« Back to Events
This event has passed.
June 11, 2018
January 30, 2015

Wild Willy Barrett’s French Connection

Ecstatically delighted to have Wild Willy Barrett back at the Crooked Billet.

A unique & unforgettable evening!

Directed by the Godfather of Grunge Folk Wild Willy Barrett. From Gypsy jazz to traditional Celtic with a hint of Bluesgrass & Piaf thrown into the mix. Innovative arrangements beautifully performed on instruments including guitar, cello, fiddle, banjo, harmonian & uilleann pipes, all overlaid with a large dose of wry humour. You might’ve caught Wild Willy on TV recently with Bob Harris celebrating the Old Grey Whistle Test’s anniversary- Footage of Otway & Barretts legendary 1977 Whistle Test Performance. On Monday 11th, Willy will perform in specially created theatre situated in the large end dining room of the pub. Rows of theatre seats, stage, complimentary choc ices. Pre- Theatre dinner is served in our adjoining posh marquee with live musical support from THE BLUE NOTES quartet featuring Alan Grahame on vibraphone, Mike Wills clarinet & sax, Ken McCarty piano & Andy Crowdy double bass. The quartet playing Benny Goodman & Lionel Hampton smouldering jazz. Alan Grahame played in Michael Parkinson’s House band performing with all the musical greats guesting with Parky, Louis Armstrong, Stephane Grapelli, Nat ‘king’ Cole Dave Bruebeck, Cole Potter, Nina Simone, Dione Warwick & Oscar Perterson (to name drop a few)


The enigma that is Wild Willy Barrett first came to prominence on the folk guitar circuit with Ralph McTell, Donovan and Cat Stevens. Then had punk rock hits as one half of Otway & Barrett, including ‘Really Free’, ‘Give it Headbutts’ and ‘Beware of the Flowers (Coz I’m Sure They’re Gonna Get You Yeah!)’.
You won’t find another band like Wild Willy Barrett’s French Connection. From a Parisian café via a Dublin Hooley to a New Orleans party with rip-roaring fiddle & banjo.
Find the band at the Crooked Billet, Stoke Row on Monday 11th June in a specially created theatre, rows of theatre seats, stage, complimentary choc ices.
Imagine stumbling across a smoky back street bar, late night jam. Django Reinhardt & The Pogues. Robert Johnson accompanies Edith Piaf. Bob Marley’s jammin’ with Stéphane Grappelli. Tom Waits joins in. This is French Connection. At the ensembles heart are the undisputed talents of multi-instrumentalist, Godfather of grunge folk, Wild Willy Barrett. The quartet perform on guitar, cello, harmonium, whistle, fiddle, banjo & uillean pipes with a large dose of dry wit. Charismatic French singer Aurora Colson taking centre stage, captivating audiences with heart rendering expressive performance. Effortlessly tackling styles from Blues to Chanson, haunting Irish melody, touch of Piaf thrown into the mix.
The group, born during a chance encounter when Willy approached cellist Mary Holland who he saw performing with a belly-dance troupe. “He saw me playing & dancing, asked me to join his band. I wondered if it was the cello or me he was interested in, it took several phone calls persuading me to audition. Turns out he was interested in both – we’re now married.”
John Devine, a master of the uillean pipes, recently performed for the Queen. Speaking on Wild Willy Barrett’s French Connection he says “it’s unlike anything you will ever see or hear with the range of music & musicianship. Willy holds it all together. He’s one of this country’s most overlooked musicians.

Willy, best known for his partnership with John Otway. A highly respected musician whose styles include folk, blues, gypsy jazz, reggae, bluegrass & punk. It is the gentler side of Wild that emerges with French Connection. He recorded Rasta Communication with Sly & Robbie, toured with U2, Police, Madness & many more. Guitarist for George Hamilton IV, turned down the offer of Brian Jones’ replacement in the Rolling Stones. Recorded ‘The Contemporary Folk Guitar’ album with Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Gordon Giltrap & Ralph McTell. Recent main stage performances at Cropredy & Cambridge Folk Festival.
The Crooked Billet chef proprietor Paul Clerehugh enjoys an excellent reputation for its kitchen, cooking & menu. You can choose to enjoy pre-theatre dinner in the pub before or after the show –£15 MUSIC COVER CHARGE for Wild Willy Barrett’s all acoustic theatre show.
An added bonus for those dining pre theatre, live music from The Blue Notes Quartet featuring Alan Grahame on Vibraphone. Grahame played in Michael Parkinson’s House Band performing with all the musical greats guesting with Parky, Louis Armstrong, Stephanie Grapelli, Nat ‘king’ Cole, David Bruebeck, Cole Potter, Nina Simone, Dione Warwick & Oscar Peterson (to name drop a few). Enjoy a wonderful evening of unique musical entertainment overload with a large dose of humour, very different from anything you will experience in the UK at the moment.