Review: The Shakers – BJ’s Blues at Hop Pocket, Chorley – 14 July 2011

Posted on: Sunday, Jul 24, 2011

The Shakers
At the Hop Pocket Public House On Carr Lane Chorley.
Presented by Lucas Campbell at BJ’s Blues Club  on the 14 of July 2011.

This great band from the Fylde area thrilled the crowd at the northwest’s number one venue .

The Shakers are an entertaining blues band from the Fylde coast, they played their blues with a difference,and that difference was a sensational female vocalist  by the name of Frances Lee.  Fran has she is called in the band grew up in a jazz environment,listening to her father Dave Lee and his Jazz,  a leading light on the jazz scene along the Fylde coast.  Frances cleverly combines  her jazz background with the blues and her amazing dark brown chocolate voice, melts around the lyrics of classics like  I’d Rather Go Blind and Need Your Love So Bad, among others.  A few years down the line, Fran has carved a unique singing voice like no other I’ve heard, and with ease it seems that any song Fran sings is a instant delight.

Phil Marlow and John Carroll, who were looking for a singer, found one in Fran and together formed the core of the band in 2009.
Phil plays drums, he comes from Preston and is also from a musical background.  Phil’s father was a club singer in and around the Northwest area.  Phil’s two brothers are guitarists and play in bands in Manchester and Preston.  Phil a blues man first and foremost, has experience in other genres, he has played ,jazz, swing, rock and roll and the blues.

John Carroll is the front man of the band playing lead guitar and vocal,and it has to be said that he is not a shy performer.  During the show he took every opportunity to inter act with the enthusiastic crowd, jumping down off the stage and mingling with the audience, playing his riffs and conducting the band from the dance floor – simply engaging!

John led the band through two sets of blues and rhythm and blues numbers – a very good blend of  in your face music.  Johns guitar work wasn’t to shabby either, he took the music of Muddy Waters and B B King and put it through its paces – Explosive!

The crowd danced and sang along to such classics as Sweet Home Chicago, Hoochie Coochie Man, Crossroads and more .  They got the blend of music just right, and this hard working band reaped the rewards.

When you have, shall we say an elder statesman in the band with forty five years of experience clocked up, it has a stablising effect – step forward Brian Hunter.  He has graced the stage with the greats: John Mayall, Joe Cocker, Chris Farlowe and the great Alex Harvey, he also supported the Who
on their 1968 tour – any band would be thrilled to have this man at their side.

I have over the years seen a lot of bands and I am still amazed at the talent the Northwest has in abundance it seems.  I have to include this young guitarist to the ranks – his name is Chris Peacock.  This young man shows exceptional talent and  I am sure he  will be a name to look for in years to come.  Along with John, he played the lead and interchanged the riffs so much I just about kept up,with their play – Exceptional!

The band played their debut  at BJ’s Blues Club, and the presenter Lucas Campbell had nothing but praise for them.  I’m sure they will be back at this number one venue in the Northwest very soon.

All in all a great night out.

KEITH BLACKLEDGE
Music reviewer, Northwest

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