Roger Davies

Live Review | The Regent, Doncaster | Review by Allan Wilkinson

Roger Davies is a West Yorkshire song smith with a delicate touch. You are more than likely to be instantly taken by his cool delivery and easy going relaxed stage presence. This is because there’s a certain unpatronising warmth about a performer who refers to his audience as his ‘gang’ and consequently, you seem to enfold yourself within his circle, not kicking, not screaming. Roger takes his birthright seriously, and there is an abundance of affectionate songs centred round his hometown of Brighouse and surrounding area. Roger’s namesake Ray Davies proved once and for all that you can write a song about places with British names and make them just as cool as the Americans; “Waterloo Sunset” being the definitive example. Roger’s “Huddersfield Town” captures this essence in the same manner but manages to avoid it being just a pastiche of that particular style of writing. “Northern Trash”, despite its confrontational title (to a Donny lad that is), still maintains the affectionate aspect of his writing about home. “Raynor Road”, “Bradford Girl” and “Little Town” all fit neatly into the canon that is Roger’s tribute to his Northern roots. There’s nothing long and drawn out or with any excessive multi chorus’s in Roger Davies’ songs, they’re all pretty short and sweet and to the point. During his two club length sets at the Monday Music Club at The Regent, he managed to pack in a total of twenty-three songs of which there were only two covers, Bernard Wrigley’s tribute to Dame Nellie Melba “Knocking Nellie” and a Hugh Moffat song made popular by the late Johnny Cash, “Rose of My Heart”. The rest were all his. Harvey Andrews apparently said of Davies “The best thing I’ve seen in 20 years. That lad has everything” pretty much my opinion really it has to be said. Of course there are similarities in the singing of these two song writers; both have a clear delivery and a sweetness of style and an ability to tell a good story. But I don’t particularly see Roger Davies as the new Harvey Andrews, he’s clearly his own man. I suspect Roger has a wry sense of humour, evident in songs such as “Beer Belly Blues” where he name checks literally dozens of pubs, possibly a Guinness Book of World Records amount of pubs, and all in one song, as he tells of how he gained his beer belly. I went along to see Roger after catching part of a support spot some weeks previous at the same venue and hoped he would sing a couple from his Northern Trash CD. He actually sang every song from that album and pretty much everything from his earlier offering “Little Town” as well.