THE GRAND SLAMBOVIANS – The Brasenose, Cropredy (6th May 2014)

Slam 1

They seem to have settled on The Grand Slambovians now so no more Gandalf Murphy, no more Slambovian Circus Of Dreams for now at least. A few things have changed but their gigs remain poised tantalisingly on the brink of chaos with set-lists attending in an advisory capacity and requests and changes of mind and mood creating almost terminal indecision. They busked bits of The Beatles and Pink Floyd just because they felt like it. There’s always big fun at a Slambovian night out.

JoziahSo what is new? Well, Joziah Longo sported a rather splendid straw top hat; ‘Very Happy Now’ is now in a medley with The Ramones’ ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ (there was supposed to be some Donovan in there but it passed me by) and Tink played theramin on ‘Flapjacks From The Sky’ – which is very difficult to do while wearing an accordion ready for the next bit of the song. The band were promoting a compilation album, A Box Of Everything, which is “all the greatest hits that most people have never heard” so the backbone of the show was Sharkey that selection starting with ‘The Grand Slambovians’ with Sharkey playing the traditional Slambovian bottle-neck mandolin followed by ‘Sunday In The Rain’ and ‘A Very Unusual Head’.

I say “promoting” but they subverted themselves by making greater efforts to sell the unofficial CD, Folk!, credited to The Slambovian Folk Society. Joziah was into an ongoing theme of how they made a lot of money in the States by posing as a folk band and how the only person to figure them out was Pete Seeger. Joziah’s stories start out as unlikely and move towards improbable but it would be ungracious to doubt any part of his long tale of a meeting with Peter Seeger which lead to them playing at Seeger’s memorial – held at the Town Crier folk club – as his introduction to ‘Suzanne’.

The Brasenose isn’t a large venue, Joziah described it as “like a hug” and compared it to playing in his dad’s basement as a teenager, in fact the basement was probably larger. Half the audience were die-hard fans, the rest curious walk-ups many of whom went home clutching CDs and probably swearing undying fealty. The Slambovians wrapped up with ‘Talking To The Buddah’ and ‘The Trans-Slambovian Bi-Polar Express’ and encored with ‘Invisible’ and ‘Alligators’. They played for over two hours to a fairly small audience but in their inimitable way they made a lot of new friends.

Dai Jeffries

‘A BOX OF EVERYTHING’ is The Slambovian Circus of Dreams’ first new release with the Sony RED distributed Red River Entertainment. 

Released April 1st, this is a compilation of ‘the greatest Slambovian hits you’ve never heard’ newly remastered, with three new studio cuts – the upbeat title track ‘A Box of EveryThing’, Syd Barrett-inspired ‘A Very Unusual Head’ and the anthemic ‘Alligators’ that justifies the Pink Floyd-esque descriptions of the band.

Artists’ website: