Saturday, January 27, 2007

Jack Ashford & Joe Hunter in Manchester 25/1/07

With Jack & Joe
My wife Barbara and I had a very enjoyable night in Manchester with Jack Ashford and Joe Hunter and a gang of excellent musicians who treated us to over 2 hours of Motown classics. This time around Jack and Joe gave us their intepretation of the classics rather than a note for note rendition when they last toured in the UK with the Funk Brothers a couple of years ago. Jack was his usual avuncular self on vibes and tambourine and Joe seemed to be having a ball on organ.
The whole night was held together by Larry Johnson a Memphis resident like Jack Ashford and an ex Bar Kays member. He led the singing and hosted the event though Jack Ashford gave a poignant tribute to the deceased Funk Brothers.
The highlights for me were "What's Going On?" wonderfully interpreted by Larry; "Uptight" which was a furious power driver; while another Stevie Wonder gem, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" was also delivered with gusto. Larry and Valencia Robinson, one of the female backing singers, did a beautiful medley of Marvin & Tammi classics including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". There were several Temptation songs performed including an energetic "Ain’t Too Proud To Beg" and a riotous extended version of "Shotgun" which ended the show - they certainly went out on a storm!

Angelo Earl & Larry Johnson

The night was also a chance to catch up with my good friend Angelo Earl from Memphis, who was buzzing from the enthusiastic response of the Manchester crowd. Angelo played lead guitar on the show and even got a chance to get "off the leash" to show his dynamite playing on "Shotgun". He will now have finished the tour with Jack and Joe but he will soon be packing his bags again to start a Stateside tour with Bobby Bland. He also informed us of several projects he is currently working on of his own including new material from Tim Terry.

The after show party was attended by over 300 fans, which included the opportunity to meet Jack and Joe, as well as listening to a Motown set from Richard Searling. Richard had the chance to dust off all his green and red and white UK Tamla Motown 45s and give us a grand musical backdrop to the after show drinks!

The night was also an opporunity to hang out with old friends John Clement and Kevin Horsewood - my Soul Night buddies - and their respective partners Lynn and Heather.

A very good night at the excellent Bridgewater hall which is a bit more classy than most soul music venues I've been to in the past!!

1 comment:

  1. It was nice to come across this piece about Papa Joe. He was an incredible person and a great talent. We'll miss him.