Monday, 23 April 2012

All the Way From Memphis ?

On Sat 21 Apr the Erewash Museum marked it`s 30th birthday with a rock `n` roll party featuring live music by the Memphis Riders.

The band were a last minute replacement for Glenn Darren and the Krew Katz, who were unable to appear. In the interests of scientific research I`ve had a quick look on the web and there is live footage of Mr D and his KKz which is well worth a look, though for me I preferred the line-up with the double bass player than the one with the electric bass.

The Riders played three sets. The first was made up of largely `50s cover versions, though the handful of songs that I didn`t recognise could have been band originals for all I know. Their opening number was Boogie Woogie Country Girl, followed by Bony Moronie, He`ll Have to Go, No Heart to Spare and many others. The general feel was quite authentic, and they were at their best on No Heart... and He`ll Have.. .

This brings me to something I touched on earlier. In my view, their bassist is wise to opt for a double bass rather than a bass guitar. Of course, there are many great rock `n` roll records featuring the bass guitar, but the use of a stand-up bass does just give it that extra `50s feel.

The second set I missed.

The third set began with a Stonesy version of Burning Love followed by a touch of diversification as they explored the music of the `60s, with House of the Rising Sun, These Boots are Made for Walking, Do You Wanna Dance, It`s Only Make Believe and others.

The band were warmly received with much dancing in the Derbyshire rain and seemed to gel with young and old alike.

I like this band. They are authentic enough to appeal to the serious rock `n` rollers, accessible enough to reach out to a wider audience. They play with great feel, but they aren`t afraid to to do familiar songs in a slightly different way. 

A lot of people assume that straight-ahead rock `n` rollers aren`t necessarily such great musicians. I can`t really agree with that. It`s true that some people seem to have a natural aptiutude for rock `n` roll playing and it does come pretty readily to them. On the other hand there are plenty of people who fail to convince playing this sort of material, even if technically they may well be the better players. 

I`m not usually a great lover of bands who rely heavily (exclusively ?) on covers, but I`m prepared to make exceptions for bands as good as this  - even if their native Warsop is not very much like Memphis !

FOOTNOTE - The Memphis Riders have a CD out, Someone Else`s Girl, and the title track can be found on You Tube, posted by MrBlack1966. There is also some live footage of them on YT - a slightly different line-up, though (in my view) it`s not quite up to the standard they set on Saturday. They do have a My Space page with some excellent studio tracks.

I gather the band have already conquered such rock `n` rolling hotspots as Strelley, Chesterfield and Skegness and are due to appear at a `50s weekend at Crich Transport Museum in the near future.

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