23 May 2005

Bang bang, the mighty fall...

B. A. Robertson is a man with a pedigree. If you haven't heard of him, chances are you own something that he has a hand in, either as a producer, songwriter or session musician. He's worked with everybody. Stateside music fans will know him best as songwriter and occasional member for Mike and the Mechanics: he wrote Silent Running and The Living Years. Over here, he's remembered chiefly as the guy who had a string of novelty hits in the late 70s-early 80s: silly but witty and enjoyable tunes like Kool In The Kaftan, Bang Bang and Knocked It Off. In his time, Robertson was also responsible for the more credible end of the (ahem!) Cliff Richard repertoire. I'd forgotten that he also wrote the old Scotland World Cup Squad anthem, We Have A Dream...

So, last night in the Róisín Dubh we crusty old music geeks were probably expecting some colossus-bestriding-the-industry type figure, instead of the lanky, down-to-earth Glaswegian who slid surreptitiously behind an enormous Kurzweil piano (I want one!) and started quietly playing some of his tunes. He's still plugging away out of the limelight and apparently does a lot of songwriting workshops for different communities here and there. Plus, he's after bringing out a new album called I Didn't Mean To, I Just Did.

It turned out to be an enjoyable night; with Robertson doing some fine readings of tunes that have been big hits for other people, as well as showcasing a few of his new, less well-known tunes. They're pretty fine, especially the one about Martin Luther King. There was an obligatory run-through of some of those old novelty hits, though Robertson didn't remember many of the lyrics. It fell to the audience of crusty old tossers with way too much spare time to help him with the lyrical gaps.

All in all, Robertson came across as a decent sort who genuinely enjoys playing and writing music, and was happy to meet and chat with people afterwards. Not a bad way to spend a wet Sunday night atall atall.

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