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THE ANIMALS & STEVE CROPPER
Road, Birkenhead, 22 September 2011
On a day
when the sad news came that John Du Cann had passed away, it is easy to
reflect on the mortality of rock. And mentally ticking off bands/performers to see before shuffling off this mortal coil (both them and
me) guided my interest in this gig, the last of an extensive UK tour.
One of two
surviving members of the sixties band, John Steel, mentioned that the
following day they would be departing for a gig in Sweden and recounted
that Alan Price had left them in the lurch on the eve of a Swedish gig
back in 1965. They found a last-minute replacement in Mickey Gallagher
who was also present tonight.
an evening of nostalgia, like listening to Radio Caroline in the
mid-1960s when the original band had their greatest success: perhaps a
bit too R&B for rock and a bit too rocky for R&B. Of course in those days
they were fronted by Eric Burdon.
Pete Barton does a wonderful job on vocals, if you squint he could even
be a slightly broader Chas Chandler. The band is completed by John
Williamson, rather professorial looking, on guitar.
real treat of this show was the second half, featuring a true legend:
Steve Cropper. For most of his early career he has been holed up in a smoky
studio somewhere laying down some of the most memorable soul licks to
come out of Memphis, one wonders therefore how a 21-date tour of medium
sized venues in the UK sits with this Titan from Tennessee. He seemed to
be holding up well, given that in a month's time he will celebrate his
performance was spiced with anecdotes from a fascinating career, and
somehow reflecting a much simpler age. How the lack of a shower in a
Washington hotel room inspired the song he wrote with Eddie Floyd,
'Water', and how he worked up the classic 'Sittin'
On the Dock Of the
with Otis Redding. Priceless.
Colonel's chops are still as soulful and shiny as ever and this set was punctuated
with several Booker T & The MGs classics including a superb 'Hip Hug Her'
and of course the wonderful 'Green Onions'. Great back-up too from The
Animals, not least Gallagher's immaculate keys.
school, but a sixties masterclass nevertheless.
Leamington Spa, 9 September
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