Live Review | Roots Music Club, Doncaster | Review and Photos by Allan Wilkinson
Sean Taylor looked rather sheepish tonight when he introduced his song “Little Donny” at the Ukrainian Centre, a song about the “most evil man on the planet.” “I’m sorry Doncaster” he said, “it’s not really about your town, it’s about another Donny, Donald Trump.” Returning to little Donny tonight, Sean was joined by Mike Seal on double bass for much of the gig, the singer/guitar slinger launching headlong into his first song “Number 49” without hanging around for a proper introduction, eager to get down to business.
It might have been a sparse turn out, due to so much happening simultaneously in the area, but it didn’t stop Sean from putting on a good show, whilst showcasing one or two songs from his latest album release The Path Into Blue, including the aforementioned “Little Donny”, “Number 49” and the delicate title song, not to mention the album’s much anticipated ‘spoken word’ opener “This is England”, which provided the club with possibly its first full-on rap performance. “Born and raised under Maggie’s Cane, since when did love become a stain, in this epoch we will find, a broken generation left behind..” Just a quick scan through the accompanying video for the song on YouTube reveals a role call of suggested evilness in the guise of Johnson, May, Trump, Thatcher, Hopkins, a host of Big Brother house mates, together with the juxtaposition between Black Friday greed and rife homelessness, and all before the first chorus, which encourages us to ‘breath in, breath out’ in order to get through it all in one piece. It’s topical in the extreme, but thought provoking nevertheless, with the ritual angst not for one minute lost on his audience.
At times coming over as a passionate hybrid of Tom Waits and John Martyn, Sean Taylor’s performances are totally based on emotion and feeling, with the Blues never far from his fingertips. Skip James’ “Hard Time Killing Floor” or his re-working of “Heartbreak Hotel” for instance, emphasise the point, with improvisational elements that ensure no two performances are alike. Lyrically, songs like “Texas Boogie”, which pays homage to such Texan legends as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Townes Van Zandt, Johnny Copeland and Lightnin’ Hopkins, and “The Cruelty of Man”, a scathing comment on such shows as The X Factor, keep the audience’s attention, whilst “Perfect Candlelight” demonstrates Sean’s more tender side. If the John Martyn influenced “So Fine” pulsates “Big Muff” style, Mike Seal was eager to respond to Sean’s ‘echoplex’ guitar motifs with suitable Danny Thompson slaps throughout.
Encouraging the audience to sing along to the yeah, yeah, yeah’s in the chorus of the penultimate song of the night “Troubadour”, Sean created an almost exclusive and cosy atmosphere for those lucky enough to have been present. Closing with a medley based around the descending guitar pattern of Davy Graham’s “Anji” and Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road Jack”, the London troubadour hit the road knowing full well that his Donny mission had been accomplished.