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'They Got Rhythm!'

Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, 30 May 1999

Peter Cordwell in The Mercury (South-East London), 3 June 1999
Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, Blackheath Halls: They got rhythm!

There was shared triumph at Blackheath Halls on Sunday night when Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings took the place by storm and posted yet another ringing recommendation for the building fast becoming SE London's top live quality music venue.

Beaming Bill's boys and girls all 12 of them mirrored perfectly the enthusiasm and exuberance that has blown away the last traces of cobwebbed complacency at the halls at the top end of Blackheath Village.

The halls' steering committee, chaired by incomparable compere Peter Conway deserve our bouqueted thanks.

Some of us wondered what kind of musical fare would be on offer, and early on it was difficult to know where to focus on the band.

After all, we had the aristocrat of the organ Georgie Fame far left; the still-wonderful voice of Gary Brooker, looking a healthy shade of pale, far right ex-Roan boy Albert Lee, boyishly brilliant to the grave, centre midfield; Bill himself, playing a smiling holding role in front of demon drummer Graham Broad, rhythm guitarist Terry Taylor, a two-man horn section who got forward when the chance presented itself; three black female singers, including one white woman, and another nondescript Taylor, Martin, whose guitar playing defied description.

On records they also employ a third Taylor, Mick yes, that Mick and, if it had been the night of Watford's promotion, we would have half expected Graham Taylor to be playing slide guitar in the corner.

Soon it all took shape and made musical sense. Not a preener in sight, just top-class musicians playing rhythm, blues, jazz, rock, swing and enjoying it every bit as much as the 850 of us.

The night stonked along, if that's the expression, and innumerable highlights included Brooker's confident vocals, Beverley Skeete's performances out front and the incredible duelling guitars of Albert Lee and Martin Taylor Pele and Ronaldo playing kick-ups.

A great night was given exactly the right start by a super acoustic set by Glenn Tilbrook, another musician whose performance gets by without a pose.

He was tremendous, mixing Squeeze tunes with requests including The Beatles' Ticket To Ride. I had to help him out on Tambourine Man, of which he remembered, with great humour, only the chorus.

Glenn played a full part in taking us out to the windy beach, far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.

Rhythm Kings 1999 tour

More Brooker / Rhythm Kings information here

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