Sunday 28th September, we were at Farncombe near Godalming to see So Long Angel performing at Neale Berwicke's pub Scratchers (aka The Three Lions).
We hadn't seen this band before, but it features Mike Burke and Fran McGillivray, of whom we have both become firm fans. As well as Fran with her sultry honey and chocolate voice and her bass guitar and Mike with his dextrous guitar work - the band also includes Roger Nunn on percussion and Roland Kemp on keyboards. They are a delight - very reminiscent of Affinity back in the sixties - at the blues end of the jazz/blues fusion spectrum.
Mike's guitar was ringing out clear and the more I see and hear of Mikes playing the more dextrous he seems to get !
The acoustics in Scratchers aren't the best in the world, but this band rose above them and somehow filled the place with sound without resorting to high volumes. A key component of this is Fran's voice which is strong and clear and fills the space she is singing in beautifully, all the while her bass guitar is lazily stitching together the theme and the beat of each piece of music.
Roger Nunn plays a fine set of drums with a nice crisp clear snare sound and a surprising amount of light work on the crash cymbals. He also got to demonstrate that he could play "heavy" on an awesome song called 'Freedom', a beautifully arranged anthemic song delivered in Fran's deep mellow voice, with haunting guitar work from Mike and a rolling beat on both Rogers toms. It was beautifully and very movingly delivered - it made the hairs on the back of neck stand up.
I asked afterwards, and apparently they wrote this piece themselves.
I had to buy the CD " . . falling . . " and played it all the way home.
Roland is a handy keyboard player, his opening chords in the evening reminded me of Jimmy Smith back in the early sixties. He also provided vocal backing - and was vocal lead on two songs - one of which was a nice arrangement of 'Walking The Dog'.
The whole evening was great; the addition of drums adds extra depth and dimension to Fran and Mike's brilliant playing; and Roland's interventions on keyboards added flavour in all the right places. They performed some of the songs which we have heard Mike & Fran deliver as a duo, and they sound equally as good with a band - especially 'I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water and Sleep Out in a Hollow Log' and 'Spoonful'.
A very professional show presented to an extremely appreciative audience. We will certainly want to see this band again.
Roger Cooper and Fran Cooper
So Long Angel play Scratchers again in early January 2009