Roland Chadwick – Goin’ Up The Country – Review

“To describe this wonderful Aussie guitarist as an enigma still possibly wouldn’t do him justice.”

Wrexham, North Wales, Blues Gig in Worthenbury.

Roland Chadwick  – Goin’ Up The Country –  March 28th 2008

To describe this wonderful Aussie guitarist as an enigma still possibly wouldn’t do him justice.

When you have played classically with the Liverpool Philharmonic  and Boston Symphony Orchestras and played and recorded with The English Chamber Orchestra, Lesley Garrett, Michel Legrand and Sir George Martin and conversely performed and recorded with Steve Vai, Level 42 and John Renbourn you’ve got to be pretty talented.

Add to this a brilliant sense of humour and an endless supply of jokes anecdotes and stories and you have the recipe for an unforgettable evening.

Roland opened up to a packed Worthenbury Village Hall with a couple of warm up numbers, Heartbreak Hotel and an untitled instrumental before moving into Robert Johnson’s Walking Blues with superb slidework.

He then told everyone that it was a little known fact that Johnson had actually completed a short tour of the UK in the 30s before he died. In fact he’d written one of his most famous songs whilst staying around the Oxfordshire, Wiltshire area. He then launched into “I went down to the Cotswolds, fell down on my knees …” how gullible we all were – we fell for it completely!!!
There then followed a beautiful instrumental composition Serendipity before the Steel guitar was employed for the first time with Kansas City which then moved straight into Muddy Waters’ I Can’t Be Satisfied.
After some more classical instrumentals the first set ended with a magnificent version of Jumping Jack Flash.

The Spanish guitar was introduced for the start of the second set and after one instrumental dedicated to all lone hysterics the beautiful La Cienaga, another instrumental was played.

A dip into pop classics was made with a phenomenal version of Classical Gas followed by a song entitled Danu or Bedroom Rodeo, thus titled after the inadvertent whispering of another girl’s name whilst making love to his then girlfriend!! See how long you can stay on!!

The mandolin was then introduced for three numbers including the fiery instrumental Salam Dervish and a brilliant version of David Crosby’s What are their names.
After a couple more classical instrumentals the second set finished with a superb Big Joe Williams’ Baby Please Don’t Go.

We had thus been treated to an hour first set and a forty minute second set before Roland announced that unless anyone had to leave, he would do another forty minutes after a cup of tea and a smoke!

Unfortunately someone spilt a pint of Guiness over my notes at the end so all I can remember of this marvellous set were the two encores. After the first, Bron yr Aur Stomp from Zeppelin III, he brought the house down with a tale that all music is comprised of three bars based on Country and Western music and proceded to play The Sound Of Music, Silent Night and a couple of other tunes in a complete spoof of C and W music. It was hysterical.

I strongly advise that if Roland is playing up in the area again you grab the chance to hear a wonderful musician and entertainer – he’ll certainly be coming back to Worthenbury.