Sunday, 8 September 2013

C'est la vie said the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.

Saturday night, I’m ill, I’m aching, and I’m fed up with nowhere to go. Nowhere to go in so many different ways.

What did I do – did I sit in watching the ‘Last night of the Henry Woods Promenade Concerts’? Did I weave a basket or compose a Haiku?

Noooh Waaaay!

I went to The Three Horseshoes Pub in Feltham. Never been there, driven past it many times before – this time I stopped by.

‘Sunset Boulevard’ were playing. When I looked them up on the net later I found a band in matching suits with hair and the look of a band you might have found playing in a small mid-western American hotel cocktail bar around 1962. (Hi folks, I guess we’re all mighty sorry Richard Nixon lost too)

Wrong website !

This group looked like they’d broken rocks on a chain gang, got probation, broke the terms of their order, hitched a ride on a freight train and wandered into the pub.

They had set up in a bay window and there wasn’t any room. They started late. They had a drink first. And second. I was looking at my watch and wondering if there was still time to get back to watch ‘Match of the day’.

When they started with ‘Take me right back to the track, Jack’ or whatever it was, I wasn’t that impressed. A Haiku was forming in my head.

Then it all came together. No really, it just came.

The drummer was lean and hunched. He just started to hit those drums. The pianist, who’d been so preoccupied with his mobile – he started to do the stride. The Bass – he was thwacking. Lead guitar and vocals – he found it, somewhere.


 And the three elderly men? Those three pretty quiet and unassuming types? They turned out to be a three piece brass section, two saxes and a trumpet. They were tight and bright and stompin’.


 In case you are keeping count, we’re already up to a seven piece in a small pub. It didn’t stop there. They seemed to have brought a load of friends with them.

The rug was cut. The jimmy was jammed.

The joint was jumping!

Several times through the evening Mr James Brown appeared to say that he ‘felt good’. Mr Ray Charles made an appearance, as did another late, great and sadly missed – Mr Rory Gallagher. Jackie Wilson was ‘Reet Petite’ and Little Richard was big – ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’.

But if you want the real flavour of the evening it was Chuck Berry’s ‘You never can tell’ – “It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well” – straight out of Pulp Fiction – remember the dance contest at Tarantino’s film star burger bar?

But the 7 piece didn’t stop there. There was a guest drummer who stood in for a couple of numbers and ‘Hayley’ who guest vocaled a couple of times.

My highlight was ‘James’ who borrowed a guitar for three numbers in the interval. A couple of rock n’ roll numbers that were OK – well played, but just OK.

Then as a special treat for me he did a solo version of ‘The Butterfly Collector’ – that was the ‘B–side’ of ‘Strange Town’ by The Jam. It was always a Paul Weller favourite and he still does it occasionally. At the time I knew as soon as I heard it that it was the start of a new direction for Paul (as indeed it turned out to be).

And James? He did it really well. A real unexpected treat.

 And the band? There were several encores, a late finish to match the start and a happy journey home I didn’t expect.

“C’est La Vie said the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell”


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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