It was smiles all round at Dunfermline's Vine Church, courtesy of a joyous night of musical entertainment delivered by Lins Honeyman and a cast of his friends. Paul Becher kicked proceedings off with a well-received tribute to James Taylor, before Honeyman and Friends took to the stage after the break. It was clear from the first bars of their high-octane rendition of Ray Charles' Unchain My Heart, that the band meant business, and were in great form. Over the next hour and a half they delivered a wonderful set of classic-songs mixed in with a handful of Honeyman's own compositions.
The array of individual musical talent on display on Saturday night was astonishing; surpassed only by what they were able to achieve together as a unit, with some great arrangements to work with. When a deceased person's legacy is trashed we hear them described at "turning in their grave". We need to find a phrase which means the exact opposite of that because I am sure Blind Willie Johnson would have been leaping for joy to hear his "God Don't Never Change" being given a funked groove, and reworked so magically almost a century after his original recording. I also suspect that the famously pugnacious Nina Simone would have been forced to agree that Morna Young's vocal on the Dalziel arrangement of "Feelin' Good", was so good it made the hairs on the back of the hairs on your neck stand up!
The on-stage-line up of the band rotated during the course of the evening as Lins Honeyman exchanged guitars for keys, Les Dalziel swapped his double bass for his keyboard rig, and a range of different instruments or vocal combinations were deployed for each song. The band roamed easily across genres, covering blues, folk, pop, ballads and traditional songs.
I haven't been to a gig with such a great atmosphere for quite a while, there was a real buzz in the air; something spurred on by the obvious sense that the band were enjoying themselves as much as the audience. It was nice to catch up with quite a few people I haven't seen for a while too. Yvonne Lyon (who I last heard doing a session for "Whispering" Bob Harris on Radio 2), was sitting in front of me too.
In music press of late there has been a lot of discussion about the excessive ticket prices being charged by major rock-acts. Many of these old-rockers are well past their best, and are trading off their achievements of the past, and are playing to vast stadiums with limited views - and charging eye-watering sums for the privilege of being in the audience. Saturday night was as suitable a rebuke to such nonsense as could be conceived: great players at the top of their game, playing in an intimate setting with verve and creativity; and all for £6/a head including refreshments! Local live-music is undoubtedly the way-ahead, but you have to know where to find it!
This band performs under the name "Lins Honeyman & Friends" but by the end of the evening, they were playing to a hall full of people they had won over as their friends.
A few photos of the players (in no coherent order)
Lins Honeyman: Guitars & Ukulele
Jon Assheton: Drums
Les Dalziel: Keyboards
Lins Honeyman: Harmonica
Morna Young: Vocals and sparkly engagement ring
Les Dalziel: Double Bass
Andrew McCully: Guitar
Lins Honeyman: Keyboards
Paul Becher: Support Act