Review: Sally Barker at Chesterfield Library lecture theatre

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Yet another standing ovation from a packed Library Theatre marked the end of a memorable night at Chesterfield Folk Club.

Sally Barker, runner-up in the BBC’s The Voice, produced two immaculate sets of self-penned and cover material.

Accompanied by her talented guitarist Ian Crabtree and keyboard player Glenn Hughes, the audience were treated to a night of true quality.

The range of songs and the range of Sally’s voice left no doubt as to why she has had such a distinguished career in both the folk and the wider world of blues and soul. No wonder she has more than once been a cornerstone of The Poozies and also opened for Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and her Voice mentor, Sir Tom Jones.

It would be a mistake to pigeon-hole her. One minute we were being treated to politically and environmentally-sensitive songs, the next The Ballad Of Mary Rose, close to a traditional folk song and then blown away with the classic Walk On By. She produced some fun too with Sugar Daddy, the song she sang in Covent Garden when busking with Tom Jones.

Everyone will have had a different favourite of the night but her penultimate number, Sleepy Eyes, had great beauty and majesty.

Well-loved local musicians Paul Chisnell, Ady Hall and Rob Jourdain opened the evening with a pastoral suite of songs. They sounded both contemporary and yet channelled elements of Pentangle and other late Sixties and early Seventies sounds. The blend of gentle guitar and bouzouki and wonderfully melodic violin and viola provided the perfect setting for Paul’s beautifully warm vocals and his own rhythmic drumming.

Swallows, penned by Ady, had some gorgeous harmonies and U2’s Still Don’t Know What I’m Looking For involved the enthralled audience. The trio go by the name of Ar Fauoed (a Breton link) and, like Sally Barker, are bound to give you an outstanding evening.

Next month, on March 6, the club has the world-renowned singer and guitarist Martin Simpson, a native of Sheffield. Another standing ovation guaranteed.

DAVID BATESON