Saturday, March 05, 2016

C.W. Stoneking and Marlon Williams- Zoo Twilights

The Zoo Twilights series over Friday and Saturday nights during the summer months at Melbourne Zoo helps the fight against wildlife extinction. Tonight Onagh joined me for the excellent sold out double bill of Marlon Williams and C.W. Stoneking. There was a huge line even before the doors opened, but once we got in we set up our picnic blanket on the lawn and settled in for the evening. Thankfully the weather wasn't too hot today, and despite a few drops it stayed dry.

Marlon Williams was up first and began with a cover of Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" solo on guitar. He then played "Lonely Side Of Her" before inviting out his band The Yarra Benders. They did a couple bluegrass numbers with their covers of The Stanley Brothers' "Nobody's Love Is Like Mine" and "If That's The Way You Feel." Songs from Marlon's debut album were featured with "Strange Things," "I'm Lost Without You," "After All," "Dark Child" and "Hello Miss Lonesome." They also played "The State Hospital," "Heaven For You, Prison For Me" and "The Ballad Of Minnie Dean." Marlon finished the night with a beautiful solo rendition of "When I Was A Young Girl."

As darkness fell C.W. Stoneking took to the stage in his all white outfit and bow tie. He was joined by his band and Vika and Linda Bull and Maddie and Memphis Kelly on backing vocals. They played the entirety of his last album Gon' Boogaloo throughout the evening, with highlights including "The Zombie," "Get On The Floor," "Tomorrow Gon' Be Too Late," "Good Luck Charm," "We Gon' Boogaloo" and "On A Desert Isle," where C.W. had to stop mid-song because a bug climbed up his pant leg. The middle of the set was appropriately jungle themed with "I'm A Jungle Man," "Jungle Lullaby," "Jungle Blues," "Talking Lion Blues" (which had a few stops and starts as C.W. got lost in his yodeling) and "The Jungle Swing." It was great to get to hear "The Love Me Or Die" and a lovely cover of The Soul Stirrers' "He's Been A Shelter For Me." To close out the night C.W. played "Jailhouse Blues" solo and invited the crowd to sing along to the chorus. This was such a great evening of music in the beautiful surrounds of the zoo (with the occasional lion roar in the background).

Here's a live version of "The Zombie"

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