Rab Noakes plays to sell-out Rothesay crowd

Rab Noakes in concert at Craigmore Bowling Club in Rothesay on Sunday.
Rab Noakes in concert at Craigmore Bowling Club in Rothesay on Sunday.

MUCH-ADMIRED Scots singer-songwriter Rab Noakes played to a sell-out audience at Craigmore Bowling Club in Rothesay on Sunday evening.

Having begun his career in music in the early 1960s, Noakes, a stalwart of the Scottish acoustic scene, has no shortage of life experience to draw on for his live shows, making the stories behind the songs almost as fascinating as the compositions themselves.

High spots from the selection of self-penned material which comprised most of Sunday’s set-list included the foot-tapping melody of Blues Around Me Now, the simple pleasure of weekend anticipation encapsulated in Roll On Saturday, and When One Dog Barks, a wry observation on the sheep-like tendencies of modern society drawn from a Chinese proverb which goes: “When one dog barks at a shadow, many dogs bark at the sound.”

Though his own material provided most of Sunday’s set, there were plenty of crowd-pleasing cover versions spanning 70 years of musical styles, from the simple 1920s melody of Bye Bye Blackbird to the soaring vocals of Radiohead’s 1995 hit High And Dry, via Cliff Richard’s Travelling Light and the evening’s encore, Mississippi by Bob Dylan.

Noakes, though, is still best known for his many years of friendship and collaboration with the late Gerry Rafferty, and it was the tribute to Paisley’s favourite son that provided the high point of the evening for most of the audience, with Noakes’s own heartstring-tugging No More Time surpassed only by a cover of his friend’s melancholic Moonlight and Gold, which had the audience spellbound throughout.