‘Can this white man sing the Blues?’ sang Deacon Blue. This Welsh lad certainly could, as well as Blues he sang Soul, Ska, Country, and even a bit of Gospel. Not only that, but Andy Fairweather Low showed he could make his guitar talk a bit! This has surely been helped by many years playing alongside the likes of Eric Clapton.
‘This place is fabulous. It’s certainly on our schedule for next year,’ said Fairweather Low during his band introductions. As previously, the Low Riders consisted of Dave Bronze (bass and vocals), Nick Pentelow (sax) and Paul Beavis (drums) but was further beefed up with Richard Milner (Hammond Organ); Pete Cook (baritone sax) and Matt Winch (trumpet). The extended horn section certainly added a new dimension, at time veering into Atlantic Soul whilst at others bordering on New Orleans Jazz.
Having had a successful pop career as lead singer in Amen Corner and Fairweather, Fairweather Low went on to have a very successful solo spell in the 70s. In his intro to Bebop ‘N’ Holla he noted that this was the last single before AM dropped him in favour of the Sex Pistols. ‘Punk came along and that was me finished!’
On the evidence of this performance in Lowdham, it is hard to credit that Fairweather Low went for decades without a record contract, eventually returning with the album Sweet Soulful Music (2006) from which the Low Riders played the title track and several others.
‘I’ve been in the business for fifty years but working with these guys I think this is the most enjoyable time,’ affirmed Low before launching into Route 66. From here it was just solid class right through till the final song the gospel, Amen.
‘We always finish with this and we hope you’ll join in,’ said Fairweather Low and the crowd were not about to let him down. You could easily have been in a Welsh Chapel from the resounding audience contribution rather than an English Village Hall.
The repertoire was dominated by blues. Gin House Blues proved both a highlight and an opportunity for band members to play extended solos. There was contrast as well. Amen Corner hit, We’ll Fly High In The Sky had folks singing along, as did Wide Eyed And Legless. Similarly downbeat was Hymn For My Soul a lament for when you feel down and out.
The horns featured heavily into two segues: a Stax mash up, including Ride A Pony, Get Up And Get Down, and Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song), and an instrumental mix of Tequila, Peter Gunn and Apache. There was also chance for Fairweather Low to show off some finger picking in old American Folk classic Freight Train
Never one to let a crowd down, Low encored with If Paradise Is Half As Nice before rounding things off with the afore mentioned Amen.