Danny Thompson and Friends: 30 Jan 2010

31 Jan 2010
The Herald Scotland
Rob Adams

Danny Thompson and Friends: Connected, Old Fruit Market, Glasgow

In the end, the tribute concert that wasn't intended as a tribute concert paid a mighty tribute.
The main business of the evening may have been to focus on the assembled guests and the work that has reinforced their connections with Danny Thompson – and the classiness of Darrell Scott and Tim O'Brien delivering their Walk Beside Me and O'Brien’s sister Mollie raising the hairs on the back of the neck with her gospel-infused singing of No Ash Will Burn, reinforced the quality of the great bass player's associates.

There was, though, the feeling that performers and audience were in on a surprise party for someone who might turn up at any minute. He never did arrive, yet while Thompson avoided mentioning his late curly haired mate's name until the last song, John Martyn was there all the time. He was in the music, with Scott paying early respects in Over the Hill and noting that, although they'd never met, he'd got a real sense of Martyn through Thompson; and he was in the recollections, sending Thompson off on an unscheduled tale of a fishing mishap.

If the concert's finale, Martyn's May You Never, was a bit of a guddle, but a man who liked catching fish wouldn't have minded that. Luka Bloom's Head and Heart and Martin Simpson's Spencer the Rover captured Martyn perfectly. Eddi Reader added Couldn't Love You More with her customary vocal embroidery but the performance of the night, in Martyn and non-Martyn terms, was Mollie O'Brien's foundation shaking Easy Blues, giving the curly haired mate's jelly roll an invigorating tickle.

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Star rating: ****