Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Linda Gail rocks on Dave Travis's big day

You'd better hold on to your hats when Linda Gail Lewis breezes into town. She attacks her piano with all the fire and energy of her older brother Jerry Lee in days gone by. So it was, last night at the Spice of Life in central London, when she produced an excellent set of rock and roll and country music which set this packed little venue alight. The occasion was a special celebration of the 50 years that another country and rock and roll artist, Dave Travis, has spent in the music business, both as a recording artist and as a record man discovering and releasing music by American greats of the 50s and 60s.
Linda Gail was in superb form as she ran through a selection of songs that differed from her usual set by including several associated with Elvis, as well as giving her own take on some made famous by Jerry Lee and other Memphis rockabilly artists. Backed by Newcastle rockabilly band Some Like It Hot she kicked off with Boppin' The Blues and Cadillac Rock before ripping through a storming Rockin' My Life Away. Then it was in to Elvis territory with One Night, All Shook Up, A Fool Such As I and Shake Rattle and Roll, interspersed with a slower number in the form of From A Jack To A King.
Linda was superb on her brother's I'll Sail My Ship Alone, George Jones's I'll Be There and a tribute to Wanda Jackson with Let's Have A Party. The slower You Were Always On My Mind (another Elvis cover) was followed by a storming version of High School Confidential which got the crowd on its feet and Patsy Cline's Pick Me Up On Your Way Down (she changed the line in the last verse to 'Kiss my ass on your way down' - at least that's what I think I heard!
More rock and roll followed with Ubangi Stomp and a great version of Old Black Joe, written by Stephen Foster but made even more famous by Jerry Lee. She reminisced about the day in 1957 when Sam Phillips gave her brother a cheque for $40,000 which allowed her family to move to Ferriday, Louisiana, and then to Memphis. She was just ten years old then and much in awe of her big bother, to such an extent that she became as good a boogie wooogie player as he was, and still is. Finally, with rocking versions of Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On and Great Balls Of Fire, she threw caution to the wind and put her feet on the keyboard, just as Jerry Lee would have done.
Earlier, on this night of rock and roll, Some Like It Hot gave the crowd a highly proficient set of rockabilly which included Big River, Sixteen Chicks, I Like Your Kind Of Love, Pat Cupp's Baby Come Back, Lee Dresser's El Camino Real, Money Honey and Fulsom Prison Blues.
Introducing Linda Gail to the stage, Dave Travis paid tribute to Keith Woods, who promoted this show to add to his other successes in recent years, and to the Woodies roots music network, of which I am pleased to be a member. He made the point that what unites its members is music and underlined how important music is the world over with a story about how, in a remote village in Burma many years ago, his guitar playing had attracted a big crowd who wanted to listen. This show was a demonstration of how much enjoyment genuine live music can create. Congratulations to Dave on his 50 years in the music biz, and to Keith Woods for organising the show. And to Linda Gail for a fantastic set.
My photo below shows Dave with Linda Gail Lewis.
Here are a couple of crowd shots, with Dave looking on as three ladies boogie to the beat, while Woodie Lee Wilkinson gets up close.

Nick Cobban


At 12:16 pm , Blogger Tony Papard said...

'Pick Me Up On Your Way Down' Linda has done before, always using the 'Kiss my ass on your way down' line from Jerry Lee's Dalton, Ga show of 1979, but to make sure I actually requested her to do the naughty version! She got confused about the reason for the celebration, and got us all singing 'Happy Birthday' to Dave Travis when, in fact, it was celebrating 50 years in show business. I bet he wished he was celebrating his 50th birthday once again. I notch up 70 years this week.

At 1:57 pm , Blogger fluffybits said...

It was a great evening, only to be expected from Linda, it's great to know the crowd all enjoyed the whole evening and got boogieing down. Congrats to Dave for his 50 years, and an early Happy Birthday to Tony


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