Jake takes the cake. For the first of his three date tour of the UK, Jake Calypso swung by Essex to Witham Public Hall, and Jump Back Boogie. On the decks, resident Adrian Waters, and up from Londonshire, Steve Grinster. People came from Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and London, in their couples, and hardly anyone from Essex. The result, a paltry attendance in one of the counties premiere venues, with one of Rock n Roll’s unique talents.
Leaving that aside, the show. Herve Loison is an unassuming chap with a studious bespectacled look. Entering stage right, he becomes Jake Calypso, a Rock n Roll nut. To define the show would be rather pointless, as you have to see it in person, as it’s different every time. He brings his acoustic guitar, which occasionally gets strummed, regular lead guitarist and drummer, and guest plonker on the upright bass, Dave Kopke (by kind permission of the Coldstream Guards, Mike Stott) make up the stage.
The set list included some of his best known work, and some foot stomping ad libs that were extended to involve the audience. Even the vocals are from left field, the likes of ‘My Baby Rocks’ and ‘Call Me Baby’, two of his best known I’d suggest. There’s growling, yodelling, snorting and the occasional long held note, and some wailing harmonica.
‘Let’s Go Boppin Tonight’ that opened the show was probably the only conventionally delivered tune, and the rest was sheer entertainment. ‘Rock n Roll Train’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Cassie Magikal’, ‘Downtown Memphis’ and ‘Turn Me Loose’, all featured, but not necessarily in that order. For all the onstage antics, it must be said that, the band were right on the money throughout.
A truly memorable set, limited to the one, unsurprisingly, given the effort he puts in. Missing was the crowd surfing, partly due to the tide not having come in, but massive credit to Jake and Red Hot, for putting cent pour cent into it. You missed it? You missed out
Rusti, now slinging a Fender style Squire guitar instead of the Epiphone guitar (don’t read anything into that, just something I noticed), is a versatile singer, and enthusiastic performer that always gives it some wallop on the vocals. And that started with a belter of a version of ‘Draggin’.
So much top Rockabilly with a Hillbilly tinge, followed in a brace of beauts that featured the likes of Jack Guthrie’s ‘Oklahoma Hills’, Mac Curtis’ ‘Grand Daddy’s Rockin’ and Shorty Long’s ‘Nine Little Kisses’. There was time for some R&B with Chuck’s ‘Almost Grown’ and Hank Ballard’s ‘Sexy Ways’. Slotted in among those, Mobile Alabama and their own classy stroller, ‘Prisoner of Your Charms’.
A goodly amount of Western Swing was to be had as well, with ‘Catty Town’, ‘Ballroom Baby’, ‘Real Rock Drive’ and to top off the show, their own hot rod kicker ‘Gone With The Wind’. Oh and a frantic crescendo of an encore, the thunderous ‘Big Sandy’ (Bobby Roberts), brought the curtain down.
An absolutely corking night’s entertainment in Norfolk, and again against a ironic backdrop of big numbers in the house, especially with the Wildest Cats going on a few miles east. Such a shame that this headcount hasn’t been consistent over the past year or so, as the club closes in December.
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The Revolutionaires have been at the top of the tree for some years now, and after 5 cds, now have some visual and narrative to mark their 15th anniversary
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Cheers til next time