Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Georgie Fame & the Guy Barker Big Band: Ronnie Scott’s, London 5/10/17

Georgie Fame: Ronnie Scott's, London 5/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com
Georgie Fame: Ronnie Scott's, London 5/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Georgie Fame: Ronnie Scott's, London 5/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Georgie Fame: Ronnie Scott's, London 5/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Georgie Fame: Ronnie Scott's, London 5/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Georgie Fame: Ronnie Scott's, London 5/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Georgie Fame: Ronnie Scott's, London 5/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Georgie Fame: Ronnie Scott's, London 5/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Georgie Fame: Ronnie Scott's, London 5/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com Georgie Fame: Ronnie Scott's, London 5/10/17 @bluesandsoul.com

Packed with talent, the Guy Barker Big Band opened up with a powerful, swinging instrumental version of “I Can’t Stop Loving You” with the only thing missing being Ray Charles.

Fame began with an energetic “Yeh Yeh” which he revealed had originally been an instrumental by Cuban percussion maestro Mongo Santamaria. He said how good it was to be back at Ronnie’s, joking “£50 a ticket? I can remember when the Blue Flames got our first £50 gig”.

“Sometimes I’m Happy” by King Pleasure was followed by a gorgeous version of Neil Hefti’s “Lil’ Darlin” which was slow, smooth and classy.

“Anthem For A Band” saw Fame at the piano (unfortunately no Hammond B3 at this show) laying down a funky groove with his singing enhancing the superb rhythm section of veteran guitarist Jim Mullen, bassist Chris Hill and drummer James Powell.

Fame’s tribute to his idol Mose Allison, "Cool Cat Blues”, again saw him at the piano and the theme continued with “Blues At The Bull” featuring a classy solo from Mullen.

After the interval, Fame took advantage of having a big band at his disposal to play two numbers from his musical “Singer” that never saw the light of the stage, “City Life”, a swinging number which gave the band room to breathe, and the title track. Then a rather bizarre number entitled “Will Carling” which was good musically but unsurprisingly lyrically ludicrous.

Fame then invited “my old mucker” Zoot Money to the stage for a raucous rendition of “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” and then the song which he had sung with the Count Basie Orchestra in New York City in 1967, “Bonnie and Clyde”. This puts Fame’s career in perspective as by this date he had already had three number one hits.

Finishing with “Blues Backstage” and the encore “A Declaration of Love” Fame demonstrated why he has been at the top of his profession for over fifty years. He shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. You know you’re going to get a good time with Georgie, he never fails to deliver.

PHOTOS: CARL HYDE
Words CHAZ BROOKS

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