Event review: Clive Gregson at the Croydon Folk Club, Monday 25th May


By - Tuesday 9th June, 2015

Anne Giles enjoys an evening mixing new tunes with nostalgia at Ruskin House


Photo author’s own.

I have known Clive for many years. Originally from Manchester, he is an accomplished singer-songwriter, musician and record producer who started his professional music career in 1980 as the leader of cult band Any Trouble. Between 1985 and 1992 he formed a partnership with Christine Collister, who came to public attention in 1986 as the singer of the theme song for the BBC’s television adaptation of Fay Weldon’s book The Life and Loves of a She-Devil.

Clive has also played and recorded with Richard Thompson OBE, who is one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters, with Nanci Griffith, a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and others. His songs have been recorded by many artists, including Fairport Convention,regarded as the most important group in the English folk rock movement. Clive now lives in the USA and performs solo.

Songs about commuting… we’ve all been there!

As well as the national acclaim he has received, Clive is also very popular at the Croydon Folk Club and was greeded by a fairly large and very enthusiastic audience, many of whom knew his songs. He certainly has a good following here.

During the first set, he sang mainly new songs he had written – I particularly liked ‘Brand New Me’ and a song about commuting on a train (a journey on Southern Rail from East Croydon to central London comes to mind here – we’ve all been there!). Another was ‘Tie Me Down’, a wry observation on modern life, and another, ‘Me and You’ – a rather sad song. Then came ‘The Place’, an existential reflection, and others.

All in all, a truly entertaining evening, with Clive looking back over his career and singing so many of his hits which we could sing along to. After the break came some of the most memorable: ‘I love this town’ – Nanci Griffith has recorded this one and it became a radio hit in both America and the UK. Then ‘It’s All Just Talk’, which has been recorded by X-Factor winner Matt Cardle. He wrote ‘Northern Soul’ about when he lived up north – a sort of protest song about the closure of the Wigan casino, where they played a genre of music of that name.

One of my personal favourites of the evening was ‘Fred Astaire’ – a song about a man obsessed by Fred. This has also been sung by folk singer Norma Waterson. Then came ‘Not Over Yet’ – a song about a relationship. This one has been sung by American country music singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter. ‘Fingerless Gloves’ is a song about a busker. I loved ‘When My Ship Comes In’ – particularly its line, ‘I’m going to walk away from it all/When my ship comes in’. How true. I did just that when I arrived in the UK on a passenger liner in 1966.

We couldn’t walk away without purchasing his latest CD!

Anne Giles

Anne Giles

I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the daughter of an Anglo-Argentine mother and English father. I went to an English school and worked for a British company out there before coming to live in the U.K. I spent many years teaching Spanish in adult education in various centres in Croydon Borough and have got to know so many different areas – North and South. We have been living in Selsdon since 1989 and I love it. I feel passionately about Croydon and have spent many years writing blogs – firstly for the Croydon Advertiser, then the Croydon Guardian, and eventually my own blog entitled “The Good Life in Croydon”. I am very much involved in the community, attending regular meetings with the Croydon Community Police Consultative Group and am also a member of the British Transport Police PACT (Police & Community Together) Team.

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  • Anne Giles

    Great, though fifth paragraph “After the break came of the most memorable” should read “After the break came some of the most memorable”.

  • Anne Giles

    I shall send this on to Clive.