Old Fire Station, Bournemouth

It’s St Patrick’s Day and The Cropdusters are in Bournemouth at the Old Fire Station for one of their first gigs in the town for a very long time. After a couple of gigs last year at The Barnstomper Festival in Cerne Abbas and the Chapel in Salisbury, they make a most welcome return to the live music circuit. However, their rhythm section Michael Case on bass and Mike O’Sullivan on Drums have come down with a case of the dreaded two red lines. This could have meant that the band would cancel the gig and most bands would have done, not the Cropdusters though. With only a few hours to the show Shaun, Rog, Jon, Lamma & Ffi got together to rehearse an unprecedented semi-acoustic set. A statement went out on their socials “unfortunately due to the impending doom they call covid-19, The Cropdusters will not be headlining tonight’s event. Some Dogs will now step in as headliners. The Cropdusters will be performing a semi-acoustic set and the whole show will be completely rescheduled for a later date, this way you all will be getting two shows for the price of one”.

The Cropdusters

After a strong nostalgic vinyl set from DJ Crockers box of racket, our master of ceremonies the Rock n’ Roll town crier Chris Brown opens the show and brings on the Bristol Bluegrass hit machine The Wessex Pistols. They have graced many a festival audience and know instinctively how to start a party. Their unique dry onstage banter, coupled with their effortless musical skills bring a remarkable uniqueness into Bournemouth tonight. They put together songs that you could not imagine working together like Gay Bar, Ghost Town, I’m Too Sexy, and Creep with an impressive vocal from Banjo Bob. They use banjo, accordion, double bass, acoustic guitar, violin, and a Slim Jim Phantom-style stand-up drummer called Dave. Tonight the crowd are up for a sing-a-long and it’s just like we used to do at the Hot House (Local Bournemouth Alternative Club) on a Saturday night, it’s like your very own Indie Disco played live on stage right in front of you. They leave the stage after somehow joining The Cranberries “Zombie” with the classic from the Deliverance film “Duelling Banjos” and “Two Pints of Lager”, much to the enjoyment of the well-entertained crowd. They set the momentum high for the rest of the evening to come.

The Wessex Pistols
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The Cropdusters have built up a bit of a cult status in these parts after playing a host of storming gigs back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Tonight’s crowd is built up of many of the fans who loyally followed the band back in the day; along with a host of curious newcomers, who have heard the stories of their now legendary live performances. They arrive on stage to a wonderful welcome from the Bournemouth crowd, all who seem to appreciate the efforts the band have made to be here. After a heart melting introduction from Chris Brown the band launched into “John Henry”. These days the band features two familiar faces: Lamma (Banjo) and Ffi (Fiddle) from the local ‘cow punkers’ Pronghorn, along with Roger and Jon on guitars with the boisterously energetic frontman Shaun Morris on lead vocals.

The Cropdusters
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The group seems a little nervous due to the circumstances and certainly seem to be missing the backbone of their rhythm section, however, this seems to disappear as the crowd’s generosity and support seem to carry them through. With acoustic versions of “Jammit O’Reily” and the currently appropriate “Just Poppin out to Fight a War” the crowd starts bouncing and singing along. Cash Converted singer Beth Shergold gets up and adds some impressive backing vocals to “Banjo Hill” and “Hard Times”. The set ends with a shambolic run-through of “The Ballad of Nogger Sprocket”, with its hilarious nautical lyrics, and the crowd helps out Shaun with a mass sing-a-long. It’s not been a classic Cropdusters gig, but it will certainly go down in history as possibly the only acoustic one. The fact that the band will regroup and return here at some point in the future is an added bonus.

Tonight’s uprated headliners are country band Some Dogs who arrive on stage with some unusually large headgear, that would put any of those cowboys from spaghetti westerns to shame. Their unique stylings inject country music with a whole load of punk attitude and a large helping of tongue-in-cheek comedy. The seven-piece band feeds off the audience’s enthusiasm and performs a host of well-known country hits, along with a few of their own compositions in their own unique style. The set includes classics such as “Wichita Lineman”, Dukes’ of Hazzard theme tune “Good Ole Boys” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”, as well as an inspirational version of the trucking classic “Convoy”. This multi-talented bunch really knows how to get a crowd going and by the audience’s reaction, they do a great job at stepping up to their headlining role.

Some Dogs
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Some Dogs
Sunday Morning Come Down
Millers Cave
Sylvia’s Mother
Take This Job and Shove It
Wichita Lineman
Good Ole Boys
Something to Bragg About
Country Girl
Ring of Fire
Shipping Up To Boston
Kiss The Children ‎
Rhinestone Cowboy

The Cropdusters
John Henry
Jammit O’Reily
Just Poppin Out To Fight a War
Banjo Hill
Hard Times
The Ballad of Nogger Sprocket

The Wessex Pistols
Teenage Kicks
Common People (Medley)
featuring Parklife/Legs/Sex on Fire/Give Me All Your Loving/Walk On The Wild Side/Love Cats
Pump Up The Jam (Medley)
featuring Seven Nation Army/Bad Romance
Spin Me Round (Medley)
Featuring Blue Monday/Star Trek Theme/Outta Space
Gay Bar (Medley) featuring
Ghost Town/I’m Too Sexy/Creep
Should I Stay Or Should I Go/Pretty Vacant
Zombie (Medley)
Duelling Banjos/Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps



Words & Media by David Chinery (Chinners)
Pictures by Matthew Rayner.

The Cropdusters