Flossie Malavialle

Live Review | Roots Music Club, Doncaster | Review by Allan Wilkinson

I doubt whether many people in the audience tonight, least of all Paul Morawski, imagined the show finishing with a rousing airing of The Fabs’ “Hey Jude”, its oft repeated “Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah” being arguably the easiest sing-along chorus in the history of pop. This is precisely what happened when Flossie invited Paul back up on stage for the finale of her set, leading the chorus in a wonderfully animated fashion. The evening climax could have only been improved had the French chanteuse preceded this with Michelle, ‘Sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble, Tres bien ensemble’. Paul was there tonight to kick things off with a set of familiar songs, including something by Rab Noakes “Gently Does It”, something by the pre-Fleetwood Mac team of Buckingham Nicks “Landslide”, the odd one by ol’ whatsisname Gordon Lightfoot “Early Morning Rain”, together with Paul’s own “Blue Sky”. Having just turned forty this year, a year that turned out to be Paul’s annus horribilis, worse that he had ever imagined, having lost his dad so soon after losing his mum, both of whom played an important role in the history of this particular club, Paul closed with a reading of the poignant Tom Waits song “Time”. Flossie Malavialle is no stranger to the Ukrainian Centre stage and tonight she returned with her familiar Gibson Jumbo, together with a bunch of memorable pop songs. “Bonsoir Pet” was her opening greeting, delivered in her now familiar hybrid of Catherine Deneuve French and Vin Garbutt Teeside, before jumping in with her own take on Keith Pearson’s “More Hills to Climb”. If Paul McCartney’s song for Julian Lennon concluded the evening, a more recent song from Macca’s highly prolific repertoire came earlier in the set with the rather nostalgic “Early Days”, a song that describes those formative days when he and his first musical partner sat opposite one another planning world dominance, ‘Dressed in black from head to toe, Two guitars across our backs, We would walk the city roads, Seeking someone who would listen to the music, That we were writing down at home’ – world dominance indeed. Bobby Dylan popped up in the set with “Make Me Feel Your Love”, its writing credit very much Mr Zimmerman, though perhaps its popularity down to the 19 year-old Adele. Flossie performed the song with a feminine authority. There were also tributes to Tracy Chapman “Baby Can I Hold You Tonight”, Suzanne Vega “Luka”, Sting/Eva Cassidy “Fields of Gold” and a very personal tribute to the late Vin Garbutt himself, with a reading of his “Morning Informs”, “Gone, gone in the wink of an eye”. Flossie exercised her tonsils with a couple of vocal workouts towards the end of the set, the much remembered “What’s Up” by the still very much obscure 4 Non Blondes, apparently the very first song Flossie ever performed at a festival back in 2001 when she was first over here working as an exchange teacher and then finishing with “Piece of My Heart”, a song first recorded by Aretha’s sister Erma Franklin, then Dusty Springfield and more famously perhaps, by Janis Joplin, amongst others. Rounding off a very well rounded evening of song, Flossie and Paul, together with the audience, raised the roof… all together now “nah, nah, nah” etc.