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Review: Peerless Georgie Fame lives up to his name

Black Box, Belfast

By Michael Conaghan

Published 19/10/2015

Georgie Fame
Georgie Fame

The Black Box on a Saturday night is the perfect venue for Georgie Fame - dark, intimate, and with the ghost of a million jazz cigarettes.

But Fame, as his name suggests, has showbiz roots stretching back to the era of impresarios such as Larry Parnes... which meant a slick presentation accompanied by sons James on drums and the wonderfully monikered Tristam on guitar.

We were straight into the blues via Floyd Dixon and a chunky Mose Allison, with that trademark keyboard sound as bright as ever. An early note of eclecticism came with a version of Ry Cooder's arrangement of You'll Have To Go, the father and son harmonising proving the voice to be in equally fine shape. Smash hit Yea Yea was as sharp as a mod suit.

There is no doubt that Fame has impeccable taste. Material included Goffin and King and Booker T but the presiding spirit was Ray Charles, via I got a Woman and his monumental Georgia On My Mind.

My particular favourite was a spirited Chicago soul take on Willy Nelson's Funny How Time Slips Away, which saw Fame perform that supreme jazz virtue of playing your heart out without appearing to break sweat.

He put his good form down to his "first glass of hot whiskey for three years", but it's much more obvious... he's Georgie Fame.

Four stars

Belfast Telegraph

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