Ah, this will stand as one of those great events in my life, and I only hope that the little audio clip will give you some of the flavour of a night in the presence of a British soul legend, Chris Farlowe!
Accompanied by Blue Eyed Handsome Dad once again, we embarked on a musical journey into British soul history. Dad recalled the last time that he was lucky enough to hear Chris Farlowe sing, which he believes may well have been at The Flamingo Club in Soho in the height of 1966, when Chris was most definitely Number 1 amongst blue-eyed soul artists. He was riding high with his hit Out Of Time on Immediate Records, and Jagger and Richards, not to mention Mike D'Abo could not help but proffer him amazing material to record. This followed an outstanding year 1965 on record, releasing his EPs of soul classics which showcased his roaring and soaring, soul-shaking sound.
Well, we set off from the shores of town, west towards the nearby town of Worthing, arriving at a small seafront inn called The Half Brick, renowned for a regular line-up of local blues artists and rock tributes. This was something slightly more important, however. All the more bizarre, then, to discover that the headline act had been shunted into a cramped corner of the bar to make way for a wedding reception in the function room! The bar was absolutely jam packed, and at first we wondered if we would be able to make our way around the corner to view the stage.
No matter, we were here because for some they had been there. Blue Eyed Handsome Dad bumped into at least two old friends who remembered the days of modishness and could not resist the pull of Chris Farlowe. We endured the slightly over long set by the support act and watched the man himself, who had been relaxing comfortably at the front, stand up and take his place.
The band cranked up, and began to play "Ladies and gentlemen, Stormy Monday Blues!" cries Chris, then stops! ... "Wait a minute! They've forgotten how to bloody play it!" ribbed Chris, abruptly breaking away from the mike to turn and stare at the band. With a smirk he folds his arms and observes the guitarist and bass, as they realise their mistake and try to crawl the chord progression back to the correct key. Well, they make it, and off they go into Chris' first British hit record.
A slower and more reflective song next, Handbags And Gladrags, his hit from 1969. It was written especially for Chris by Mike D'Abo of Manfred Mann. It touches many in the audience tonight, who reminisce about those years ago. But not to let the maudlin set in, Chris livens thing up again with a defiant gesture against the passing years, Never To Old To Rock, Never Too Young To Roll.
Fired up by that, how could they but follow Chris as he berates the out of touch and old at heart with the astonishing Out Of Time? Well, at least the crowd are keeping up, singing along for all its worth. For some it seems the pace is getting to them: "I said baby, baby, baby .. you're out of tune!", adlibs Chris at one point, giving the band a worried glance.
Chris lets us pick anything we like for the encore, then immediately proceeds to sing exactly what he had prepared anyway, Johnny B Goode. Then he finishes with a storming rendition of Route 66 effortlessly better than Jagger could churn out.
I'm only sorry I couldn't share that one with you, but here is a taste of Friday's rendition of Out Of Time to give you a flavour of the night. "We hope you've had a good night, and you feeling alright; we thank you for coming along, hope you enjoyed the song, alright."
Chris Farlowe - Out Of Time (Live at the Half Brick, Worthing, Friday 1st 2008)
Thanks for a great night organised at the Half Brick by Bob. You can contact the Half Brick for other events at www.thehalfbrick.co.uk