The Band:- Jim Cregan, Ben Mills, Sam Tanner, Pat Davey & Geoff Dunn.
In a month where the Foxes have been in high spirits, they happen not to be the only ones, as down in the leafy London suburbs the league winners of the Vanarama National South division have just moved a step closer to the big time, although football aside, their choice of musical performers at their Basil Brush - Boom Boom club are already seasoned premier musician’s and as Rod himself has quoted “If you can’t afford my ticket prices, go see these guys – they’re just as good and half the price…” (Clearly from that
last sentence Rod is living in a fantasy world if he thinks we can still buy one of his tickets for £26!) …. In fact we probably pay more in “booking fees” on top of his prices than we do to get in to see Jim and the boys.
Once again, but on a sunny Sunday rather than a freezing Friday, Jim brought his band to my home borough, however there was a twist which Jim once coming on stage would soon highlight. Tonight on drums we are privileged to have Geoff Dunn, currently playing with Procol Harum, and can boast of being part of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and recording with Van Morrison on 4 of his albums. Unfortunately Harry James has been detained and we hope he is let out of prison fairly soon …
A regular band of “Smilers” had arrived and quickly made their way to the front by the stage (old habits die hard), but for myself, my wife and sister in law we were, for once, to stay towards the back, simply because I had persuaded my son, his new wife and her mother to come along (although sadly mother was a little unwell and didn’t accompany them). It’s funny how our small worlds bond at times, as at the wedding reception, sat next to my son’s new mother-in-law, she would say, “I went to see Rod Stewart in the early 1970’s and always liked his music”, being of typical Smiler anorak vain, I asked “Oh really, where was that at?”, - reply “Oh he played in Sutton about 1970 I think”, - “Are you sure your not thinking of late 1973 at Sutton Granada?”, - “No, I’m sure it was earlier than that”, - which prompted me to ask the question you never should do of a lady, - “If you don’t mind me asking then, how old are you?” – supplied with the answer I soon confirmed to her it was actually 20th December 1973 that she had seen Rod and the Faces (don’t blame me for not just saying “The Faces” – it’s the promoters fault..) and Alison and I were in that same auditorium that night as she would have been.
So leaving my little story line to one side, and back to the night’s entertainment, I will leave a little apology to all you Smiler folk for not being “at one” with you all, the plus points from being further back is you don’t walk out as deaf as a post, you don’t get to shudder if there is a bit of feedback from the speakers situated a couple of yards away from you and you do get to still get recognition from Jim when during I Don’t Wanna Talk About It you wave your light from your mobile phone …. Oh course the big disadvantage is you get John Gray kick your drink all over the floor so that the bar maids have to come out and mop it all up… Stupid place to park ones plastic cup granted … No need to send the “top up” in the post John,honest.
Back to the music then, I always love the tune up “intro” to the bands opening number Baby Jane, it’s a Rod song that is made for Ben’s voice which has that “old” Rod rasping pitch to it that in truth is even more unique than Rod’s in my opinion. As each songs reeled off the production line, which we could easily see the running order being stood by “Jim’s equivalent to George Martin” ensuring the sound was tuned as close to perfection as possible by the exit / entrance door. It appeared to be flowing in the same order as my last visit here back in September. I could not make the Christmas event as I had flu all over the festive period – no need for sympathy honest … so rather than list each song I list the playing order for the night below. It also spares you having to read all my added dribble…
But this was not an exact track match as September we were not blessed with the song that our boy had sung as a 4 year old in 1990 – the great Tom Waits Downtown Train, (perhaps Jim knew he would be coming along for the first time …) – this replaced Brighton Beach from September which looking at my review then I did comment upon maybe not a personal choice to play at every event (blimey does that mean Jim’s been reading my reviews and has tailored his play list accordingly?). I guess without Harry on board it was no surprise that Losin’ You was not on the track list – but instead to keep the number of songs at 19 they included a Bob Dylan number from his 1979 album Slow Train, “Gotta Serve Somebody” – now forgive me here, you see I’m not a great Dylan fan, granted he is an amazing song writer, but does not float my boat in the same way he does so many others. I’m not knocking it’s addition because I do love to hear different numbers. But this did very little for me, sorry to say.
Just to mention a couple of highlights though (as it would be foolish not to – although perhaps I already have!) being at the back provided the ideal opportunity when “Talk About It” started, Alison and I quickly switched the torch light on our phones waving methodically in the air, which Jim would notice, point at us and laugh. The other great feature that is always worth a mention is the reggae vibe added to Young Turks, I do love that and long may it continue, you sort of get that where Rod has added Love And Be Loved in a similar fashion to Another Country probably emanates from.
With the normal Maggie ending and three track encore the night had passed away once more in a flash, Jim would say how much he loved coming back to the Boom Boom, it was after all he said his first venue when he put together his own band for the first time. He said the reception he got and the fabulous sing a long we provided always made the place special and he will keep coming back as long as we came along to show our appreciation.
Now my entourage had itchy feed to head for the door, meaning I would fail to say “farewell” to the Smiler crowd – but before I was wrenched out screaming and shouting, I approached Jim’s “George Martin” and said “You don’t need that song play list do you? I want to write a review and would hate to get the track order totally wrong” – a bemused look back at me and he said “ You know your very scary, I don’t want to mix it with you, here you can have it” – so without further Foolish Behaviour with an exchanged smile and laugh we were on our way out knowing it won’t be very long before we see Jim again, with our Rod tour concert booked for Southampton on 10th June, eight days later we will be at Hurtwood to enjoy another Kenny Jones production filled with fantastic artists including Jim and the boys.
So until next time – here’s the play list – and just in case Jim reads it a couple of numbers to think about throwing in next time around based on the albums he was so involved with !!!
Play list in order, Sunday 29th May 2016:-
Baby Jane, Forever Young, Hot Legs, First Cut Is The Deepest, Burlesque,Wild Side Of Life, Downtown Train, You’re In My Heart, Come Up And See Me, Gotta Serve Somebody, Handbags And Gladrags, I Was Only Joking, Passion, I Don’t Wanna Talk About It, Young Turks, Maggie May: Encore (Without leaving the stage) Twistin’ The Night Away, Sweet Little Rock ‘n Roller and Have I Told You Lately … which Jim dedicated to us as a crowd that always gives his band a reception filled full of love in return….
Jim, so what would I love you to do, well here is a favorite (or 2) from each album:-
Let’s skip Atlantic Crossing and A Night On The Town, you cover the best unless you do Georgie.
Footloose:- Keep Me Hanging On – Or If Loving you is wrong (preferred)
Blondes:- Attractive Female Wanted.
Foolish:- Title track or Oh God,
Tonight I’m Yours:- Jealous or Tora Tora,
Skip 3 albums to Out of Order:- My Heart Can’t Tell Me No….
Review By Colin Baker
Photo Yve Paige