Live review: Alfie Ibbotson’s Popular Beat Combo at BJs Rock In The Blues, The Minstrel, Chorley: 12th March

Posted on: Sunday, Mar 15, 2015


Review for ‘ALFIE IBBOTSON’S POPULAR BEAT COMBO’ @ BJ’s ‘Rock in the Blues’ Club, The Minstrel, Chorley – 12/03/15

The return of the North West band ‘Alfie Ibbotson’s Popular Beat Combo’, to BJ’s ‘Rock in the Blues’ Club at the Minstrel in Chorley, was a breath of fresh air. Having now established themselves as a competent covers band, with an extensive set list, they brought to the table a excellent mix of rhythm & blues covers, with a dash of soul.

Fronting the band with an amazing voice – not unlike that of Paul Rogers from Free, was Tony Wardle on vocals and harmonica, with Paul Mason on guitar, Charlie Pearson on bass and hard hitting Ian Massey on drums.

Kicking off the evening a class compilation of Spencer Davis and Cream, then a brilliant take of the classic Robert Cray blues number ‘Don’t Touch Me’. Speeding up the tempo brought us soul with Magic Sam’s ‘I Just Want A little Bit’ and rock ‘n roll with SRV’s ‘The House Is A Rockin”. Getting into the ‘spirit’ of the evening was Robert Camille’s ‘I Got Loaded’ and some 12 bar blues at its best, with John Lee Hookers ‘Boom, Boom’, Tony gave us some class harp playing and vocals .

Closing the first set the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Johnny Winter and a great guitar solo from Paul on Joe Bonamassa’s ‘So Many Roads’. The final number was the Albert King classic ‘The Hunter’.

The second set brought us some classic 60’s and 70’s tracks from Free, Who, Kinks, Rolling Stones, Spencer Davies, Beatles, Everly Brothers, and Gloria Jones. The evening was rounded off with a touch of soul , with Smokey Robinson’s ‘Get Ready’- with a great ‘full on’ bass line from Charlie and excellent drum fills from Ian. The final number of the set was Wilson Pickett’s ‘Land Of A Thousand Dances’ with well deserved encore of Deep Purple’s ‘Hush’.

Tony’s voice takes centre stage and as an ex pro he certainly has that little extra. The whole band gel well together and have a great sound, it was also good to hear more blues takes in the set. A high standard performance from a ‘class’ band and I’m sure we’ll see them back at BJ’s next year.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

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