Our first concert since February 2020 featured Ali and the Swing Cats playing their own versions of numbers collectively known as the great American songbook. Composers such as George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and Jerome Kern often wrote these memorable tunes for the musical theatre and films.
The afternoon certainly went with a swing, garnering appreciative comments and warm applause from the socially-distanced audience.
Reformed over the Summer of 2021 in a trio line-up the band is now playing at private parties, weddings and village halls across the South West.
With Ali Foyle (jazz violin/vocals) are Al Falkingham (guitar/vocals) and Nick Strong (piano/ bass).
Someone said “if something needs to be sung about then Reg Meuross has a song for it!” And this proved to be the case on Sunday 23 February in St Mary’s Westonzoyland.
One song, entitled Tony Benn’s Tribute to Emily Davison, recounted the story of the brave suffragette, who in 1911 hid overnight in a broom cupboard in Parliament so that she could give that as her address when she appeared in court the next day.
In another, Reg Meuross took on the persona of the City of London.
Yet another, celebrated Ida Lewis who died in 1911and was at one time the best-know women in America, a lighthouse keeper famed for her heroism in rescuing people from the seas.
Then a wonderful flight of fancy with the song, Leaving Alabama, in which he imagines a meeting between Hank Williams and Dylan Thomas.
A ‘real’ encounter is described in his Phil Ochs and Elvis Eating Lunch in Morrison’s Café.
And he even had a song about Westonzoyland. Challenged by a resident in 2010 to write a song about the village, the composition became a moving tribute to the many who fought and died in the Battle of Weston in 1685, and travesty of justice that followed.
Between songs, Reg regaled the near-capacity audience of around 160, with anecdotes- amusing and informative by turns.
Somerset Young Farmers Clubs have kindly given us permission to use their premises for parking on concert days. Their address is: The Old School, School Road, TA7 0LN. It is 350 yards or 3 minutes walk to the church.