Reviewer: Carol Lovatt
For an evening of nostalgic 60s music and authentic rhythm and blues featuring The Manfreds, PP Arnold and Zoot Money, the Maximum Rhythm and Blues Tour is a gig not to be missed. It’s incredible to think that many of the outstanding artists featured in this production first burst onto the music scene in the early 60s, particularly when they still look so young. However, it’s true and several of the Manfreds are now in their 70s yet they’re still rocking like it’s 1965 and looking great with it. Fifty years may have passed but the music only gets better.
The Manfreds as they are now known, were originally called Manfred Mann and formed in 1962. The original line-up consisted of members including Manfred Mann, Paul Jones, Mike Hugg, Mike Vickers and Tom McGuinness, they went on to have many incarnations and copious amounts of hits. A key member of the outfit who joined a few years after the band first established, was the exceptional songwriter of numerous hits, Mike d’Abo, and the current line-up of The Manfreds includes original members such as Jones, McGuinnes, Hugg and d’Abo alongside Rob Townsend, Marcus Cliffe and Simon Currie, all fusing beautifully to recreate the hits and sounds of a truly iconic band.
The Maximum Rhythm and Blues Tour delivers big style on favourite Manfred Mann songs such as Pretty Flamingo; Do Wah Diddy Diddy; The Mighty Quinn; 5-4-3-2-1; Oh No, Not My Baby; If You Gotta Go, Go Now; Semi-Detached Surburban Mr. James; Ha! Ha! Said the Clown; My Name Is Jack; Fox on the Run and Handbags and Gladrags, to name just a few, alongside some exciting Blues numbers by the likes of Howling Wolf, made even more impressive by the truly outstanding harmonica playing of Paul Jones who is an absolute maestro with the mouth organ.
Apart from excellent musicianship from The Manfreds, the Maximum Rhythm and Blues tour also plays host to both PP Arnold and Zoot Money. PP Arnold, an American soul singer who found fame in the 60s as a member of The Ikettes and after touring with the Rolling Stones, which provided an introduction to the British music scene, found fame in her own right with big hits including First Cut Is The Deepest, written for her by Cat Stevens, the beautiful Angel Of The Morning and Groovy. PP has also worked with The Small Faces and Ocean Colour Scene and her distinctive voice is still as fresh and powerful today as it has always been. It is a joy to hear that PP is touring as she is an artist very much admired by fans and musicians alike for her incredible emotive and unique sound. The concert also features PP doing duets with both Paul Jones and Zoot Money and put simply, the more PP was on stage, the more the audience showed their appreciation of a real musical gem.
Talking of Zoot, the maestro of the Hammond organ, so associated with the Sixties Sound, who had hits of the era including It Should Have Been Me, his comical and zany personality had the audience bopping and laughing in equal measure and which very much shows what a great all round entertainer he is.
The Maximum Rhythm and Blues Tour is a feast of great music where 60s classics merge with atmospheric blues, where exciting audio-visual staging compliments a raft of iconic performers and where the audience can get up close and personal with plenty of interactive opportunities bringing the whole music genre bang up to date. It’s definitely worth seeing.
Reviewed on 30 October 2016 | Image: Contributed