After the naked truth about some of the great and good within the Hoggin the Beaver and Sherwood Chapter organisation, Saturday evening back on the campsite could have been a real anticlimax. However, the band that Pete had booked for this evening proved to be more than equal to the task of filling the dance floor and keeping the assembled throng entertained.
The Hound Dogs are a three piece rockabilly band. This statement does nothing to convey the supreme musicianship of these three lads, a guitarist who fingers turn into a blur across his semi-acoustic instrument as he finds time for fills, riffs and solos among the frantic pace set by a drummer who hardly ever sits down and an upright bass player who spins his bass around, lifts it above his head and never misses a beat.
The only down side to Saturday night at Hoggin the Beaver is the interminable raffle and auction that went on for over an hour between the band’s two sets. It’s a real shame that the music has to stop for so long, but let’s also remember that the weekend is fundamentally all about fundraising. I know that I am in a minority here, but my own approach to this long and dull hour is to stay out of the way.
Maybe last year’s experience of having a pint of beer spilled over one of our speakers also influenced on my lack of interest in this, apart from a healthy determination to keep our equipment right out of the firing line. Once we had achieved this, we stayed outside the building among the smokers, having some good conversations with a few other people who were .
It is a real credit to the Hound Dogs that they managed to rekindle the vibe once their second set got under way. Sue and I pushed and shoved our way back into the room to enjoy the music and the whole spectacle of the show. This culminated during their encore with the drummer setting fire to one of his cymbals and the guitarist standing on the bass drum.
If you get a chance to see the Hound Dogs, grab it, it will be a night to remember. They really are the ideal band for a small venue like the Rutland Arms at a gig packed with middle-aged bikers. From my point of view, they are also the kind of consummate professionals that any DJ is delighted to support.
After the band had finished, I was able to pick up on the great atmosphere, although I was disappointed that Sue was again unable to be with me on stage and that she went off to the tent and to bed. Would you credit the fact that I even played some Northern Soul at a biker gig! Dobie Gray’s “Out On The Floor” went into Muriel Day’s “Nine Times Out Of Ten” and segued into the original version of “Tainted Love” by Gloria Jones. With lots of other Motown and sixties music as well, we all had a chance to re-live our youth club days.
Whenever I do a gig for the Sherwood Chapter lot, I always play the favourite record of one of our members, Carol Wright. From the reaction at this gig, it seems that a lot of other people also have a soft spot for “Everlasting Love” by Love Affair. One of these days I must play Robert Knight’s version for Carol.
At about quarter past one on Sunday morning, I was asked by one of the bar staff what time we intended to finish, so, abandoning the usual end-of-evening love songs, I finished with Led Zep’s “Whole Lotta Love”.
I was almost glad to stagger off down the camping field and fall into bed.
Sunday morning dawned bright, sunny and dry. We were still in the land of nod when we heard the first V-Twin engine rumble into life and away from the rally at about 7:30am. We had already decided that we were in no hurry, so the day eventually started with a cup of tea and spaghetti on raw toast (OK, it was on bread.) We eventually went up to the pub and borrowed the function room key and got stuck into a leisurely de-rig of the equipment. After loading up the car, it was time to turn our attention to the tent and camping gear.
By this time, the last of the dew had long dispersed and we stacked the contents of the tent outside on the grass while we took the tent down and worked out how to pack it back into the bag.
I really don’t know why such a simple task always has to result in a few “words” between Sue and I, but it always does. She ought to know by now that I don’t need to be told how to fold a tent. In fact, I’m reckon that tent packing is one skill that all men acquire in their genes.
Once the camping gear had been stuffed into the car on top of the disco gear it was almost lunchtime and Sue had very sensibly booked us into the pub for our Sunday lunch. We had to wait for a few minutes, which I used to help with some of the clearing up before settling down to an excellent Sunday roast and all the trimmings. I was surprised that we were the only campers in the place, although enough people seem to travel to the Rutland Arms that the campers weren’t missed.
After lunch, we said our final goodbyes and set off for home where, after unloading the car, we crashed out to catch up on some much needed sleep.
Although we don’t know the dates for next year’s Hoggin the Beaver, it is possible that we won’t be able to go if it’s the same weekend in 2009. This has already been booked for my eldest son’s wedding.