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Review: Pub Sings Albany NY and Elsewhere

Paul_Schurr_PSG_NY 26 Jun 16 - 03:13 PM
Paul_Schurr_PSG_NY 02 Aug 16 - 01:02 PM
Paul_Schurr_PSG_NY 02 Aug 16 - 01:05 PM
Paul_Schurr_PSG_NY 02 Aug 16 - 01:10 PM
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Subject: Review: Pub Sings Albany NY and Elsewhere
From: Paul_Schurr_PSG_NY
Date: 26 Jun 16 - 03:13 PM

This thread follows in the tradition of posting reports on a recent pub sing. Please feel free to post your pub sing reports (and comments) here as a way to help others seek out pub sings as they travel. I will be providing reports on specific local and regional pub sings and festivals after they take place - and a URL so you can track down the next one. There are two pub sings a month in the Albany, NY area, and many more regionally. Also, we have four local festivals that include pub sings. My first entry is about an unannounced and unadvertised pub sing that happens every year at the Old Songs Festival. Contact me if you want the secret knock.

"One of the Best Old Songs Festival Pub Sings" (Evening of June 25, 2016)

Wow! Creature Comforts, the old barn where folkies dine, was practically standing-room only in the middle of one of the most enjoyable Saturday night pub sings ever. The brown craft ale was tasty and strong. The singers sang their hearts out.

Some of the highlights: Olivia Gale and Colin de la Barre ( singing "Sweet Minerva," one of Linda Kelly's amazing songs about a lonely sailor anxious to be home but on a fishing boat trapped in mud flats within sight of his beautiful woman on the shore. Olivia and Collin performed their first gig at our own Gotta Get Gon' Festival new comers' night in 2013, and now they have two CDs plus a performance at Mystic for their growing claim to fame. Olivia's voice is heavenly, and Colin's harmonies add color and texture that only the best artists can provide. See what I'm talking about: Watch the Hissyfit version, too.

Amidst all the drinking songs, sea shanties, and parodies, one petite young lady delivered several gospel style songs with a strong and rich voice that truly amazed everyone. Could such a big voice come from such a small package? You should have seen her beam at the group's reaction. A 13 year old likewise showed that there is excellent talent sprouting up to take the place of the older timber.

Mike Agranoff (, a much appreciated regional performer, pleased me by forgetting the words to a Malcolm Sargeant song, "Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud" ... something I thought was my own private torture. Thanks Mike for making it okay for the rest of us to forget lyrics like I subsequently did on "Driving a Truck," my folk-processed version of the Wierd Al song. Afterward a friend asked, "Don't you think you should learn the lyrics to your signature song?" Ouch. Someone else said, "At least you sang it with gusto!" At least. You saved me, Mike, as we sang from the arms of Morpheus - the Greek God, not the Matrix guy.

In view of the recent Orlando horror, a further stain on our American character, I especially appreciated Miriam's "Ballad of a Straight Man." How well her writing pokes at the fears and prejudices of hetero's. Her song is funny, and it helps us laugh when it really hurts to see the truth of Orlando. She sang with uncharacteristic gusto, and I hope she will always perform that song with the energy it deserves. The room loved it.

Nev from Ottawa sang a wonderful drinking song and John Tams' "When We Go Rolling Home" in a style that made me channel an old Irish pub. I could smell the peat burning in the fireplace and hear the drizzle of rain on a soft day. Pretty good for a festival with as perfect weather as you could possibly imagine. By the way, do they shout out "free the toast" at your pub sings? It added nothing to Nev's beautiful singing, but it thoroughly pleased the shouters and I'm sure that mattered to them.

This pub sing was balanced with a wide variety of songs, many different lead singers of all ages, and the feel of surprise that I love about most pub sings. You don't know if anyone will show up, you don't know what song will burst out next, or what will spark the next outbreak of laughter. Don't you just love how each and every pub sing has its own personality?

Close to 2 AM I decided to sing "Old Dun Cow" and then crawl off to bed. Oops, I forgot that normal people - well, families - were sleeping in tents just outside the Creature Comfort doors. I like to crank up the chorus on that song, and the building shook to the rafters. "MacIntyre!" "and we all got blue-blind paralytic drunk..." I expect the Old Songs security personnel to show up this morning wearing authoritative blue hats and shiny badges and ready to cart me off to the well-deserved cell reserved for overly enthusiastic, characteristically unthinking, but well intentioned silverback singers.

If you missed this year's off-the-grid unofficial festival sing, you'll just be another year older when the chance comes around again.

Note to Mudcat and Facebook readers: The Old Songs Festival is near Albany, NY and has been on-going since 1981. You can find more information here: and more about regional pub sings and festivals here: To comment on this, go to the "Pub Sings Albany NY and Elsewhere" thread at

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Subject: RE: Review: Pub Sings Albany NY and Elsewhere
From: Paul_Schurr_PSG_NY
Date: 02 Aug 16 - 01:02 PM

Open Sings

Purple Pub in Watervliet
Food at 6 and singing soon after but always by 7

Dates for Purple Pub Sings:

August 3
September 7
October 5
November 2
December 7
January 4

Yup, all first-Wednesdays.

Jake has planned these dates for the Angry Penguin sings (in Waterford):

-- Aug. 13th
-- Sept. 17th
-- Oct. 22nd
-- Nov. 19th
-- Dec. 10th (no doubt Christmas songs)

Questions? 518 669-0884 or reply to this email. Let me know if you want to get off this mailing list.

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Subject: RE: Review: Pub Sings Albany NY and Elsewhere
From: Paul_Schurr_PSG_NY
Date: 02 Aug 16 - 01:05 PM

Folk club web link

re: your interest in PSG web additions/modifications ...

Check out several links from the PSG first page that may be related to your interest:
--   (posit notes re PSG related events)
--    (songs we sing or will sing.)

--    audio from a GASP (link from photos page)
--      a collection of photos from GASP and a song (audio) (link from photos page)

--    GGG 2014 video on Gazette site
-- video from Tugboat fest (link from photos page)

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Subject: RE: Review: Pub Sings Albany NY and Elsewhere
From: Paul_Schurr_PSG_NY
Date: 02 Aug 16 - 01:10 PM

Labor Day Weekend join us for a musical camping weekend. Musicians and a cappella singers make music the whole time. Perfect for kids and very inexpensive. Amazing music. There are no paid performers to interrupt the jamming. Does this make for a perfect weekend? I think so. Call me if you are thinking about coming, and I can give you details 518 670 4585.

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