Raindance

In October 1991, Ian Payne asked me if I was into playing a one-off gig. He had been invited to play some live music at the wedding reception of Sandra and Colin McClary (who became a councillor and was later Mayor of St Just) to be held at the Star Inn. We quickly got together some of the old Tom's Island songs, with a few from the Storm Dogs repertoire and arranged them for just a duo with a Drumatix rhythm box. We played in the afternoon and were then invited by landlady Rosie to play again in the evening. This was the beginning of amplified bands playing at this venue, a tradition that has continued to run in parallel with the Monday evening Celtic folk music.

We continued to play Saturday nights once a month well into 1992. The duo had now grown with the addition of Seth Marshall on drums, followed by Pippa Lewin on vocals, Graham Walden on harmonica and occasionally Alan Burton on fiddle. The band never really had a proper name - known sometimes as Skin Flint or Raindance.

There were many occasions when we featured guest vocalists such as Helen Hutson, joining us for a Fleetwood Mac or Eurythmics song. Pauline Cowham also appeared doing backing vocals. At one gig, at the Commercial Hotel in St Just, Graham also sang and played guitar, and as a bonus, Hami Hocking did a short set in the interval on the didgeridoo. In 1992 this was quite a rare instrument to be seen played close up and during the performance, you could quite literally have heard a cigarette butt drop on the floorboards! Hami got an amazing and very positive reaction. As a local musician, he is greatly missed by us all.

On the last gig in July 1992, we played at another wedding reception at Dowran near St Just. Pete Marshall joined us on semi-acoustic guitar and sang a couple of songs, and Charlotte Gunn provided backing vocals. Pippa Lewin (sister of local artist Paul Lewin) went on to study at Falmouth College of Arts. Colin and Sandra went on to run the Star Inn at St Just from 2004 to 2006.

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