Tag Archives: Steve Whalley

STEVE WHALLEY — Live at Staines Riverside Club

Here at AD PONTES we always said that STEVE WHALLEY is the zen master of cathartic liberation.

Steve Whalley – an interpretation that was incredibly perfect. Picture by @neilmach 2017 ©

There is no nonsense or schmaltz in his show, oh no!

He will tear your emotions apart before healing you with a frenzy of dramatic soul & rock numbers from the song books of heroes like Tom Waits and Dylan.

And at Staines Riverside Club last night, after an excellent start that included a stylish Leon Russell type “Youngblood” Steve tried some new material.

In fact he even produced a special guitar for the Ry Cooder number — Vigilante Man.

This is a dangerous tool ...” he alerted the audience. “I have to keep it set to stun, otherwise it will cause some serious damage...”

His interpretation was incredibly perfect. And although we know that Steve’s one of the best vocalists on the circuit, it was clear from this number that we shouldn’t underestimate his guitar skills either… His blues-picking and finger slides were remarkable.

Steve with Tat Whalley – Tat Whalley… ” he eclipsed my achievements many times” Picture by @neilmach 2017 ©

The incredible rhythmc finger-picking skills were evident again on the “Kingston Trio” style Bahamian folk song John B. Sails [aka Sloop John B.]

It was a sensational way to end a memorable night.

With his son Tat Whalley on bass (he eclipsed my achievements many times) and Bruvvers/Meal Ticket drummer Chris Hunt [he taught me everything I ever needed to know about music] this was one of the best concerts of the year.

And the amazing thing is that Steve suffered a nasty head-cold head all night long. And complained, often, “ I cannot hear a damn thing...”

We can’t imagine how good this would have been if Steve had been in ship-shape condition and didn’t feel “so broke up...”

If you missed the show, regularly visit the STAINES RIVERSIDE club for quality live music [every other Thursday] and most weekends. Please support your local live music venue.

Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2017 ©


STEVE WHALLEY Live in Staines

Watching Steve Whalley perform is like having all your anxieties and emotions torn from you and tossed into the wind — like confetti — then patiently and kindly stuck back together, with paste and water, by the good-hearted musician himself, on mandolin and guitar.

He is the master of cathartic liberation — not hokey or schmaltz.

Always in charge. Always ready to create reality and grit. Always able to inject a slice of humor. Inevitably, he will tear your emotions apart — before putting you back together like a paper mache doll.

Songs like the Tom Waits number “Downtown Train” (Rod Stewart’s cover got to number 3 in the charts in 1989 ) contain the same manly confidence as the original. A little cheeky. And very smoky. At Staines Whalley also managed to capture the same elegant shimmer of guitar that was heard on the “Rain Dogs” version.

Speaking of virility, Whalley loves to show off his unwearied masculine spirit.

He made several naughty comments during the set. When he introduced the crowd at the Riverside Club to Mose Allison’sEverybody’s Cryin’ Mercy” he could not help but leer and drool — sticking out his tongue like a puppy trying to reach for an ice-cream …

He explained that he first saw this song performed by Bonnie Raitt. “Cor!

Steve Whalley with Tat Whalley and Chris Hunt performing at the Riverside Club Staines on April 21st 2016. Image by @neilmach 2016 ©
Steve Whalley with Tat Whalley and Chris Hunt performing at the Riverside Club Staines on April 21st 2016. Image by @neilmach 2016 ©

This song is a slow-stomper with Whalley employing his acoustic guitar to pick and slide as well as use it as a rhythmic instrument. Thus he is able to dramatically get across the main point of the number “Everybody’s Cryin’ peace on earth…” by pounding the body and striking the strings. His voice was gravelley one moment, liquid silver the next. An amalgam of softness and pain.

Other stand-out songs were the sparkling “Big Love” and “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” from Dylan’s 1966 album “Blonde on Blonde.” This song allowed Whalley to confess that good shoes get him turned on. “My fantasy is that hot girl in the Special-K commericals … You know the one who wears a skin-tight red dress and shiny red heels…

We travelled all around the States with Whalley too. From Chess Studios, Illinois to way down below The Mason–Dixon line. “Where it’s hotter than a whore’s drawers on Navy Day…

The best of these musical excurions led us to Atlantic City, New Jersey for Bruce Springsteen’s “escape movie” song “Atlantic City.” This number allowed Whalley to examine another of his regular themes — facing death — and wondering aloud what will become of us: “Maybe everything that dies someday comes back…” This was particularly pertinent on the night we saw Whalley perform because the world had just been informed (a few hours earlier) that Prince was dead.

When we saw Steve Whalley’s show in Staines he was accompanied by the British actor Tat Whalley on bass guitar. “Tat has eclipsed my accomplishments many times over…” Steve told the audience “But above all, I am most proud that he is my son…

On drums was the versatile “Bruvvers” Drummer [ Lonnie’s too, as a matter of fact] Chris Hunt. This trio played together with grace and fluidity — the numbers never seemed hasty… yet the musicians were always fully absorbed.

This was another excellent night of high-quality music down at the Riverside Club in Staines. With some dramatic soul — bordering on frenzy at times — and a lot of sophisticated guitar-play plus a voice so earthy you could almost grow your vegetables in the nutrients…

We saw Steve Whalley with Tat Whalley and Chris Hunt performing at the Riverside Club Staines on April 21st 2016.
If you like this, why not check out the Crawdaddy Blues Band
Saturday 23rd April at the Riverside in Staines
Words & Images: @neilmach 2016 ©



Legendary Vocalist STEVE WHALLEY Live at Staines Riverside Club

Steve and “Tat” Whalley with Major Baldini at Riverside Club, Staines

Johnny Too Bad” is like a companion piece to “Johnny B. Goode”. The other side of human nature, if you will.

And this song ‘travels’ with each new musician, who all add something of their own to the number. So it grows like a river.

It was taught to Stevie by Taj Mahal. He tells the story of how he learned it from the great American blues musician whilst he was at Glastonbury in the 1980’s. Then he surrenders his passionate, angry / sad rendition to the Staines audience. It is filled with despair. Highly effective and passionate.

Walking down the road with a pistol in your waist / Johnny you’re too bad /

We were lucky enough to see Steve Whalley at the Staines Riverside Club this week.

Steve Whalley with son Tat (right) on bass guitar... Photo @neilmach 2015 ©
Steve Whalley with son Tat (right) on bass guitar… Photo @neilmach 2015 ©

Steve has previously performed at Staines.

When we last saw him, the show was (more or less),  a one-man effort. Steve was sitting on a stool. Fascinating, dynamic and serious.

This time, though, the showman appeared with his son Tat on bass guitar (Tat also plays bass with Danny Fontaine And The Horns Of Fury) and also with the über-talented Major Baldini on drums. This gave Steve a little more latitude to explore, choosing to be seated with his acoustic guitar for the first half of the set and then, for more spirited numbers, standing with mandolin & electric guitar, for the second half.

The ‘cabaret’ song ‘Easy Money’ was one of the attractions of the evening. This is about the unsuspected dangers of falling for an easy-living woman with love for sale. The sympathetic ballad ‘Rodeo Girl’ shone like glittering rhinestones and spurs. We also had covers of Springsteen and Dylan songs.

One of the most striking of these was Steve’s version of Dylan’sIsis’ taken from the ‘Desire’ album. This song is all about the folly of leaving love behind. You get the feeling that Steve is a man who copes — at times — with a heavy heart. He may well have left good love behind — one-or-twice. Whilst performing, the torment rarely leaves his face. Singing these songs is like telling a personal story, each one more harrowing than the last. He re-lives the discomfort each time. His face becomes animated with trouble. And every word is enunciated with barely controlled emotion.

Desire by Bob Dylan

It’s not all heavy, though. Steve can be humorous too. “We tell a few jokes….” He tells the audience with a wink. “We brought along some tumbelweed though… Just in case!

Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”  is played with a reggae rhythm. And is a favourite with the Thameside gathering. It’s just amazing, the sounds he can get out of those instruments!

Then we arrive, all too quickly, to the final part of the show. The rock ‘n’ roll. With classic Chuck Berry and “Johnny B. Goode”. This is the song that was shot into space on the Voyager Golden Record.

Those who neglected this concert from the Sad Café genius missed an opportunity to see one of the best R&B artists ever to visit Staines. For pure tension, musical integrity and master narrative, this was an unforgettable evening of music. In a very special place.

Images & Words: @neilmach 2015 ©

Link: https://www.facebook.com/Steve-Whalley-131358276973290/