Red hot blues from virtuoso duo
Thursday, January 09 2014 @ 08:31 AM UTC
Contributed by: RussB
Put two blues legends together for an evening, and the classic songs and anecdotes could roll on forever, so far as I'm concerned. Paul Jones and Dave Kelly delivered on a whole range of levels at Worthing's St Paul's Centre, as you'd expect.
First up, on technical virtuosity. While both have been playing the blues for near on five decades, they sound superb: Kelly's deft fingerpicking mixed with total mastery of the art of slide guitar; Jones a real harp maestro, wringing real emotion from his harmonica – and both spot on with vocal duties.
Second, on sheer enjoyment of playing. While some of these classics they must have played hundreds if not thousands of times, they still sounded fresh and they looked and sounded like they were having fun.
Third, on value. A good two hours of music, a bundle of entertaining anecdotes – from Howlin' Wolf's determination not to let their roadie driving the tour bus fall asleep during the US legend's 1960s UK tour to why Sonny Boy Williamson fell out with The Manfreds – plus Jones' erudite blues knowledge, made for an absorbing evening.
Standouts from the evening included powerful versions of Robert Johnson's Dust My Broom, Memphis Minnie's When The Levee Breaks and Blind Alfred Reed's How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live.
Jones delivered two excellent gospel blues songs in You Gotta Move by Rev Blind Gary Davis and Eric Bibb's Don't Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down, and there were treats from Dave Kelly's solo albums including Mr Esty Said and an imaginative take on Otis Redding's Dock of The Bay.
Sound was generally good at St Paul's Centre, and visibility was improved in the second half when the duo were raised up higher. With no possibility of raked seating, the staging was a little low for those more than halfway back to see well.
It was great to see a full venue, and lots of blues fans young and old enjoying two veterans at the top of their game. A class night all round.