farrell and his brave, honest and moving poem paying homage to his big bro, Gerry. Nice one, Micky! Another honourable mention to stage invader Richard who travelled all the way from Skye just to hi-jack the festivities and say a few stirring words on the nature of friendship and cultural stewardship. Well done, Richie Boy!
You can find King Creosote here kingcreosote.com
You can find the Rag House Band on Facebook here>>
Click here for another review of the show (and that poem!) in the Edinburgh Evening News >>