Concert Review – Paul Jones and Dave Kelly

Review by Ben Macnair with photos by Dave Jones

Take two leading blues musicians who started their musical careers in the 1960’s, add a sold out audience, and Lichfield Arts started 2018 in great style when Paul Jones and Dave Kelly performed at Lichfield Guildhall on January 6th.

Paul Jones and Dave Kelly

The duo are both founding members of The Blues Band, whilst Paul Jones’s other careers have included a time as lead singer in Manfred Man, and a critically acclaimed Radio 2 Blues shows, and Dave Kelly has enjoyed a storied career working with the likes of Buddy Guy, with his precise slide guitar style adding colour to many records.

With the pair taking on vocals duties, with Paul Jones also on Harmonica, and Dave Kelly on Acoustic and Electric guitars, their set list included blues favourites from many different genres, whilst their anecdotes about performing alongside many of the first wave of blues musicians from the 1940’s and 1950’s added a lot to the show.

They switched between duets and solo songs, with Paul Jones Harmonica adding expression to such pieces as the solo Room and Board, or his own Sonny Boy Williamson, the haunting harmonica refrains being the highlight.

Duets included such staples as How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live? With the harmony vocals of both singers adding pathos to the song. Noah Lewis’s Blues was a narrative song about hard times, whilst Dave Kelly’s rendering of the soul classic Sitting on the Dock of the Bay dressed the song in completely new clothes, but showed the quality of the piece nevertheless.

Other blues staples included Dave Kelly’s solo take on Robert Johnson’s Crossroad Blues, a duo reading of Statesboro Blues, and a fine reading of Muddy Water’s classic I Can’t be Satisfied.

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