Gig review: Rab Noakes and Fraser Speirs set Bute hearts alight

Rab Noakes played live at Craigmore Bowling Club in Rothesay on Saturday, October 11, 2014.
Rab Noakes played live at Craigmore Bowling Club in Rothesay on Saturday, October 11, 2014.

Legendary Scots singer-songwriter Rab Noakes played to a packed house at Craigmore Bowling Club on Saturday in Transclyde Music’s latest live Rothesay gig.

Even if you ignore the impeccable playing, the impressive combination of harmonies and a brilliant set from Rab Noakes on guitar and vocals and Fraser Speirs on harmonica, the thing that sets them apart from many musicians is their encyclopaedic knowledge of style, genre, the personalities and the vital ephemera of the musical scene.

They can supply the-things-that-you-didn’t-even-know-it was-possible-to-know. They provide the wonderful worm-holes in time and space that allow music lovers to make sense of the intertwined influences which enrich the contemporary musical matrix.

In a wonderful set that paid homage to Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Lonnie Donegan, Lindisfarne, Gerry Rafferty, Emmett Miller via Phil Everly, Goffin and King and the Bryants, Rab and Fraser set the hearts of the audience alight.

But it was perhaps one song - ‘Jackson Greyhound’, Rab’s own beautiful, thoughtful, poignant reflection on the tragedy of the Alabama bombings in 1961 and the eventual success of the Civil Rights Movement - encapsulated their concern with the long march of the soul, and the light that has to burn strong and bright to maintain dignity and hope.

* Read the full review in the October 17 edition of The Buteman - on sale now.