Joe Brown


First generation British rocker Joe Brown reckons he's enjoyed a career that has spanned nearly 50 years because he has always been prepared to take advice from the old professionals.

"If I have any talent at all it is for listening to people who are more talented than me," said Joe.

He cites his first pantomime when, as a young pop star, he suddenly found himself cast as Wishee-Washee in a production of Aladdin.

"I arrived at the theatre and there was my name in four foot letters on the billboard.

"Underneath in much smaller letters it said also featuring George Bolton'.

"I asked who he was and discovered he was the dame and this was his 41st pantomime.

"I couldn't imagine how he must have felt having this pop singer who knew nothing suddenly brought in and given massive billing."

Joe says he decided to be completely straight about the situation with the old stager: "I went and knocked on his dressing room door, introduced myself and told him I understood exactly what the score was.

"It was the best move I ever made. He really took to me and taught me so much."

"When they put me in Charlie Girl in the West End with Dame Anna Neagle I did exactly the same thing and it was fantastic, she took me under her wing."

That show ran for six years but Joe bailed out after two and a half.

"I could have stayed the course but I wanted to play an instrument again. I got itchy fingers."

"I've done all kind of things - acting, straight plays, musical plays, directing, radio, TV, hosting game shows - but nothing beats standing up on stage with a great band and a guitar around your neck. That's what I love so that's what I do."

For the past 20 years Joe has toured the theatres of Britain, often with special guests.

At the Bournemouth Pavilion tomorrow night he'll be joined by Dave Edmunds.

The pair met when they both lived in Oxfordshire and used to hang out and jam with musicians at former Beatle George Harrison's mansion in Henley.

"Dave's a great player, a real rock 'n' roll buff," adds Joe.

He says tomorrow night's performance will feature all their best known songs plus some finger-pick guitar from Dave.

"I like to put on shows rather than gigs," he says. "I hate all that you do your bit, I'll do mine and then it's all down at the end for who's best'. I don't go along with that at all.

"As far as I'm concerned we're in a theatre, we've got a seated audience and we should put on a show for them."


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By Jeremy Miles

Veteran rocker Joe Brown may be a wizard with a guitar but you should see him with a chisel, plane and VETERAN pile of wood.

A skilled craftsman, he likes nothing more than relaxing with a spot of joinery.

Over the years he's made everything from sets of windows for his 17th century country home to a rocking horse.

"Yup," laughs Joe, "if all this rock 'n' roll business ends tomorrow I've got something to fall back on."

Fifty long years after he first strapped on a guitar and launched a career that would find him working with Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Cash and Billy Fury, it seems highly unlikely that he's going to need that second string to his bow, but he has a point.

After all, as Joe points out he can hardly go back to his original trade as a fireman on the railways "...cos they've got rid of all the steam trains".

Yes, it's been a long old career in the music business and an illustrious one too.

In the early days The Beatles used to open for Joe, he gave The Shadows the echo-unit that defined their sound and can still count Keith Richards and Mark Knopfler among his long-time fans.

Joe is currently out on the road celebrating his half-century with a string of gigs that includes a concert at the Regent Centre in Christchurch on Thursday.

There's a new album too, titled with stunning originality The Very Best of Joe Brown.

It features 25 tracks ranging from early hits like What a Crazy World, That's What Love Will Do, Picture of You and Sea of Heartbreak right through to recent years with Bob Dylan's Well Well Well and Paul Simon's One Trick Pony.

It also includes such stage favourites as I'll See You in My Dreams, the number that brought the house down when Joe performed it at the George Harrison memorial concert. Joe, who has also been working on a new studio album to be released in conjunction with an autumn tour, told me that he feels his longevity in an industry notorious for its short-termism is down to a combination of factors.

Partly hard work and the good fortune to have been the right age and in the right place when rock 'n' roll was in its infancy, but also a willingness to learn from others.

Whether they're old pros or new stars is of no consequence: "I've never been one of those guys who saw good players as a threat.

"I feel it's a privilege to share a stage with them. Whoever it is, however young, if I can learn from them I will."rocker Joe Brown may be a wizard with a guitar but you should see him with a chisel, plane and VETERAN pile of wood.

A skilled craftsman, he likes nothing more than relaxing with a spot of joinery.

Over the years he's made everything from sets of windows for his 17th century country home to a rocking horse.

"Yup," laughs Joe, "if all this rock 'n' roll business ends tomorrow I've got something to fall back on."

Fifty long years after he first strapped on a guitar and launched a career that would find him working with Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Cash and Billy Fury, it seems highly unlikely that he's going to need that second string to his bow, but he has a point.

After all, as Joe points out he can hardly go back to his original trade as a fireman on the railways "...cos they've got rid of all the steam trains".

Yes, it's been a long old career in the music business and an illustrious one too.

In the early days The Beatles used to open for Joe, he gave The Shadows the echo-unit that defined their sound and can still count Keith Richards and Mark Knopfler among his long-time fans.

Joe is currently out on the road celebrating his half-century with a string of gigs that includes a concert at the Regent Centre in Christchurch on Thursday.

There's a new album too, titled with stunning originality The Very Best of Joe Brown.

It features 25 tracks ranging from early hits like What a Crazy World, That's What Love Will Do, Picture of You and Sea of Heartbreak right through to recent years with Bob Dylan's Well Well Well and Paul Simon's One Trick Pony.

It also includes such stage favourites as I'll See You in My Dreams, the number that brought the house down when Joe performed it at the George Harrison memorial concert. Joe, who has also been working on a new studio album to be released in conjunction with an autumn tour, told me that he feels his longevity in an industry notorious for its short-termism is down to a combination of factors.

Partly hard work and the good fortune to have been the right age and in the right place when rock 'n' roll was in its infancy, but also a willingness to learn from others.

Whether they're old pros or new stars is of no consequence: "I've never been one of those guys who saw good players as a threat.

"I feel it's a privilege to share a stage with them. Whoever it is, however young, if I can learn from them I will."

© Jeremy Miles 2017