Concert Hall, Dudley
Even after more than 30 years of being on the road and recording numerous albums The Fureys & Davey Arthur have lost none of their enthusiasm for playing and indulging in the Irish tradition of telling tall tales.The audience were never going to be passive spectators and clearly enjoyed the old favourites, the first of which was the upbeat Clare to Here which was followed by the heartfelt The Old Man which was dedicated to Finbar and Eddie Furey’s dad.
In between the jigs and reels they pulled out some of their favourites including Eddie singing the Gerry Rafferty-penned apocryphal tale of Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway.
Drawing this time on Scottish culture rather their native Irish, they sang a version of Leezie Lindsay with lyrics supplied by Robbie Burns. This was followed by Davey introducing The Mad Lady and Me, the extraordinary tale of a woman who ended up face down in the riverbed after being the worse for drink in Cork. The story behind the song had all the hallmarks of the tall tales the Irish are famous for and while everything about it was Irish it somehow had a continental tinge to it.
Eddie brought a raw quality to the lyrics of Steal Away a poignant ballad about emigration which was followed by Finbar on a similar theme with Leaving London, a tune which had a lighter, Nashville-style tone. They then whipped up the crowd with another medley of jigs.
They changed the tempo again with the soft ballad, This One Is For You which they dedicated to their late brother Paul.
They finished the first half of the set with, undoubtedly, their biggest hit When You Were Sweet 16.
One of the highlights of the evening came after the break with Finbar’s own instrumental The Lonesome Boatman with the fantastic sound of Camillus Hiney on tin whistle, Eddie on guitar and Davey on bouzouki mimicking the sound of the sea.
The band then moved into an upbeat version of the much-covered Goodnight Irene which was followed by a little more frivolity with The Chicken Song which is one of those you can keep adding your own verses to ad infinitum.
And then just to keep the audience on their toes they changed the tempo again with Finbar bringing out another soft ballad, Leaving Nancy. He continued the softer theme, this time pretty much solo, with Time Heals Wounds They Say and then grabbed the audience once more with Dermott O’Brien’s Dublin Town in 1962.
They finished the night with some of their signature tunes, Red Rose Café, I Will Love you, The Green Fields of France and Go Lassie Go, alongside Paddy In Paris with Camillus using his squeezebox to give an authentic Gallic feel.