"GIG REVIEW –DAN PENN AND SPOONER OLDHAM"

GIG REVIEW –DAN PENN AND SPOONER OLDHAM

Legendary Memphis singer/songwriters Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham made a rare visit to the UK last month and your LGA reviewer, Paul Wood, caught them in the rather splendid environment of the Union Chapel.

GIG REVIEW –DAN PENN AND SPOONER OLDHAM

GIG REVIEW –DAN PENN AND SPOONER OLDHAM

The current tour was the pair’s first visit to the UK in 9 years and was timed to coincide with the re-release of their previous live album “Moments From This Theatre” which has been repackaged in a deluxe CD edition (“The Complete Duo Recordings”) which combines the original album with a live DVD recorded at their 2009 gig in St James’s Church, Piccadilly. A gig attended by both the current reviewer and the London Guitar Academy maestro, James Stratton.

A reverential crowd was delighted to see the veteran performers in fine form. The on stage banter between the two reflects the 50 year period they’ve been recording, performing and writing together.  Oldham’s greeting to the audience of “this is a mighty fine place you’ve got here” is followed by a razor sharp response from Penn “if this was the USA it would have been torn down long ago”.

dan penn

dan penn

DAN PENN AND SPOONER OLDHAM

DAN PENN AND SPOONER OLDHAM

DAN PENN AND SPOONER OLDHAM live review

DAN PENN AND SPOONER OLDHAM live review

The opening song of the set (and album) is the classic – “I’m Your Puppet”. The uptempo version of the 60s version by James and Bobby Purify is slowed right down to give it a classic soul gospel feel. Penn’s still strong vocals are underpinned by Oldham’s light but immaculate presence on keyboard. Here’s a link to a TV studio version of the song:

Hit follows hit, “Sweet Inspiration” (the Sweet Inspirations), Cry Like A Baby (Box Tops), Do Right Woman (Aretha Franklin) before Spooner takes the lead vocal on his “Lonely Women Make Good Lovers” (a country hit for Bob Luman in the 70s and then Steve Warriner in the 80s). Spooner’s fragile vocal delivery is listened to by the audience in spellbound silence, ending in tumultuous applause as the last notes fade away.

It’s then back Dan on vocals for “It Tears me Up” and stone cold classic  “Dark End of the Street” (“you can never beat a good cheatin’ song” quips Penn). Here’s a link to Dan doing this song on the David Letterman show (with the recently deceased Bobby Emmons on keys):

A version of “You Left The Water Running” leaves Dan Penn slightly dissatisfied “I’d like to have done that a little better, but sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t”

“Out of Left Field” clearly has Penn back on fine form and then it’s the Memphis funk and humour of “Memphis Women and Fried Chicken” with Penn and Oldham trading vocal chicken clucking noises as the song draws to a close.

Here’s a link to the studio version:

Having played almost all of the “Theatre” album, Penn takes a wander through his extensive back catalogue with versions of “Is A Bluebird Bird” (his first hit, written for Conway Twitty, while Penn was still at school) and “Nobody’s Fool”  (the title track of his 1973 solo album) – “I don’t think many of you will have got this album” says Penn.

Spooner gets another shot on vocals with “My Goodness” (co-written by Oldham with Donnie Fritts) and the pair close with another stone classic in “Zero Willpower”.  There’s no encore, Penn tells the audience “Our knees won’t cope with coming back up and down these steps to the stage” , but it doesn’t matter. The crowd have loved every minute of the show and it’s a delight to see the old troubadours back in the UK again.

If you didn’t catch Dan and Spooner while they were over here, buy the new CD/DCD package to see what you’ve missed.

SET LIST

I’m Your Puppet

Sweet Inspiration

Cry Like A baby

Do Right Woman, Do Right Man

I Met Her In Church

Lonely Women Make Good Lovers

It Tears me Up

Dark End of the Street

You Left The Water Running

Out of Left Field

Memphis Women and Fried Chicken

Woman Left Lonely

I’m Living Good

Old Folks

Is A Bluebird Blue

Nobody’s Fool

Oh My Goodness

Nine Pound Steel

I Do

Tear Joint

Take A Good Look

Zero Willpower

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Here’s the Dan Penn 1965 Muscle Shoals demo version of “I Do” which has recently been released on “Dan Penn: The Fame Recordings” on the ACE label

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

London Guitar Academy

The London Guitar Academy is London's only dedicated Rock Pop and Blues guitar school specialising in one to one guitar tuition in either electric or acoustic guitar.

Each lesson is tailored to suit each students individual taste and ability; offering a fresh and innovative approach to learning the guitar.

Newsletter Sign up

London guitar lessons, Guitar Lessons in London, Guitar Lessons London, london guitar school, London guitar academy, guitar lessons Queens Park, Guitar Tuition, guitar lessons nw london, guitar course, Beginners guitar lessons, guitar lessons, guitar lessons london, Notting hill guitar school,music school, bass lessons, guitar teacher, Play guitar