How do you plead? An evening with My Darling Clementine, One Touch Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness 7/9/16. A Review.
My Darling Clementine are the Birmingham duo of Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish. Both are musicians in their own right. Weston King having played with The Good Sons, and locally with Chris Hillman (late of the Byrds) in the Maple Court Hotel. Dalgleish has played with Bryan Ferry and has performed in her own right as a jazz musician. Additionally the two are married which gives them plenty of material for their songs.
The pair specialise in Americana – paying tribute to the major American male/female duos of the 1960s/70s (eg Tammy Wynette and George Jones). The concert opened with a segment of the recording of the wedding ceremony of Wynette and Jones to which Weston King and Dalgleish entered stage. Without any ceremony they started the first set of the evening with three songs, speaking after the third song. From here songs were introduced. The couple have a dry, dark sense of humour and this was apparent in their songs and introductions. The songs themselves deal with the reality of life and relationships – as Weston King put it at the end of the first set: “we’ll be back with more heartbreak, misery and good tunes”.
The couple sing together really well – at some points harmonising and at others sharing parts of the songs between them. The most touching example of this in the song: I no longer take pride. Here a bereaved man looks over his past and how he misses his wife. Weston King sang most of the song, with at the end Dalgleish as his wife singing back down to him from above – extremely effective and moving. Another technique the duo employ is to use the song as a vehicle for looking at a situation from more than one angle using their voices to explore this – one sings one angle, the other the other – a very effective technique with impact.
Over the two sets they performed a range of old and new material including one song Sharon which they never performed in public before. It was really interesting to see this part of the artistic process. The background to the songs was really illuminating – the song Friday night at the Tulip Hotel being inspired by seeing a couple involved in an illicit affair going their separate ways leaving a hotel the group were staying in. The song: Tearstain smile was written in collaboration with the crime writer Mark Billingham – as Weston Hall put it they were: “learning to increase the body count” in their songs
At the end of the second set the duo had a different approach to the encore process – “here’s one more song, you clap and we play you another two” was the message – which they duly delivered.
The lighting and sound were excellent throughout the performance and the One Touch Theatre was small enough to allow good rapport between the artistes and the audience.
A very thought-provoking approach to music and history – transposing America to the UK – “I look at the church, the tower, the steeple” from No matter what Tammy said, and bringing a different sort of country and western American music to a modern audience. Look out for their new CD.
Thanks to Eden Court for hosting and assisting the reviewer.