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Honeydrippers Rockola and surprise Beckola in the Midlands

15 February 2007 1,917 views No Comment

Just back from a whirlwind stop over in Dudley to catch The Return Of The Honeydrippers charity show at JB’s Club. And quite a night it was. Mike Sanchez and The Big Town Playboys got the evening off to a suitably rocking start with an hour long set of pure roughshod rock’n’roll aided by Ricky Cool and Andy Silvester. Before the main event there was a real surprise. Jeff Beck strolled on the stage, white Telecaster in hand to perform three instrumental jams supported by a two man rhythm section with the Playboys Ian Jennings on bass. Looking for all the world like he’d stepped off the set of that famous Yardbirds club appearance in the Blow Up film, he proceeded to deliver those familiar guitar histrionics that has carved his legend. The total surprise element in viewing one of the pioneering guitarists of all time right there just a few feet away was absolutely startling. Scrubbing the axe for all it’s worth, finger picking up the fret- this was a masterclass of electric guitar playing. Listen to this Eddie? He really ought to because this man still has it … In droves.

Then followed the return of The Honeydrippers. Witnessing the singer back among friends, effortlessly guiding the enthusiastic audience through the backwaters of his record collection was a total joy. Highlights: The back to back Elvis Mess of Blues/Little Sister opening, Robert taking a backing vocal role to Mo Birch’s lead on Gonna Work Out Fine, a beautifully laid back Black Magic Woman, a nostalgic Big Log with Robbie Blunt recreating the spirit of ’83, Muddy’s Just Can’t Be Satisfied with Robert on harp and a vibrant Daddy Rolling Stone with great back up vocals from Mo and Nadia Pearson. In the encores they even did a version of Delaney And Bonnie’s Comin’ Home, one of my all time faves (I really should have had it in my 50 at 50 list) and a single I brought when it first came out back in 1970.

Forget The Police and anyone else rumoured to be reforming … 26 years to the day of their first gig, The Honeydrippers made this the only reunion worth talking about around these parts … and provided a memorable 60th birthday for sound engineer Roy Williams. Full story of this inspiring Valentines evening to follow in Tight But Loose issue17.

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