The Band Amen Corner first came to my attention when I was in my early teens when I listened to the triple compilation album 'Ruby Trax'. The premise behind this amazing album was that to celebrate NME's 40th birthday, 40 different acts picked a no.1 single to cover.
The tracklist was a who's who of the early '90s and it featured so many of my favourite bands. It had everything from Suede covering 'Brass in Pocket' and Teenage Fanclub's take on 'Mr Tambourine Man' to The Fatima Mansions track which is a sort of dirty protest against Bryan Adams dirgefest 'Everything I Do (I Do it for You) which was at number one for what seemed like most of '91.
Despite all these trendy offerings the song that I kept playing on repeat was Aztec Camera's cover of 'If Paradise Is Half As Nice' which featured Amen Corners Andy Fairweather Low on guest vocals. It's such a sublime song and I couldn't get Andy has had a successful solo career, become Eric Clapton's go-to rhythm guitarist and provided backing vocals on The Who's 'Who Are You' LP.enough of either Roddy Frame or Andy's voices.
Since leaving Amen Corner in 1970 Andy has had a successful solo career, become Eric Clapton's go-to rhythm guitarist and provided backing vocals on The Who's 'Who Are You' LP. A couple of years ago I saw him gave an amazing performance at The Southern Fried Festival as part of a Chuck Berry tribute night.
It seems that Andy is still on a Chuck Berry trip as when he takes to the stage he launches straight into 'Route 66'. I read somewhere that the 'Route 66' guitar solo was the first one that he ever learned to play and tonight he really makes those notes sing. At the risk of straying into hyperbole, 'Reggae Tune' stikes up and Andy Fairweather Low is straddling genres like a guitar-wielding colossus, chopping down chords with the side of his hand.
Andy's band, The Low Riders, are nothing short of phenomenal. I love a bit of brass and the brass section (aka The High Riders) add a real sense of sweetness and warmth to 'Sweet Soul Music'. 'Hymn For My Soul' is a close cousin of 'No One Knows You When You Are Down and Out' (Andy actually played on Clapton's 'Unplugged' album version) but with an added Muscle Shoals sheen.
The original material, both old and new, shows what an underrated songwriter Andy really is. 'Wide Eyed and Legless' seems to hit the spot with the audience and has them singing along to the catchy chorus and 'Spider Jiving' is a rip-roaring blues number that compels your foot to tap and your body to rock.
I'm also pretty pleased with the choice of covers, acoustic Beatles b-side, 'I'll Get You In The End' is a tremendous fit for Andy's voice and the band provide achingly gorgeous three-part harmonies. My favourite cover though is the amazing Pink Anderson's (who was the inspiration for the 'Pink' in 'Pink Floyd') 'Titanic', a talkin' blues that makes me feel more joyous than a song about an international tragedy Andy and Nick Pentalow (who could be first and second place in a Greg Wallace look-a-like contest) have a particularly good rapport, constantly jibing each other about their age.really ought to.
The Low riders really are a great band and have great chemistry with Andy and each other. Andy and Nick Pentalow (who could be first and second place in a Greg Wallace look-a-like contest) have a particularly good rapport, constantly jibing each other about their age.
Amen Corner fans, including myself, are thrilled with a spirited outing for 'Bend Me, Shake Me' and, of course, the sublime 'If Paradise Is Half As Nice'. There is something really special about hearing one of your favourite songs being sung live by the original vocalist. I've seen Brian Wilson do 'Caroline No', Dylan do 'Every Grain of Sand' and now I can cross 'If Paradise ...' off the list too.
It's been a stupendously good night and just before he leaves the stage Andy hints that he'll be back again next year. I can't wait.
Perth Festival of the Arts has joined forces with its 2020 artists to create a 10-day online celebration to ‘celebrate the arts together'.
May 21st Thursday 2020
Dougie Maclean's new Perthshire festival this summer: Cardney Concerts.
March 18th Wednesday 2020
Party at The Park, the South Inch, 27th and 28th June, will feature fantastic live performances from The Charlatans and many more!
March 12th Thursday 2020