Saturday, September 22, 2007


"Let's Ballad!" was the opening shout last night from Richard Hawley. I have to admit to not 'getting' Richard's music until now. I'd half-listened to one of his early albums and never gone back to it. I only listened to Coles Corner for the second time on the bus home from work on the day of the gig. But on that second listen I started to understand the fuss. And then a cracking live performance - especially of songs I wasn't really familiar with - plus some foul-mouthed Sheffield Working Man's Club banter made for a great evening.

Richard was accompanied by a four piece (bass/stand-up bass, guitar, drums and keyboard) and the largest array of guitars I have seen this side of Spinal Tap. I think the set was mainly from Coles Corner and Ladysbridge ("not a euphemism") but I could be wrong. I recognised the title track from Coles Corner (biggest cheer of the night?), Just The Rain, Born Under A Bad Sign and Darlin' Wait for me. Finished with three encores: a hear-a-pin-drop gorgeous ballad, a cover of Hank Williams I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (with harmonica from Clive Mann) and The Ocean.

I remain an unbeliever no more. Band performed in front of a beautiful ruched backdrop and mirror ball - photo doesn't do justice to this though.

Richard Hawley
Coles Corner [buy]

Albert King
King of Blues Guitar [buy]

Richard said that Born Under A Bad Sign was about his coming to terms with drinking too much and rather than worrying about it he just accepted it. It has nothing to do with the Albert King song other than sharing the name. But you can't miss the excuse to play this classic.

Support was from Kate Walsh. Female singer-songwriter with acoustic guitar - could easily have been cookie-cutter version of [insert name her] but I could see why she is garnering such praise. Great presence, distinctive and powerful voice and strong songs. Buy her new album here and check her autumn tour dates here.

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