Did you know I am a dancer?

Sweet-Baboo-Lets-Go-Swimming-Wild-by-Casey-RaymondI’ll tell you something, the Prince Albert in Rodborough, just outside Stroud. is a cracking little pub. More than one of a happy band of four of us commented wistfully on what it would be like to have a place like this on your doorstep…

Sweet Baboo

We’d ventured out on a school night to see Welsh singer, songwriter and serial guest-spotter, Stephen Black aka Sweet Baboo doing his own thing, and promoting his new record, Ships. I’ve written about Sweet Baboo before, seen him do a couple of guest spots with Gruff Rhys and seen him play bass with both Cate le Bon and H Hawkline, but this is the first time I’ve seen him take centre stage himself.

He’s an unassuming chap, for sure, small, chubby and regrettably not wearing the shirt, face paint or cats ears from the cover of Ships. In fact, he looked a little nervous as he stepped onto the Prince Albert’s tiny stage to set up the equipment with his two band mates. Once on stage though, any awkwardness emerged only in his sharp, sometimes brittle, lyrics. Instead, the three of them were confident, friendly and occasionally boisterous and gave us a really enjoyable, likeable set.

I enjoy the way Baboo delivers his songs, all uncertainty and self-deprecating humour, whilst at the same time bouncing his way through a series of loping, exuberant rhythms. At one point, one of the bar staff got a message through to the band that the landlord and had agreed to stand them each a drink every time Baboo mentioned tequila in his songs. No second invitation needed.

He played a couple of songs from the I’m a Dancer release, but most of the evening was devoted to the new record. I bought it afterwards and have been playing it since in the car, and a feature of it is the brass arrangements that frame most of the songs. Obviously the three of them couldn’t replicate that sound, but to be honest I rather preferred the simpler arrangements of the evening to those of the record.

A lovely occasion all round – charming band, charming songs, charming venue.

Simple, really…

The Morse Code for Love

I’m a Dancer

Cate’s Song

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