Friday, November 25, 2011

Georgie Fame - Live Birthday Album

Georgie Fame is truly a blast from the past. His big hit "Yeh Yeh" dates from December 1964 and since the sixties he has only released a handful of singles.

However he has remained a constant on the music scene through his work with artists such as Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading, Count Basie and Muddy Waters. He was one of the first wave of UK musicians that were influenced by Black musicians from the US and has stayed true to those Jazz and Blues influences from that time.

  The Album I'm listening to is a live album recorded for his 55th birthday celebration. Recorded on a single night it is the essence of a "Live" album. The Album is not simply a greatest hits collection. (he didn't have that many hits) but is a reflection of his life in music through tributes to his influences and his interests. The whole concert is done with a big band and everything from the opening number "Yeh Yeh" is arranged for and performed with class by the band which generates the feel that only a big band can create.

Most of the songs will be unfamiliar at first but I wouldn't cut a single one. Each can be listened to on its own but the best effect comes from listening to the whole album. Taken together they give a sense of the occasion and it feels like you are there enjoying and celebrating the music. Because it really is about the music much more than it is about Georgie Fame. It is a celebration of the Jazz and Blues influences through the celebration of one of its most faithful disciples. Georgie believes in this music and I do too.

If you like your big band music to be a little more showbiz then there is always Robbie Williams. he brings his star power and personality to an excellent album that proves in the end that with big band music the singer is never greater than the song and the brass. If you watch the video then Robbie shines. If you listen to the album Robbie is good but the music shines. The Robbie Williams album will be much easier to find.

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