Damian nips off to watch some legends
A friend had double booked so I got a call and hence I`m on my way to the leafy climes of Solihull to see The Manfreds. I`m sure they don`t need introducing but the group formed in 1991 as a reunion of former members of the 1960s-pop group Manfred Mann, however without their eponymous founder Manfred Mann. The Core Theatre is a nice, purpose built venue attached to Solihull Library and there isn`t an empty seat, as tonight`s show has been Sold Out for some time.
The lights dim and onto the stage walk original Manfred Mann members, singer Paul Jones, keyboard player Mike Hugg and guitarist Tom McGuinness, joined by Marcus Cliffe on bass, Simon Currie on saxophone/ flute and Rob Townsend on drums.
It`s straight into “The One In The Middle”, “Watermelon Man”, “I`ve Been A Bad, Bad Boy” and Bob Dylan`s “Just Like A Woman” before the Dorian Grey like Paul Jones passes the reigns to Tom McGuinness. Mr McGuinness explains that when Manfred Mann folded he thought he`d have to get, as his Mom said, a proper job but he met up with Hughie Flint and formed McGuinness Flint. They had a few hits so he plays “Malt and Barley Blues” for us.
Then it`s back into a song made famous by Georgie Fame “Yeh, Yeh” before the guys blow the place apart with the wonderful “Pretty Flamingo.”
“Oh No! Not My Baby”, the Oscar Brown Jr written “Brother Where Are You”, “That’s the Blues” and “Sha-La-La” wrap up the first half of the show.
There`s no rest for this hard-working troupe as I spot them lined up in the foyer, signing autographs and having selfies taken with adoring fans.
The second half kicks off with just Paul Jones singing a gospel tune before the band join him to play Ray Charles`s “Mary Ann” and then their first single “5-4-3-2-1”
The classic “People Get Ready” is shared before “I’m Your Kingpin” and a track from the band`s latest release called Makin’ Tracks, the first track on the release “Smokestack Lightning” which coincidentally was also the first track on their very first album back in 1964. Paul shares that he occasionally plays the writer Chester Arthur Burnett songs on the radio show he presents but people don`t recognise the name, until he explains that it`s Howlin` Wolf.
The Makin` Tracks tour is built around their new album ‘Makin’ Tracks which was recorded at Paul Weller`s studio and is a mix of Jazz and Blues covers.
Therefore, the guys cover the Crusaders “Put It Where You Want It” followed by their own “Come Tomorrow” before Tom plays another McGuinness Flint hit with “When I`m Dead And Gone” which was kept off the number one spot by Clive Dunn and Grandad!
The show closes out with two of the groups most recognisable songs with “The Mighty Quinn” and “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and leave the venue to a standing ovation.
The boys return for a final number with “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” a song that was kept off the top [ of the charts by none other than Ken Dodd and Tears.
This was a real cracker of a show, performed by some wonderfully talented musicians, of whom some are now Septuagenarians. If you can catch this tour, it`ll be well worth the effort.
How would I sum it up well maybe Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed but Something Definitely Blues.