Tag Archives: live in staines

THE ALI MAC BAND — Live in Staines

Original Birdman ALI MACKENZIE with his renegade pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll talent — Strawbs drummer Richard Hudson, Glitter Band bassist Bill Phillips, and Renaissance guitarist Simon Bishop — form the ALI MAC BAND.

They play good-time rhythm and blues, replete with soul-thumping harmonies and the tightest musicianship you are ever likely to witness.

We saw their sold-out show this February 16 at the STAINES RIVERSIDE CLUB.

Their perfectly handled recreations included many favorites from the American soft-jazz songbook ( like Little Feat’sWeed, whites and wine…” flavoured ‘Willin‘ ) and teasing blues pieces like Willie Dixon’s provocative “Hoochie Coochie Man” or intelligently voiced soul-hits such as Eddie Floyd & Steve Cropper’sKnock on Wood.”

THE ALI MAC BAND - the tightest musicianship you are ever likely to witness... Photo Credit @neilmach 2017 ©
THE ALI MAC BAND – the tightest musicianship you are ever likely to witness…
Photo Credit @neilmach 2017 ©

In the mid sixties THE BIRDS were the biggest rhythm and blues act in London.

They appeared on TV’s Ready Steady Go and released four hit singles including the Holland-Dozier-Holland number “Leaving Here.”

That Birds song went onto inspire Lemmy’s Motörhead [Leaving Here was their debut single — 1977.]

Famous for their vocal harmonies and exciting live performances THE BIRDS came close to becoming as big as THE WHO.

They first ventured onto the scene in 1964 as The Thunderbirds but decided to change their band-name to The Birds to avoid confusion with Chris Farlowe’s band.

But when “America’s answer to the Beatles” aka the folk rock band THE BYRDS entered the UK Singles Chart with “Mr. Tambourine Man” (1965) the British BIRDS were forced to take action to defend their “trading” name.

Surrounded by an excited buzz of media coverage, the BIRDS manager began to take legal steps to prevent the American upstarts from using their name. But the court favored the Los Angeles “Byrds” and by 1967 the British band had faded.

Ali McKenzie was the original leader of that particular ensemble (voice and harmonica) along with Ronnie Wood (guitar) Tony Munroe (guitars) Kim Gardner (bass) and Pete McDaniels (drums).

At Staines, Ali Mac’s band — understandably — distanced themselves from the compositions of Dylan and McGuinn. Instead they played some lasting rockabilly hits (such as Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” and Big Boy Crudup’s “That’s All Right”. )

With Simon’s effervescent guitar playing, Bill’s adventurous and tight bass and Hud’s precise rhythms, it was a night of class entertainment.

Ali’s remarkable vocal work — his mastery of tension and release — and controlled use of vibrato, was truly astonishing. It’s not often we witness vocal skills of this quality.

Another stunning show at Staines…

Support the RIVERSIDE CLUB and keep LIVE MUSIC alive…

Words & Pictures: Neil Mach 2017 ©
Link: https://www.facebook.com/StainesRiversideClub

LIZA MARSHALL with the Smokey Turtle Band

The country-music songwriter and guitarist Ray Peters usually fronts-up the talented Smokey Turtle Band with the excellent Dean Barnes on guitar and Hannah Cope on bass. But last night the good folks at Staines’s first-class Riverside Club were treated to the honeyed mellifluence of LIZA MARSHALL on vocals.

Liza’s voice is remarkable — husky with emotion it reminds us of early Carly Simon, but it also incorporates the trill and joy of Rita Coolidge.

Lynn Anderson was one of the many stars who covered “Drift Away” the song written by Mentor Williams. It was a good place to start. Liza’s voice was filled with cream and chocolate syrup for this. The song immediately delighted the crowd in Staines.

The Zutons creative number “Valerie” was super but most folk now contend that the Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse version is the “standard” recording of this high-bounce number. It was given superb balance together with tense and relaxed tones by Liza Marshall and the Smokey Turtles. Liza gave the song that same lively spirit and cool pop twinkle that we loved on the Winehouse variant.

Liza Marshall with the the Smokey Turtle Band vocalist Ali MacKenzie [inset]
Liza Marshall with the the Smokey Turtle Band vocalist Ali MacKenzie [inset]
Perhaps it is no surprise that Liza covered the Marvin Hamlisch James Bond number [with lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager] — “Nobody Does It Better.”

Her voice is well suited to this type of vigorous hymn. With sexy cassis-flavoured low-notes, this number sent goosebumps down our spine and earned the biggest applause of the evening. Continuing this Carly theme, a James Taylor song was also covered.

An original Ray Peters song was performed with clarity and energy, and the set played out with a smooth rendition of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” the 1966 Motown Records number made famous by Marvin Gaye.

In the second half of the show we were entertained by special guest vocalist Ali MacKenzie [his ALI MAC BAND have played the Riverside Club, see here for review) and when Liza returned to the stage we enjoyed a sensual version of “When a Man Loves a Woman” a song that was first recorded by Percy Sledge in 1966. [Sledge died in April last year.]

The show was, more-or-less, wrapped up with the George Harrison number “Here Comes the Sun” — a song that was written not far from here, in the country house of Eric Clapton. Liza performed this as a solemn prayer of supplication (after a week of dark, cloudy misery) rather than the contemplative meditation that had been outlined by the “dark horse” back in 1969. The arrangement was moving and effective.

This was music of the very highest calibre, with some excellent guitar-work and imaginative, sometimes jazzy, development and paraphrasing of much-loved and familiar songs. All brought to brilliant life by a truly transcendent singer.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2016 ©
Link: https://www.facebook.com/TheRayPetersBand/

 

WHITE_SQUARE_20

WHITE_SQUARE_20

 

Papa George & Micky Moody Bring It On Home to Staines

With a voice that was as thickly sweet as boat varnish and guitars that were as expressive as a Bombay Talkie, the two-man Papa George & Micky Moody show rode into Staines last night.

To our little ol’ club along the Staines Riverside .

Their show was filled with quality from start to finish. Full of extraordinary possibilities. Eloquent guitar work, chocolate vocals, theatrical performances (as agile as you can imagine) — with moods lightened by warm humour and genuine affection shown for (and by) the public.

We had numbers like “Bring It On Home” (a song written by American bassist-songwriter Willie Dixon) with articulate picking and brief but memorable forays into riff-work.

Papa George - Eloquent guitar work, chocolate vocals...
Papa George – Eloquent guitar work, chocolate vocals…

And the treatment of the multi-layered and extraordinarily poignant blues ballad “Please Send Me Someone to Love” was exceptional.

With wonderful interaction between guitars. And rhythms that were always precise and excellently controlled.

A show highlight was Little Feat’sSailin’ Shoes” with its lazy pace, languid guitars and a tropical heat that pervaded every nuance.

Another ‘tropical’ number was the poetic “Moonshadow On Coconut Grove” one of the songs written by Papa George himself (it’s available on his Live At The Ram Jam album Featuring Alan Glen.)

This romantic number described his feeling of kinship with the ever-young ‘Blue Hawaii’ Elvis.

This was yet another beautiful evening at the Staines Riverside Club. With both players in great shape. (It’s nice to see Papa George enjoying himself again.) An incredible night.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2015 ©
Links: http://www.papageorge.co.uk/
http://www.mickymoody.com

Micky Moody - Wonderful interaction between guitars...
Micky Moody – Wonderful interaction between guitars…

Wonderful Americana — CASE HARDIN Live in Staines — Down By The Riverside

Case Hardin take their name from a character in the award-winning thriller by Boston Teran — ‘God Is A Bullet’.

This week we saw this amazing band (whose third album “Colours Simple” is soon to be released on Clubhouse records) at the excellent Riverside Club Staines on their regular “Down By The Riverside” blue-grass night.

The set proceeded quickly and smoothly.  Never letting the Staines crowd catch-a-breath between all the sorrowed lamentations and lazy waltzes.

Gow - angry white teeth shining through a black-dusty Che Guevara beard...
Gow – angry white teeth shining through a black-dusty Che Guevara beard…

There was something ‘Pete Duel’ about the frontman, songwriter and singer Pete Gow.

He looked like a dishevelled gunman. With a lop-sided Liam Gallagher style aspect and
angry white teeth that shone through a black-dusty Che Guevara beard.

Jim Maving,  on lead guitar, looked like a cowboy version of Burt Bacharach (with silver hair and angular face.) And Tim Emery on bass was like an eel. He stretched elegantly —  as every long note was carefully matured. Andy Bastow was the rhythm machine behind the others.

We were charmed by songs that were dark, sensual and intriguing. Like the mild-mannered “Three Beautiful Daughters” (the girls who were named “After hurricanes…”) with cantering beats and a sultry voice that was as fresh as marsh water in June. The lyrics convinced and fascinated us. And when we got to the swaying chorus, it was all we could do to stop ourselves being totally immersed in the Vermilion River-style muddiness, which became particularly sweet when the guitar drooled out.

Case_Hardin_ju_@neilmach 2015 ©
Case Hardin – Anguish, wading rhythms and haunted voice…

A crowd favourite was “Three For The Road” which was taken from the band’s
acclaimed album “Some Tunes For Charlie Spencer.”

Here the voice was friendly and relaxed. Guitars were pleasantly smooth and the rhythm was pretty leisurely.

This song moved a slovenly path like a muddy river… Before winding its way into a dark lake of mystery.

Like many of the Case Hardin numbers, there’s was an inevitable sadness in this song. And its only release (before any fall) was through the beautiful lyrics and the clever finger-picking.

As an encore, the band played a cover of the Felice BrothersWhiskey In My Whiskey”.  Here we had tot of anguish, a wading rhythm, a haunted voice, some finely picked guitars and — as always —a dark bone to chew upon & meditate over.

Some songs left us with a terrible pain in the chest. Others appeared to be sent from a higher power —as if the words had been specially chosen (for us) — perhaps to convince, remind or anoint us.  All the songs seemed to contain jots of sadness. But the overall atmosphere was cheerful, although not exactly breezy.

This was a night of witty and wading country rock, with beautifully developed guitars, slowly fermenting voices and richly addictive rhythms.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2015 ©
Link: https://www.facebook.com/casehardinband/

 

Rietta Austin – Live in Staines

You might expect a cynical or even a jaded offering from an accomplished pub singer and hard-working funk-rock / soul performer like Rietta Austin. But what greeted the music lovers at Staines Riverside Club on May 26 was a show of exquisite charm and unprecedented freshness.  Rietta was as bold and as sweet as any flush faced  teen performer you may see on telly. Yet  more polished and professional than any them!  A most unlikely “prima donna” indeed.

Flying into an amazing tear-away set – opening with a sweeping version of ‘Knock On Wood’ the ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ singer gave us a glossy, yet youthful, show at the Riverside Club.  Full of totally vivacious energy and warm heartfelt joy , the curvy singer seemed to be literally bursting with a lusciously infectious spirit.

Rietta is credited with being the first artist to open the O2 Arena in London headlining their Community Event June 20, 2007. [ http://youtu.be/D26whvywMG0]
Coming from New Zealand, and continuing to have many professional and personal ties with her home continent of Australasia, her voice has been described as “Truly a voice that must be heard.” – Kirk Pengilly, INXS

After telling the Staines audience that she would play a few of her own works, sprinkled with some choice covers, she sang the deliciously melancholy Stevens/Ross number ‘Wildflower’  followed by a virtuous cover of fellow kiwi Sharon O’Neill’s 1983 hit  “Maxine”.

By the Jon Bovi number “Livin’ on a Prayer”  (produced with great gusto and fire), we had already witnessed  her magnificent and legendary four octave vocal range. And an exciting wardrobe malfunction during a lively session of tambourine, was narrowly avoided when Rietta, looking down,  realized that she was about to be undone.

This was during one of a pair of numbers when the singer allowed the impeccably funky band some time to ‘go their own way’. Another such piece was the eloquently arranged Hendrix number ‘Little Wing’ where Tom Walker (Guitar) played out a solo of such amazing quality that he managed to gain his own warm ovation.

But it was Rietta’s sweetly booming voice that the punters had come for. From so low that you thought the earth beneath you would crack open, to higher than the highest conceivable highs – like a tiny songbird – her range is undefinable and utterly magnificent.  Each thrilling song was gloriously realized by a vocalist who is renowned, quite rightfully,  for her sensuality and her highly charged stamina. Sensational.

© Neil_Mach May 2012

Links:

http://www.riettaaustin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rietta/109666580268