Mr F and I took some young people to the Sheep Walk in Leytonstone last night for a double bill of Andy White and Thomas Denver Jonsson. There was a definite division of opinion along age lines about their respective merits.
The young folks were very keen on Thomas Denver Jonsson. I thought he handicapped himself with too many alt-country cliches to stand out from the crowd - such as the strained voice pitched a bit too high for comfort which is as common in this particular field as bad Mariah Carey impersonators are on X Factor. It is presumably meant to convey intensity but too often just sounds like they can't sing. Which in this case was a bit of a shame because he actually had a few decent songs.
Thomas spent most of his set staring down at his shoes and mumbling incoherently in between the songs, which the young folks found immensely endearing. When Andy White came on he made the mistake of looking at and talking to the audience and was immediately condemned for being "too cocky". He never won them back after that, whereas I increasingly warmed to him for his old-fashioned virtues like being able to write a proper tune.
The last record of his I bought was "Rave On Andy White" way back in 1986, but I enjoyed the show sufficiently to buy his current album "Songwriter". Here are a couple of tracks from that album that he played last night, the second of which has a fantastic title that was given to him by a friend's small daughter, who in turn had been given it by her imaginary friend - although only one of them gets a credit on the album.
"First And Discovery" - Andy White (with Allison Russell)
"Turn Up The Temperature On The Machine Of Love" - Andy White
I can't find any clips of Andy, so instead here is another Irish act that was around in the 1980s and had a way with a tune.