FRINGE WORLD favourite jazz and blues chanteuse Jessie Gordon has teamed up with Grammy award winning Lucky Oceans, co-founder of US country and western group Asleep at the Wheel, to present a night of classic Western Swing music.
Western Swing originated in the southern and western states of the US in the 1920s and drew on country, Dixieland jazz, Mexican, blues, folk, polka and swing to create a sound which had immense popularity in dancehalls and honkytonk clubs especially in the 1930s and 40s.
Its spiritual home is Texas, and one of the most famous artists was Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys –so it was no surprise that the band kicked off with a heel tapping version of Bob Wills’ Corrine Corrina on stage in the moodily lit Ellington Jazz Club last night.
With Lucky on his famous pedal steel guitar, Jessie on vocals and ukulele, ably backed by guitar, double bass and drums, the band rocked and swung us through a crowded and joyful hour of the best of Western Swing and country music, covering songs by Red Foley, Jimmie Rivers, Cindy Walker, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams.
The William’s classic, Long Gone Lonesome Blues, provided the opportunity for guitarist Jon Matthews to take front stage as vocalist to accompany his superb guitar work as he pumped out the lyrics, yodel and all, to great applause.
There were so many highlights: Jessie’s interpretation of Patsy Cline songs, a stunning version of Red Foley’s Midnight, Lucky belting out Take Me Back to Tulsa – that we didn’t want the show to end – but with Jessie having another show later that night, sadly it did.
So with another Bob Wills classic to bookend the show, and the crowd joining in for the chorus, Ida Red saw us out the door.
This is a foot stamping, hand clapping, hooting and hollering show that exemplifies the best of Western Swing and in Jessie, Lucky and the band we found the perfect exponents.