Quinns Quinney – Dorset Chilli Festival – 4 August 2013

It is four years since I last saw this Wimborne-based skiffle band, and back then their repertoire already included songs ancient and modern, from skiffle originals to hits by Erasure and the Spice Girls, cleverly adapted to a Skiffle beat and sometimes with “countrified” lyrics to match their Dorset roots. The passing of time has changed their line-up, tightened their control over the driving skiffle rhythm, and increased their library of material. A sizeable audience at the Dorset Chilli Festival at the home of the Earl of Shaftesbury in Wimborne St Giles, was thoroughly entertained by surely the fastest and slickest live version of Rock Island Line ever heard, Bonzo Dog’s Spaceman transported from Urban to Rural, Survivor’s Eye taken from the Tiger and added to a Badger, and the Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire transformed to My Tractor’s on Fire!

Teenage spectators hopefully recognised skiffle-ised renditions of Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time and Girls Aloud’s Love Machine, whilst the older ones were happy to hear Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls and disco classics such as I Will Survive.  The audience was made up mainly of young families with youngsters dancing in front of the stage, and the adults appreciated the cleverly re-written and improvised lyrics, including highly topical references to such weekend news items as closing embassies.  Some of the most exciting moments from this band are when just two lines of a Beatles are followed by the Benny Hill theme, solos on guitar, bass or watering can and then the instruments stop playing for a verse of four or five-part close harmony.

Led by RSPB warden Rob Farrington, son of local soprano Jan, on guitar, kazoo, watering can and vocals, Quinns Quinney’s solid rhythm foundation is made up of John Lee on stick electric bass and Gee Cullen on drums and harmonica, with Gee’s daughter Niamh on guitar, Tom Power on lead guitar, and George Wareham on percussion and vocals. Depending on availability their line up can sometimes include mandolins, fiddle, bango and numerous wind instruments. Look out for them at a festival or street corner near you. 


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