A wild and windy night didn’t deter a good crowd at Chesterfield Folk Club for a highly enjoyable double header.
Stanley Accrington and Flossie Malavialle shared the bill despite a French air traffic control strike that nearly prevented Flossie’s appearance. Topically the high speed French train service and the rather slower and more expensive English one saved the day. Flossie gave a charming and funny account of her travels in her unique French and Darlington inflected English.
Her first song was Keith Donnelly’s “Dark Horses Dancing” which suited her expressive and rich voice delightfully and set the tone for the remainder of the set.
The traditional “Teddy O’Neill” followed and, marking the 50th anniversary of Edith Piaf’s death, “La Vie En Rose”.
The considered emotion of “I know You By Heart” from her new album ‘X’ preceded the lively Spanish “Porque Te Vas”.
Stanley’s sang a charming, eccentric and hilarious set of songs interspersed with a couple of serious ones. “Census” combined absurd contrasts with a poignant counterpoint of social observation. The satirical edge continued with the timely “Last Post” with sharp rhymes and telling puns. “Job Application” turned out to be a hysterically funny song about applying to be pope and then the audience was reduced to tears by a spoof of “Beowulf” recited with resplendent Viking helmet and sword.
Fast forwarding a thousand years Stanley moved through “Particles” with a reference to Professor Higgs. The serious “The Day Kennedy Died” led into “Greek Hotel” explaining the bail-out system and “Devil In Chesterfield” about the spire.
“Alice Nutter” was an unexpectedly sensitive song about the Pendleton witch before “Horses For Courses” sending up the horsemeat scandal. “Si Tu Dois” in French and “7 TV Nights”, Stanley’s version of the old Irish song finished a brilliant performance.
Flossie returned, moving from Jacques Brel to the bittersweet “Go Leave” of the late Kate McGarrigle and “Killing Me Softly”. A humorous interlude with a French tongue-twister led into Pete Abbot’s “Almost A Year”, probably the finest performance of the evening, before closing with “What A Wonderful World”.
An unlikely duet of “The Boxer” as never heard before with Stanley singing in French completed this most enjoyable and varied evening.
Dick Gaughan is the headliner for November 8 at Club Chesterfield.
* Photos by Steve Swallow