Updated: 13 Jan 2008
(*) with Steve Whalley
Don't Leave Me Here
Keep Away From Me
I Love Roxy
Lying in a Stranger's Bed
One Time (aka Oh What a Show, or maybe Simply Unforgettable)
Every Single Time
The Boys Would Like You To Know (*)
Jimmie and Johnnie (*)
George's Bar (*)
Only Seventeen (*)
Life Can Be Hard (*)
I Like, I Like, I Like
Templar/Weird Wooden Heart/Man Overboard
Jenny Takes a First Look at Life
THE TURK'S HEAD, TWICKENHAM, 28 DEC 2007
This year's "annual farewell" Cry No More Christmas offering was certainly a cracker; the jokes may just occasionally have elicited groans but gifts were in abundance as Roy and Chas played their way through an enormous feast of tasty songs. Roy was in great voice and his guitar playing was beautifully augmented by Chas's varied instrumental repertoire and backing vocals.
I don't do set-lists I'm afraid but I do know a vast number of Hill/Cronk songs were played and after the final bow everyone in the packed hall at the Turk's Head appeared to gasp in collective astonishment at how quickly the evening had passed, with the gig eventually winding up in the early hours. A large contingent of those present was, as usual, incapable of remaining seated for the duration; they may not quite have had tables on their heads nor chairs between their teeth as per "George's Bar" (really enjoyed Friday's laid-back version actually) but many of these songs are just too good to sit still to. However, a careful listen to Cry No More lyrics often reveals that these are far more than mere good time songs; catchy and fun on the surface they may be but messages conveyed are often deep and dark, a contrast cleverly continued in the funny man/straight man set up which Roy and Chas form onstage. As those who have seen Cry No More, or have listened to their live recordings will testify, Roy's humorous banter and meandering diversions (often to "affectionate" heckling) add yet a further dimension to the experience and Friday was no exception.
The crowd was in festive mood and ready to enjoy as usual, and I always get the feeling that many of those present at these "final farewells" realise how incredibly fortunate they are to be able to witness a band of this calibre at their local pub. Having been fortunate enough to have seen Roy (plus talented band) several times as support act on Strawbs' "Deadlines" tour of 1978 I had been extremely impressed and sought out Roy's solo album - as I had expected, I found it brimming with delights. Roy is a terrific lyricist, hugely observational in style, very witty, and often covers fascinating topics far removed from more mainstream popular songs.
Somewhat incredibly, I heard no more about Roy until 1986 - switching on the radio purely by chance I caught the highly ambitious single "Dancing in the Danger Zone" being played, thought something sounded familiar and eventually Roy, Chas and Cry No More were mentioned. Cutting a longish story short I visited EMI to find information about the band and ended up being sent two very nice photos by their publicist but no further details, and therefore remained in ignorance of any live gigs. Another few years passed before I bumped into Chas in the Turk's Head one evening as Strawbs (c. 1990 line-up) were due to play and he had gone along; during conversation he pointed to a poster on the wall advertising the forthcoming Cry No More Christmas gig (nothing changes!) and there was no turning back. That was to be my first Cry No More live encounter and I loved it, as did the very raucous, packed audience (as I said, nothing changes!). Love and Power had recently been released on CD; I purchased a copy at the gig (my first CD) and subsequently had to save up for a CD player so I could listen to it. It was clear that the song writing partnership between Roy and Chas was highly successful and the album accompanied me on my prehistoric Sony Walkman to and from work for a very long time. I believe I got my money's worth as it is still regularly in my car CD player!
The news that Cry No More's back-catalogue is to be re-released during 2008 is definitely a cause for celebration, as is the promise of a DVD. Those present at Strawbs' Chiswick House 30th Reunion were treated to two songs from the band – "Sleep" and "Landslide", which gave the uninitiated an inkling of the quality of songs the band have produced, but opportunities to see them live have unfortunately been too few and far between. Hopefully the mooted extra concerts in the spring will materialise and Cry No More will at last receive much deserved recognition way beyond the little area of West London which has for too long kept the band almost exclusively to itself.
Grateful thanks for a fantastic evening are due therefore to Chas and Roy for a blindingly good gig (apparently the sound onstage was not great, which certainly was not the case out front), and also to Steve Whalley who joined them for several songs in the second half. Chas and Steve did an admirable job trying to figure out what was coming next when Roy decided to introduce brand new songs, previously unheard by either of them, into the second set - it could only happen at a Cry No More gig!
My personal thanks also to Dick and Tee for the use of half of the spare boudoir at Greener Towers once again, and Ali and Nigel for some awesome chauffeuring in their Ford Hawaii 505's (or maybe it was Peugeot - I don't do cars either). Until the next final farewell…
Photo by Alison Brown - more pix from Ali.
A REALLY FUN WAY TO END 2007 - Review by Pete Bradley
A really fun way to end 2007: the Annual Cry No More Farewell Concert. There are elements of pantomime in a Cry No More performance, (albeit with parental advisory warnings), with the audience encouraged to heckle and bleat, so Xmas seems a very appropriate time for such an event.
The place seemed really quiet at first, but there was a constant stream of people arriving and by the time the band started the place was heaving.
Roy and Chas were really on form. Roy very proudly announced that all six Cry No More records are to be re-released on CD next year, with proper professional inner-sleeves, not just photocopied pieces of papers. Not only that, they are releasing a DVD early next year, hopefully around March. Not only that, Roy is hoping that they may even do a small tour in March or April to promote the DVD. (Mind you, he said that last year).
If you want a copy of the handcrafted, photocopied CDs, best to order them quick. Otherwise, you're going to have to put up with real professional looking CDs, which won't be half as much fun.
Their first set lasted around an hour. I didn't notice how long the second set lasted, but it was gone half past one by the time we got home, and we live less than a quarter an hour away.
Half way through the first set Roy realised that he had forgotten to bring out the set list with him, so Chas had no idea what was coming next. For the second set, he remembered it, but as ever, he deviated from it. More of that later.
They played a huge number of songs, interspersed as ever with Roy's manic monologues about sheep, swearing or murder. It made me realise just how vast a catalogue they have to choose from. There were many of their classics that didn't get played, such as "Tears on The Ballroom Floor", "Big Car". "Radio Nowhere", but very many others that were.
During the second set, Steve Whalley joined them on stage. He played Chas's 12 string Dean acoustic, with the belief that he would be playing on three tracks. Roy decided that he had played so well with only one and a half minutes of rehearsal that it would be interesting to see how well he played on a song that he had never heard before. In fact, we were treated to not just one, but two completely new, unplanned and unrehearsed tracks that not only Steve had never heard before, they were also completely new to Chas as well. Fantastic to watch Steve and Chas stand there waiting to see how the songs would unfold, and then joining in. Both new ones were beautiful ballads., and featured some pretty amazing bass seeing it was totally improvised. Roy also promised that they would be playing some brand new songs if they tour in March. (He also claimed that he won't be swearing either, so not a lot of guarantees there.)
Now for my attempt at a set list. I'm not convinced that I've got all of the titles correct, so please accept my apologies. Roy didn't announce the names of the two new tracks, so they are definitely guesses. Ali nicked the set list for the second half, so with luck she can correct some of my other errors.
The first set opened with "Piccadilly Lights", (originally on Roy's solo album aptly entitled Roy Hill), and soon to be released again on a new Roy Hill album called "Hello Sailor". This was followed with Dick's favourite CNM track, "On Holliday". The next track, "Marion Jones" came from the album "Cry No More", "Forgotten Now" from the album "Brown Paper Bag" was followed by "Don't Leave Me Here", which as far as I know has only ever previously been released on the cassette Live at the Mulberry Tree. The next track, "Falling" is going to be available on yet another Roy Hill solo album, "Fun With Dave", which is also planned for release in 2008. "Keep Away From Me" will be released on Hello Sailor, my favourite CNM song "I Love Roxy" was up next, followed by "Sleep" from Love And Power. I think the next track is called "Lying in a Stranger's Bed", but I'm open to correction on that one. The first set ended with "Without Eddie", and was dedicated to Marion and Eddie, who were there in the audience.
The second set opened with "Fashion", (from Live at the Mulberry Tree), and was followed by a track whose title I don't know, but I'd hazard a guess that it might be called "One Time", (but could be "Oh What a Show", or maybe "Simply Unforgettable", or maybe something else entirely), "Superheroes", (will be released on "Fun With Dave"), would have been a good track to have played at the Xmas party with the Hero and Heroine theme. This was followed by "Every Single Time" (from the Cry No More album). The next three tracks featured Steve Whalley , "The Boys Would Like You To Know", (from the album Roy Hill, the X-rated "Jimmie and Johnnie", and "George's Bar" (also from Roy Hill). Steve was preparing to leave but was retained for two further brand new tracks; I'm guessing the first of which was named something like "Only Seventeen", and the second "Life Can Be Hard". Roy and Chas then played two tracks from Love And Power, namely "First Kiss", and "Oh Sharon", "Sixties Baby", "I Like, I Like, I Like" and "Templar/Weird Wooden Heart" from Greatest Hits Volume 1, then completed the second set. There was also a quick burst of "Man Overboard" in there too
For a first encore, they played "Landslide" and we closed with a beautiful ballad for a second encore, "Jenny Takes a First Look at Life". Roy showed every indication of being about to accede to a request for a third encore, but was waved off stage by management.
With the release of at least two solo albums, the release of a DVD and the re-release of six albums, it looks as if 2008 is going to be the year of Cry No More.