You can take the person out of Newcastle, but you can’t take Newcastle out of the person. I’m coincidentally having a very Geordie time of it at the moment. Last night I went to see Jill Halfpenny performing the latest instalment in Neil Marcus’s inspired and inspiring Great British Songbook cabaret series, proving the vitality of British songwriting across the ages to stand easy comparison with the Great American Songbook.
Early on, the Geordie-born lass offered one terrific entry, “The Collier Laddies Wife”, that not only established her origins, but also her credentials. This wasn’t going to be an evening of obvious choices, nor of obvious interpretations. Doing the Beatles classic Ticket to Ride, for instance, she channelled her childhood vocal heroine (and coincidentally mine) Karen Carpenter. I still think that Karen has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard, and it’s a brave person who tries to mimic her.