RICHARD DIGANCE – Dorking Folk Club (09.05.12)

You know it’s going to be a great night when you see the broadly grinning expectations of the ‘sold out’ audience come streaming through the doors carrying with them the thoughts that tonight is going to be extra special. Of course it’s an expectation born of the rumours that a ‘legend’ is playing a local ‘folk club’ and that legend just happens to be Richard Digance (yes, him off the telly!). With an easy-going presentation that a lot of young ‘folk’ performers could do well to learn from Digance is everything to every man (and woman). Such is his delivery of well observed anecdotes that they appear as well lobbed audio grenades eliciting guffaws of laughter without the need for offensive language unlike a lot of ‘so-called’ comedians these days. Reminiscing is what it’s all about and in this respect he offers it on a plate. Drawing on vignettes as a performer he makes each and everyone feel as if they’ve known him personally all of their lives and, indeed, many of us have. The songs, storytelling and banter of his East-End upbringing even if not one hundred percent historically correct as in the case of “The Ballad Of Johnny Puller” it is the attention to detail that makes you believe in the character. Such was the warmth and bond with tonight’s very respectful crowd Richard even felt comfortable enough to try out several new songs including an ode to the painter John Constable that, with two choruses was unusual but met with an appreciation Vaughan Williams might have expected the first time he performed ‘Lark Ascending’. His well deserved encore “Letter From Afghanistan” with its snipe at English football players in general (and deservedly so) should be required listening by ‘the team’ and if tonight’s audience were anything to go by I would say he hit the goal every time…right to the back of the net. If you get the chance to see him in the intimacy of a club…take it, you won’t be disappointed and I’m sure you can ask anyone who was at Dorking for a shining endorsement! By the way for those of you reading this review that didn’t get the chance to buy his CDs check out the link below.

PETE FYFE

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Artist’s website: www.richarddigance.com