I hadn’t seen John and Willy together for years.
20 seconds in to their first song ‘Misty Mountain’ and it immediately strikes you what a sensational and original player Willy is. He can play anything. We had acoustic and electric guitars, bagpipes, banjo, balalaika, fiddle and a dustbin. I remember back in the seventies him coming round to my house at 110 High Street (Now the El Halal indian restaurant) playing my old piano that I bought for £5 from a convent in Princes Risborough. He was born to play music.
You can’t imagine two more opposite people than John Otway and Willy Barrett. John is the eternal eccentric optimist whereas Willy is dry, cynical and one of the funniest people ever. Both of them had the audience in hysterics in totally different ways.
At the end Willy gave a speech about why he had just sawn up a cheap acoustic guitar and had then smashed it with a hammer. “I’m doing everyone a favour. No one should have to try and play this cheap rubbish. Anyway we only paid £30 for it and we’re selling the smashed up version for £40….and none of the money will go to charity”
If you’re new to these 2 troubadours check out ‘Beware of the flowers cause I’m sure they’re gonna get you Yeah’ and ‘Geneva’.
‘Flowers’ was voted 7th best lyrics for a song ever written in a world wide poll in 2000 beating anything that Dylan had written and coming one place behind McCartney’s ‘Yesterday’. In a rare moment of modesty Otway says “I was quite surprised”.