I have said it before and I’ll say it again. “They don’t know how good they are.”

But when you don’t have any conceit or any pretensions to grandeur then this is what you get … honest-to-goodness hard-working fun … all the enjoyment you could imagine. The quality of the session shines through.

These individuals clearly love to work together – they enjoy producing a sound that works really well for them – and because they’re
entertained …  well,  it means we are entertained too!

It’s a simple formula but it’s surprising that some bands don’t quite ‘get it.’  But with “One For The Road” you always get the fun and the energy. That is why bands like this help remind you that it’s always best to experience music played live.

Kenny Mann - harmonica - one of his last Surrey gigs...
Kenny Mann – harmonica – one of his last Surrey gigs…

Sadly, the Staines Riverside show was one of Kenny’s (harmonica) last gigs.

The tall, hairy, congenial Scotsman has been a regular sight at the club for many years – not just playing with the ‘One for The Road’ band – but also supporting other bands and coming to the club to watch shows with the rest of us on Thursday nights. We will miss him a lot – but he hasn’t given up music all together – it’s just that he lives “A million miles away, now” and so he cannot keep making the journey back to Surrey.

And talking about rehearsals – last night’s show at the splendid Staines Riverside Club was not rehearsed. “That is how we do….” Kenny told me.

But so what? It may have been a bit rough around the edges. And Keith needed to read some of the more tricky song lyrics – maybe the ‘transitions’ were not as super-smooth as they should have been. But it was an authentic, entertaining, rock show. And rock is not about precision. It’s about attitude.

As unusual, we got a tidy collection of good old rock and roll, roots rock and heartland blues – all performed with the swagger we have come to expect.

Keith Beasley - Keith needed to read some of the more tricky song lyrics...
Keith Beasley – Keith needed to read some of the more tricky song lyrics…

Popular covers included “I Won’t Back Down” (Petty and Jeff Lynne) and “Folsom Prison Blues” (Cash.)

These were weaved in with some wonderful choices. From Steve Earle numbers, and songs written by JJ Cale and Dylan – and Keith’s own very memorable songs like “I Wanna Be An Outlaw”.

(Keith told the audience he had just returned from a huge road-trip around Arizona and Texas – he visited Earle’s childhood hometown of San Antonio and he saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform at Houston.) So we had a rousing version of the “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” as a celebration.

We have been waiting for someone to do a good cover of “Bad Things” ( the theme song for the HBO series True Blood.) This Jace Everett number – played by One For The Road – had all of the fetid ooziness and sweaty mire of a Louisiana swamp – you could just imagine it being played on the jukebox at Merlotte’s.

Wagon Wheel” is a song originally sketched out by Bob Dylan on his ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’ sessions. It was re-drawn and thoroughly
re-invigorated by the Old Crow Medicine Show and describes a hitchhiking journey down the East Coast of the States. It is one of those songs that is really infectious – it demands to be sung out loud -preferably by the whole congregation. The One For The Road Boys played a darned good version of this.  With twinkling guitars and stunning percussion.  They confessed to preferring the ‘Darius Rucker’ version. [See below] It was an inspired  choice for their show.

So, this was another great evening spent with some bona fide talent. In a great little club. So here’s to another chorus:

“Rock me mama like a wagon wheel…
Rock me mama anyway you feel”

@neilmach © 2014




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