Updated 4 Oct 2010
For reviews and details of more recent Roy Hill/Cry No More shows, see Cry No More live page.
Photo by Dick Greener - more photos from Dick
Was a trifle nervous about this gig. I knew how keen Roy was to play some of his new material, and thought that as Twickenham is Cry No More's home turf the place would be infested with CNM fans, demanding that Roy play "I Love Roxy", and all the old favourites. I was worried that Roy might be in for a disappointment.
There was no need to worry. Yes, the Mulberry Tree Choir was there, yes, there were plenty of jocular heckles, yes there were cries for many of the old favourites, and yes, Roy played many of the old favourites, but the crowd were with Roy all the way and were just as hungry to hear new songs as Roy was to play them.
Riotous applause when Roy first hit the stage, to realise that he had to turn the stage lights on from a switch back in the dressing room. Even louder applause as Roy returned, to discover that he had left his guitar back in the dressing room. Much louder applause as Roy returned again, only to find that his set list was still in the dressing room. Yet more applause as Roy returned again. He didn't discover that his capo was still in the dressing room till about the fifth song.
Roy held his set list aloft and announced that he had 44 songs on the list, and the audience could control the set by calling out the number of the song that we wanted him to play. Various numbers were called out, to which Roy berated our choices and lack of judgement. What on earth made us think that song number two was suitable to start the show with?
Roy was amazing, and the audience loved him. The mind blowing thing is, Roy knew the names of just about everyone there. As he said, you wouldn't get that from Oasis. The audience wouldn't let him leave. There was call for encore after encore after encore. The bar staff were getting noisier andÂ noisier dropping subtle hints that Saturday had long passed, and that they wanted to go home. It was about half past twelve when Roy eventually finished.
For one of his encores, Roy asked what we'd like to hear. Dick, wittily called for song number 44 from the list.
I have attempted to record a sort of set list below, but I'm afraid it isn't very accurate. Roy played a vast number of songs, many from the past, many from his new album, Switzerland, which isn't quite released yet, and many other tracks that haven't yet found there way to record. There were several songs and monologues who's title I'm afraid I don't know. [DG - I've added info where I know - or think I know - the song title.]
1) He began with an a capella "My Life In Show Biz".
2) "Iowa", a brand new song from Switzerland. You'll find the lyrics on a blog on Roy's Myspace.
3) "King of the Wilderness". Fairly brand new, but there's a version of it on Youtube.
4) Roy then sang an extract from his West End musical "The Fly". Sadly the musical didn't draw the crowds, so the fame and fortune that was rightfully Roy's didn't materialise.
5) "Roof", again a new song, but one I've caught live a few times now.
6) "One Time", an old CNM favourite.
7) The first of two songs with a boxing theme. Not sure when they were written, and whether they were written for a particular project. Afraid I don't know the title of either, but I'll make a stab in the dark and guess that this one might have a title similar to "Just Another Loser". [DG - had this omne down as "Big Shot"]
8) The first of his monologues. Again, not sure of the title, but it's the story of Joan and Stuart - Joan isn't dead yet. Murder and mayhem with an ever increasing total of bodies. [DG - "Murder at Dufflecoat Manor"]
9) "Down in the Cellar", a track from "Hello Sailor"
10) "Sleep", another CNM favourite. Roy dedicated it to Chas, the song's co-writer.
11) "The Taller of the Two", a song inspired by seeing a couple at a railway station.
12) I'm guessing the next song is called "It's Bath-time in Heaven". Sounds like an old Cry No More filler, but I don't think it's one I've heard before.
13) "Barber Jim", another of Roy's monologues, Roy dedicated it to the few members of the audience that he didn't know.
14) "Sheep". Well you couldn't imagine a Roy Hill concert without that particular monologue.
15) "Billy Whizz" Another Cry No More favourite. [DG - had that one down as "House Of Cards"]
16) He finished the first set with "Watching the Diamond Disappear". Another track from "Hello Sailor". This might well be my favourite Roy Hill song. Great to hear it live.
After a short break, Roy returned to the stage to fetch his guitar so that he could re-tune it, but the applause was so loud he had to start.
17) He began with another CNM favourite, "George's Bar"
[DG - 17A) A short monologue about finding 20p, which was worth just 20p]
18) "Every Single Time", from his album "Fun With Dave".
19) Another monologue, not one I'd heard before, but I'd hazard a guess it was called "Little-Davis-on-sea". It tells of a seaside resort, overrun with people called Betty.
[DG - 19A - "After Tonight" from his 1978 solo album]
20) His second boxing-themed song. Again I'm having to guess at the title, "Whatever Happened to the Great White Hope".
21) "Refugees", another knew song from Switzerland. You'll find the lyrics on his Myspace.
22) "Poor Me". I've heard Roy sing this before, but not with Cry No More. Not sure if it's a new one.
23) Roy then sang another song from his musical The Fly. This was sung by the maid. Maria Tchaicovsky, and I'd hazard a guess it's called "If Life's a Movie" [DG - think it might be "B-Movie"]
24) "Jenny Takes a First Look at Life", released on Cry No More Live at the Mulberry Tree, and also on Roy's solo album "Fun With Dave"
25) Another new song from Switzerland, very dark lyrics, about a grave robber, phoning up a friend to tell him that he's just dug up a body, but this time it isn't anyone he knew. Might be called something like "Ring a Ding Ding" [ DG - the song is "Hello Friend"]
26) Another new song called "Torn". Roy claims he wrote it on the piano, despite not being able to play the piano. I wish I couldn't play the piano as well as that.
27) Second set finished with "On Holiday".
28) It was pointed out that some of the audience had actually had to pay full price for these tickets, so we really needed a few more songs, and long ones at that. Roy obliged by playing "Join Me", also available on "Hello Sailor".
29) "Don't Leave Me Here" followed immediately after Join Me, and I'm pretty sure that that was intended to be the final song of the evening.
30) "Marion Jones", another Cry No More favourite followed.
31) Another song from Switzerland. Roy said he hadn't intended to play it as he hadn't rehearsed it. I'm guessing it's called "I Don't Know Anymore".
32) "Man Overboard" followed, also on "Fun With Dave".
33) This was followed by another song I hadn't heard before. Quite an appropriate song for following Man Overboard. My guess is it's called "Down to the Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea". It contains the fantastic line "Stop me if I'm standing still". [DG - had this down as "Ship Goes Down"]
34)Â "Looking For Something Mr. Templar" is a song that Roy often uses as a finale for Cry No More.
35) This merged directly with "Fashion", another song from Live at The Mulberry Bush.
36) Dick requested "Piccadilly Lights", so Roy treated us to that.
37) There had been a request for a song, I think it was called "Box of Spanners". Roy said he was trying to avoid swearing, so he hadn't intended to play that one. Not sure if the next song he played was that one. It did include one swear word, and I didn't notice any references to spanners, but in general I thought it was a nice soft gentle song.
38) Another new song, I'm guessing was called "Kon-Tiki Girl". Contained the fabulous line "God says Love Thy Neighbour, I say don't be daft".
39) The final song was another I didn't know. I'm guessing it's called "Canada In January". Could become the Canadian National Anthem if they decide not to adopt Dave Cousins' "Canada".
A real triumph.
Roll on the Cry No More Farewell Appearance 2008.
My admiration for Roy's songwriting is well known, but hitherto I've mainly seen him in the feelgood context of a Cry No More show, supported by stalwart bassist and co-harmoniser Chas Cronk, delivering up crowd pleasing CNM numbers (frequently better known by the audience than the players - only joking !). RH solo is an entirely different beast, bleaker and blacker and more naked on his own, not least because he was airing some of his newer solo compositions, which will be on his forthcoming new album Switzerland.
Charmingly inept at the start, ambling onstage without his guitar, then his setlist, then his capo, Roy was always going to win the heart of the partisan audience assembled at the Turks Head, despite the no doubt compelling attractions of Bonfire Night parties. When Roy belts things out on his twelve string Ovation with CNM, he looks strong, tonight many of even the few old CNM favourites played ("F-A-S-H-I-O-N", "Taller Of The Two", "George's Bar", "Every Single Time", "Sleep") took on a new reflective and more vulnerable tone. "Join Me" from Roy's first album and the newly released Hallo Sailor, segued into what many think to be Roy's magnum opus "Don't Leave Me Here". Other tracks from the 1978 Arista album, "After Tonight" and "Piccadilly Lights" (I called out for the latter) had very different arrangements, the latter in particular was stunning - proving that Roy only needs himself and an acoustic guitar to be menacing.
The new material (well new to me anyhow) is very dark and challenging. Highlights for me were "Iowa", "Knapsack", "Hello Friend", "Ship Goes Down (?)", "Too Late For Us (?), but I couldn't in any way fault any song – I'm going to look forward to seeing the lyrics, which were as complex and clever as I'd expect from Roy.
A few songs had a really savage vocal delivery - "Marion Jones" had an astonishing edge, with real bile and hatred (even more so solo than with CNM). Of the monologues, "Barber Jim" and "Sheep" were of course well received, and "Joan/Murder At Dufflecoat Manor" had a discordant guitar backing which lent an eerier feel than usual.
Roy had made a conscious decision to veer away from the call and response raucousness of a traditional CNM show, but some of it resurfaced as the evening progressed – he said afterwards he felt the pull of the Cry No More Social Club, despite, surprisingly, relatively few being in attendance. "On Holiday" clearly required it, as did "Man Overboard" and the inevitable, and of course welcome "Mr Templar".
Roy delivered a great show to an admittedly partisan crowd, most of whom he new by name. In just the same way that it would haev great to see DC perform truly solo, it was a real pleasure to see just Roy and a guitar (not his trusty twelve-string mind, a shiny new 6-string) present an enthralling collection of songs both old and new. It underlines my feeling that Roy was and still is woefully under-recognised - it would be great to think that the current round of re-issues and his new album, suitably underpinned by some touring, might generate some real interest in a top songwriting talent and genuine showman performer.