“Cause we love our love, in different sizes. I love her body, especially the lies…” The lyrics of The Beautiful South’s ‘Perfect 10’ accompanied by the clear chords of an accoustic guitar make people sitting around at Churchill Square look up to see where the music is coming from.
Like every Tuesday, Jim and Rachel, aka The C-Ciders, have come down to the city centre to do a few hours of busking. This time, they have decided to play in front of The Prince Of Wales, a pub the Brighton-based duo has a close connection with. It was in that pub precisely that they performed together for the first time, more by chance than planned.
“Jim was playing with his friend who I sort of knew and I asked whether I could play a song with him. That guy told me to do a song with Jim instead of him and so we sang Janis Joplin’s ‘Piece of my Heart’ together. Then a month later, I was in that pub again and Jim came up to me and asked me if I wanted to play a guest slot in one of his gigs”, Rachel remembers how she and Jim first met.
But rather than just doing a guest slot as Jim had offered her, Rachel said she would do the whole gig. After a little shock moment when she heard that they had two weeks to come up with 46 songs, they started rehearsing straight away and did the gig together. Ever since, they go on stage together as The C-Ciders.
Coming up with a proper name was a challenge for the duo as all the good names were already taken by other bands. “We had a few names to choose from but none of them was really good and then one day, I just came up with C-Ciders when I was sitting on the bus. I thought it was quite appropriate because we drink cider and live by the sea”, Rachel laughs. “There is a drink called Sea Cider as well. We contacted them to use them for promotion. Hopefully, that will happen one day”, Jim comments on their name.
While the handyman and maintenance caretaker at the Saltdean Lido has been playing in bands all his life, Rachel didn’t really get into music until she was 25. A New Year’s Resolution made the trained hairdresser finally take a few singing lessons and head out for her first gig, also at The Prince of Wales. Her second job as a karaoke host in one of Brighton’s gay bars came in handy to get some more practice as she is usually the one to start off the karaoke evening.
Now, the duo plays up at Brighton’s Stanmer House every Sunday afternoon and comes out to the city centre to do some busking on Tuesdays. For them, busking is a good way to get their cards out to people who are interested in booking them for their private functions, birthdays or events. Next week they will be playing at a charity event in Peacehaven.
The most common way for them to end up playing a gig is through hand and mouth and open mic nights they regularly go to. But sometimes, Rachel just ends up with a random text message on her phone saying ‘I have an event coming up, can you play?’
Not fussy about what genre they play, Jim and Rachel have composed a repertoire of roughly a 100 songs basically covering the last six decades. Apart from their preference for feel-good songs, they play “everything we can knock down to two voices and a guitar”, as Jim puts it. The duo even does a little bit of rapping as in songs such as Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ although their real favourites come from a different genre.
They might not have one specific favourite song they like to perform most, but ‘Perfect 10’ by The Beautiful South, the songs of American Soul duo Charles and Eddie and Bruno Mars are definitely top of the list for them as a duo as well as for their four-piece band of the same name.
With the “large version of The C-Ciders”, they play a lot of gigs in pubs around Brighton and are even looking into expanding the band a bit more. “We are just about to add a keyboard in and maybe one day get a brass section”, Jim jokes.
If you want to find out more about The C-Ciders, go and see them busking in the city centre on Tuesdays or at Stanmer House on Sundays. Or visit their Facebook page.