Review: Joe Brown at Grimsby Auditorium
The eternally youthful Joe Brown bounced on stage, his perennial smile as bright as ever, pointing his finger at us he declared, “Yellowbellies!”
Considered by many to be a “chirpy cockney”, he proudly reminded us he was originally from these parts.
Joe introduced the first half of the show describing it as the “Front Room Set” and it really did have that warm intimate feeling as he chatted about each song.
The sound engineer helped by keeping the volume low, thus enabling us to savour each of the many instruments played by Joe and his band.
A band that includes his son Pete, Phil Capaldi, Mike Nichols and Ben Lee, their musicianship superbly complimented and blended with that of Joe, often described as a “musician’s musician”.
The Ukulele Album, released last autumn, provided many of the songs but disregard all thoughts of George Formby.
Fresh arrangements for this little instrument introduced a wonderful new dimension to such familiar songs as Mr Blue Sky, I’m Not in Love and an amazing rockabilly version of Motörhead’s Ace of Spades.
There was plenty of versatility as Joe and his band dipped into ragtime, Hawaiian flavoured tunes, long forgotten songs from his childhood and the golden age of the American west coast scene.
Unlike many of his generation, he does not simply rely on his back catalogue of hits and only That’s What Love Will Do emerged during the first set.
The second, however, saw a change of pace and tempo as I’m Henry The Eighth, A Picture of You and The Darktown Strutters Ball quickly flowed along with such favourites as Hava Nagila.
They prompted the biggest responses of the night, bringing some to their feet whilst the simplicity of I’ll See You in My Dreams proved a thoughtful farewell.
As always, his audience left fully satisfied and, 50 years on, I remain a Joe Brown fan.