After his last local show sold out fast, I booked my tickets to see Joe Brown & His Bruvvers at the Bedworth Civic Hall as soon as possible! I had seen the legendary Joe Brown once before in Bedworth, but also at the memorable Concert For George. Sticking with the George Harrison connection, I was especially looking forward to seeing Joe on this date - 25th Feb - Because it is George's birthday! - We also had a bag of jelly babies (The Beatles' favourite sweets) to eat! Had brilliant seats - 4 rows back, centre stage. Playing to the gathering audience was a lovely recording of instrumentals by Joe and the guys. Set out on the stage were a small selection of acoustic guitars, a snare drum, two mandolins, a double bass and microphones.
It wasn't long before Joe walked on stage sporting his cheeky grin! Not far behind him were Neil Gauntlett, Phil Capaldi and Dave 'Rico' Nilo - The Bruvvers. They started the night off "like they do in Nashville", and gathered around one microphone to sing acapella. Their voices blended perfectly - Neil with bassy vocals, Phil 'hitting the high spots' (The name of their new CD!), with Joe and Dave in between. One thing you're guaranteed at a Joe Brown concert is a wide range of songs and styles - And the content changes from tour to tour - Probably even show to show! The first half was acoustic based and included numbers such as, 'Midnight Special', a tune called, 'Ilfracombe Serenade', which to quote Joe, had been "written with Neil when they had got drunk one night in Ilfracombe while on tour!" It was also fun to hear, "Henry The Eighth" - One of Joe's classic recordings! As usual, we were treated to a few jokes and stories - Marty Wilde on becoming a pensioner, the younger generation being "dragged" to Joe's gigs, playing at the Lonnie Donegan tribute concert at The Royal Albert Hall and about his new guitar - On which he played, 'Proud Mary', amongst others.
After a short break, the "rock and roll" second half began. The curtains lifted to reveal a full drumkit, guitars and amplifiers. In recent years, I've become so use to Joe playing acoustically that it's easy to forget that it was playing the electric guitar that made him a household name! Songs from the second half included, 'Picture Of You', 'Sea Of Heartbreak', 'That's What Love Will Do' and 'Putting On The Style'. As always, there was a change in style when Joe spoke about folk music and his school music teacher. This was then proceeded by a couple of folk tunes on the mandolin with The Bruvvers backing. Again, we heard some more stories, some more Skiffle and to finish with, some rockers! The 'rock and roll' set included, 'Summertime Blues', 'Little Queenie' and Chas and Dave's, 'I Wonder In Whose Arms', which really rocked along with Joe's electric guitar and fantastic finger flying solos!
To close the night, Joe returned to the stage with a ukulele in hand to play a beautiful old song called, 'I'll See You In My Dreams', which has become world wide favourite since he performed it at the 'Concert For George' a couple of years ago. Hearing it being played again by Joe and The Bruvvers brought back memories of that night at The Royal Albert Hall and was one of the highlights of the night. They have made that tune their own and as Joe says, "It's one of those songs you'll be singing on the way home with a smile on your face". How true! A beautiful end to a great evening!