Review: Eddie Martin at the Allerton Manor Club, Liverpool – 4 June 2009

Posted on: Monday, Jun 8, 2009

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The third acoustic blues gig arranged by John and Lorraine Welsh at the Allerton Manor Club was graced by Eddie Martin. At a previous gig, the highly popular blues man had appeared in band mode at the Liverpool Marina, but on this occasion he performed alone, following his presentation of a musical workshop earlier in the day at a school in the West Derby district of Liverpool.

Eddie opened the show with the self-penned upbeat shuffle, “Someone’s Making Money But I Know It’s Not Me”, which he dedicated to the notorious, retired chairman of a failed British bank. Robert Johnson’s “Little Queen Of Spades” briefly slowed the pace before “Toy Ballerina” rolled and tumbled, followed by a rousing delivery of Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips”. A harmonica instrumental in the style of Sonny Terry then demonstrated Eddie’s versatility. That led to a confession that his “One Man Band Rag” was based on a Paul Rishell riff, his guilt over which had subsided when he learned that Rishell had himself borrowed it from Blind Blake. For his own blues ballad, “Rebound Juliet”, Eddie switched for the only time all evening to his second guitar. Other than that, he played his recently acquired 1936 National, Old Goldie, supplemented by rack harp and amplified suitcase.

During the interval, the audience was fascinated by Colin Hall, the Custodian of Mendips, the house that John Lennon had lived in with his Aunt Mimi. Colin described a recent visit to the house by the Beatles tour bus. To his amazement and delight, he recognised one of the visitors as being none other than Bob Dylan, who was performing at the city’s Echo Arena. Colin also confided that the legendary songsmith was unpretentiously melting into the crowd and was both approachable and courteous, contrary to his popular reputation.

After the upbeat rocker, “The Devil’s Joker”, which described the subliminal criminality of a plausible jester, the second set proceeded with a string of numbers that encouraged audience participation. They started with the boogie, “Bundle Up And Go”, Muddy Waters’s “Close To You” and “Flowers To The Desert”. Eddie then explained that he had written the next song, “Ingolstadt (We’re Coming Back)”, in a fit of pique provoked by the last-minute cancellation of a gig in southern Louisiana at the end of a prodigiously long and tiring journey. The set was completed with another touch of whimsy underpinned by a boogie-woogie beat, followed by two encore deliveries: a train-journey harmonica instrumental and Elmore James’s “Talk To Me, Baby”.

The cosy atmosphere of the Allerton Manor Club was ideal for a typically entertaining performance by Eddie Martin, which combined excellent vocals, versatile musicianship and warm personality in equal measure. Marvellous.

Eddie Martin Website

Lionel Ross

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