A superior night of musical entertainment was had by all this Thursday at Staines Riverside Club when the PAPA GEORGE BAND came to town to play a magnificent concert to a crowded house.
The award-winning blues-man PAPA GEORGE is one of the leading British live blues artists around and he’s a regular attendee at the Staines club, often appearing in company with MICKY MOODY or friend Alan Glen (the harmonica musician and band leader who was originally with The Yardbirds.) Like Alexis Korner, GEORGE is of Greek Cypriot origin.
His numbers almost always come with razor-sharp guitar-play that feels kinda swampy ‘n’ moist and often impudent in nature.
George introduced the others in his power trio quite early on: Peter J. Stroud (on drums, known for his work with The Foundations) and the amazing Pete Rees (the session bassist who is very famous for his work with Gary Moore.)
Their interpretation of “Red House” (Hendrix) was as authentically raw as the original, with lots of inventive guitar and many incredibly tight rhythms.
And there was plenty more waka-waka chung to be enjoyed on the self-penned “Blackjack” — one of the highlights of this top-level show. Of course, as we have said before, George’s voice is a mixture of dark molasses and plum wine, with the texture of worn leather and the bitterness of tobacco smoke. You could drown in his voice of tar and syrup, you really could! But this show was surprising due to the extraordinary electric guitar work that the maestro brought to Staines.
We all knew that George was one of the best blues singers on the circuit, a brilliant composer and a master of the Amistar resonator. What we didn’t know was that, armed with his Fender Strat or Flying Finn, he’d be the Southern Area Champion electric guitarist too! As one keen club-member observed, after a particularly spirited guitar solo: “I guess George is the best guitarist we’ve had in this joint.” I think he could be right!
The evening proceeded with splendid covers of old Elmore James, a Paul Rodgers penned blues paean (Muddy Water Blues ) and an old John Hiatt number (Feels Like Rain — made famous by Buddy Guy.) The concert ended with an ingenious and totally immersive rendition of the funky-soul hit “Superstition” (Stevie Wonder) that had originally been written with Jeff Beck in mind, for his Beck, Bogert & Appice project. At Staines Riverside Club, this song was a hugely enjoyable final piece, full of intelligent rhythms, extraordinary rebound and lots of cheerful energy.
What a show! What a guy!
Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2020 ©