You couldn’t get two more talented bluesmen together than this. Rock guitar wizard Micky Moody (Whitesnake) along with classic ‘Blues With a Feeling’ guitarist Papa George at The Riverside Club Staines. Micky Moody seated slightly loftily on the glittering stage of the Staines Club, vaunting his Les Paul, and Papa George, slightly lower, embracing his custom steel guitar.
“Well, are you ready for this?” George asked the crowd, the excitement already building. A warm round of applause followed. “Right, then, lets move on …” And we went straight on a trip … starting with the warmth and glowing hypnotic genius of “You Can Love Yourself.” ( contemporary Delta blues artist Keb’ Mo’)
Clearly, both artists are masters of the guitar – but the voices are also impeccable. As we approach “Jesus on the Mainline” (trad: but normally associated with slider Ry Cooder,) Papa George’s voice is darker, more whisky and dry whilst Micky’s vocals are finer, they seem stretched- they are harder.Together, these elements create a magical potion. Crowd participation was encouraged gently, without becoming uncomfortable. As I looked around the club I could see almost everyone was happily singing along to the chorus.
The atmosphere was relaxed and unpressured. And you felt that you were witnessing two of your favourite artists jamming away in your own lounge. Such is their easy-going style and their friendly light-hearted manner, it is as if you are enjoying an evening with friends. And that’s how it should be.
Included in the set were at least a couple of Papa George’s own compositions, including one of my own favourites “Broken Mirror”. It is at these points that you realize how skilled these musicians really are. Their improvisations are amazing. Both guitarists consistently demonstrated a mastery not only of the blues guitar, but also classical and flamenco guitar. The finger tapping percussive style of Micky Moody was particularly fascinating.
Songs like “Sailin’ Shoes” (written by Little Feat guitarist Lowell George) allow the partnership to flourish. Here the intricate patterns created by the splendid finger-picking from George, surround the sweeter notes soared up by Micky.This song allows the duo to explore new undiscovered territories – all the while branching out with fresh sounds – whilst the audience happily goes along for the ride.
Papa George is a first-class vocalist with a creamy dark chocolate voice that smothers you in those deep molasses. Micky Moody is a snake-charming smooth handed guitar player and a talented vocalist. Together they played a concert that was uplifting – almost spiritual …. what a night!
© Neil_Mach April 2012