Review: Simon Honeyboy Hickling at the Appleby Blues Club

Posted on: Sunday, Dec 17, 2006


What a week! Kevin Thorpe’s Out Of The Blue in Liverpool on Wednesday, Connie Lush and Blues Shouter in Chester on Thursday and Simon Hickling and the DTs in Cumbria on Saturday. The third leg of this North Western relay took place under the auspices of the Appleby Blues Club in the Public Hall, Appleby-in-Westmorland, about fifteen miles from Penrith. The audience was far from being the largest entertained by the band, but they received the full Honeyboy treatment from start to finish of the gig. As ever, Simon was admirably supported by the excellent Bob Wilson on guitar and the unfailingly dependable rhythm section of Tony Stuart on bass guitar and Tony Baylis on drums.

Two marvellous sets had the highly appreciative gathering enthralled with a customary wide-ranging miscellany of the blues spectrum. The first set included a slow blues, the bouncy “Hey, Mattie”, some Chuck Berry, Freddy King’s “The Stumble” and a terrific rendition of Junior Wells’s “Broke And Hungry”. Throughout the set, the banter flowed like cider between Simon and the punters, not least with the club’s resident, head-banging air guitarist, who appeared to be speaking a mixture of Walloon and Esperanto. Undaunted, the Honeyboy conversed with him effortlessly, seemingly understanding every word. Why were we not surprised?

The second set witnessed increasing and expert use of the dance floor, as “Hi Heel Sneakers”, “Goin’ Up The Country” and “Mama Luchie” filled the air. Breathing was restored to normal as Simon delivered a terrific version of “Christo Redemptor” before the impressive gyrations were restored with “Wonderful Life” and a fabulous, extended delivery of “Boogie Chillun”. The vibrant performance was brought to a climax with “Promised Land” and the ever-popular “Big Train” to complete a great evening – and a great week of music. Oh, yes – and, as the photograph shows, CDs were on sale.

Lionel Ross

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