Albert Lee

Albert Lee and Hogan’s Heroes

What a band! Albert Lee - guitarist’s guitarist supreme - may play fast and furious country-rock, picking like a man possessed, but he does it with unbelievable finesse.

Which is why, over the years, he has worked with everyone from The Everlys to Emmylou and Joe Cocker to Eric Clapton.

Celebrating 50-years in the business this December, he is currently out on the road with Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, except of course when he’s touring with his own little supergroup, Hogan’s Heroes. The band comprising some of the world’s finest session musicians, each boasting a cv that is almost as good as that possessed by Albert’s himself, offers a powerful on-stage mix.

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It features Gerry Hogan on lap steel, Elio Pace on keyboards, Brian Hodgeson on bass and Peter Baron on drums. With irrepressible silver-haired Albert as front man, it’s a formidable outfit. 

On Friday, a packed Tivoli enjoyed a sublime evening that showed just how good this band is. The music covered everything from country-rock to tear-jerking ballads and vintage rock ‘n’ roll. There was even a Beatles cover - Abbey Road's Oh Darling. But whatever they played, the musicianship was exemplary, the sound superb and the interplay between band members positively mesmerising A special night!

Excellent, if all too brief, support came from local singer songwriter Lou Brown, a bedsit troubadour who’s going places. Brown has just given up her day job as a social worker to become a full-time musicians. She’s already been spotted by the likes of Johnnie Walker and is currently working on a new album with the with former Christine Collister collaborator/producer Clive Gregson. No wonder. Brown has a  rare talent for the content and structure of a song, a voice to die for and a delivery that plays magical tricks with meter and time signature. 

Footnote: For some however Lee and his cohorts are clearly just too polished. I overheard a young woman outside the theatre being  asked by a friend what the gig had been like. She shrugged, thought for a moment and replied: “It was er very accomplished.” Talk about being damned with faint praise. I do understand though. 

At one point during the gig, Lee himself commented on stage “This is a job for a younger man.”  The raw energy of youth, the ragged brilliance of a jam that just falls gloriously together is something else, this music is honed to perfection and that is what the show is about. I reckon we’d all rather see the former but that only happens once in a blue moon. Lee and the boys probably achieve 98 per cent hit rate. You pays your money...

Jeremy Miles

ly© Jeremy Miles 2017