With a huge variety of stringed instruments on stage (I counted about 15 and they included double bass, violin, several guitars both classical and electric, mandolin and mandola, dombra, ukulele and banjo) and drums, Joe Brown and his band led us through a wide repertoire of songs ranging from ballads to rock. He started with a 1930s song, The Ballad of John Hurt, and his repertoire included many of his own hits, Elvis and Bob Dylan songs, as well as a U2 song. Joe retains his image of a cheeky chappy, with jokes, often self-deprecating, between the songs and a smile always on his lips. He has a very talented band around him, including his own son Pete. I once read an interview with Pete in which he said that Joe was a very strict father, but they obviously have a very good relationship now and they played several duos together, among them Duelling Banjos and a moving tribute to George Harrison, That’s the Way it Goes, in which Pete excelled himself on the guitar. Pete is indeed a very fine musician and sang a couple of solos himself, including a reggae song from his own album. With them on stage were Mike on bass, the drummer Phil, who did a great performance of an Elvis song (if you closed your eyes the voice was perfect), and Roland who himself has a lovely, very unusual voice and also sang a solo.
Is Joe Brown always a ‘cheeky chappy’? I don’t know. What is obvious, though, is that the audience come to his shows knowing what they want and he delivers time after time after time.