Monday, November 26, 2012

Speaking of the 'Speakeasy' ...

Information that ends up as part of the London rock tour itinerary can come from some of the unlikeliest of places! Swindon Arts Centre for example. For readers not aware of the UK's geography, the town is about 120 miles west of London; not high on the list of 'must see' towns unless you have an interest in railway history. One great attraction last week, however, was an appearance there of Andy Fairweather Low and his 'Low Riders'. Welshman Fairweather Low is one of those characters in rock whose name should be familiar to all and whose performances set in large concert venue but, inexplicably, he plays gigs like 200-seat arts centres in provincial towns. Why should his name be familar? Older rock fans will remember the great 60s pop/soul band, Amen Corner; Fairweather Low was lead singer on hits 'Bend Me Shape Me', 'If Paradise is Half as Nice' etc. He then went on to the eponymous 'Fairweather' with one hit 'Natural Born Sinner'. Then a couple of mid-70s hits as a solo performer, most memorably, 'Wide-eyed and Legless'. So far so good but there's so much more; there followed twenty-four years with Roger Waters; membership of George Harrison's band; twelve-years with Eric Clapton, including musical director on the seminal 'Clapton Unplugged'. The musician's musican. If you were not familiar with the Fairweather Low name before then you must now wonder why! One possible theory is that he's a generous and unassuming man; no 'rock star' persona, never falling for the great 'I am' role, always crediting others where due (including current band members)and understating his own amazing credentials. As this is not a 'review' blog, we'll leave the concert report to simple tweet length; 'intimate, first class night featuring an eclectic mix of blues, soul, pop and sentimentalism from a really personably man in complete command of his instrument, and showing great respect to his unaccountably small but loyal following'. But back to the reason for the blog; the discovery of new London rock tour information. Having a post-concert chat with Fairweather Low, he volunteered the fact that the photograph on Amen Corner's first album cover was taken inside the fabled Margaret Street 'Speakeasy Club'. It's so
rare to discover any photograph of a band actually playing at the 'Speak' that this fact alone will ensure that anyone taking a London rock tour will be hearing more of Fairweather Low!

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