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12,127 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1267 of them this year alone and, so far, 109 this month (Nov. 25).

Saturday November 28

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Millstone

Brian Bennett (banjo & vocals), Fred Rowe (trumpet & vocals), Barry Soulsby (clarinet & vocals), Lawrence McBriarty (trombone), Brian Sibbald (double bass) & Fred Thompsom (drums & vocals)
The Millstone in South Gosforth has a renewed commitment to real ale and with the recent opening of the upstairs function room (latterly occupied by pigeons) it didn't take long for the entrepreneurial Brian Bennett to realise the potential for establishing a regular jazz gig in the area. 
The Vieux Carré Jazzmen's regulars have followed the band and on this occasion it was Christmas party time. A host of tunes - jazz and the popular song of the day -  were despatched in good humour amidst the merriment and pints of this and that. When You Wore a Tulip, By the Beautiful Sea (Fred Rowe vocal) and Duke's Saratoga Swing (feat. Rowe and trombone man Lawrence McBriarty) went down well as did a pint of the Jarrow Brewery's Rivet Catcher. The set list was a real gumbo and Hank Williams' Jambalaya served to prove the point. Some of These Days (strong trumpet from Rowe) and When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam continued the Dixieland feel until MC Bennett surprised (horrified?) his band mates as he handed out a job-lot of Santa hats (origin South Shields' market?). They went along with it, donning the quality merchandise, perhaps fearing that refusing to do so would see them being fired on the spot, season of goodwill or not! The inevitable Jingle Bells (yes, I will mention it Mr.B!) provided the first opportunity for (compulsory?) audience participation. As we sang along some of us went down to the bar for a much needed seasonal/medicinal drink. Rivet Catcher had been seen off (not all of it by me), so it was with great delight that the hard to find draught Bass was on the bar. I ordered a pint. The barmaid said: That's £2.45.please. I said: £2.45! I'll have two! What a bargain. 
Climbing the stairs once more to find Barry Soulsby and Fred Thompson in vocal harmony on I Get the Blues When it Rains restored order to the proceedings only to be followed by the outrageous FanlighFanny. A George Formby 'classic', veteran Fred Rowe positively revelled in vocal devilment. Jelly Roll Morton featured before the night was done and Bennett and Co. sent us on our way with Goin' Home. This was a good night in a good pub, on a bus route into town and close to South Gosforth Metro station. Should you be one for making resolutions then resolve to get along, if not next week, then in the new year. Admission is free, the beers are tip-top and you can't go wrong with the Vieux Carré for a 'canny night out'.

Russell

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