• Kate Clarke

Steve Gibbons

There's a petition going around to get Steve Gibbons a star on the Birmingham Walk of Fame. While they are at it can someone get him a cameo role in the next series of Peaky Blinders? Steve has the Shelby cheekbones, the wardrobe, the accent and the inherent cool.

I've mentioned a few hundred times how much Terry loved and respected Steve. I've never met anyone who has been in his company who didn't - and they aren't all women with an eye for beauty.

I tend not to post my old reviews and interviews but here's one I wrote in 2006 for the South Wales Evening Post after a Steve gig in Swansea. It fell onto the page in the car on the way home and, as you can tell by its tone, I was a little excitable. Steve does that. Sign that petition. (And yes, he really did name his daughter Nadine. And his son is called Dylan.)


Steve Gibbons

at the Tawe Delta Blues Club, Swansea

Tues 13 June 2006

"Every man, woman or child who wants to make music should have been at the

Tawe Delta Blues club on Tuesday (13 June) to witness the awe-inspiring

masterclass that is Steve Gibbons.

Looking part-medicine man, part debonair, supper-club crooner, part

Jamesons-for-breakfast rocker, Gibbons channels the essence of riveting

performance that gave Elvis his electricity, Chuck Berry his knowing mastery

and Dinah Washington her verve.

The show was more an evangelical tent-show than a gig. And with the way in

which he and the band summoned up the spirits of the greats, it might have

been a seance.

Classics from Ray Charles (Let's Go and Get Stoned), Buddy Holly, Gene

Vincent and early Elvis (Trying To Get To You), were intertwined with

Gibbons's own pulsing material, which genuflects to those visionary architects of rock and roll.

He is a willing slave to that rock and roll rhythm (he named his daughter

Nadine for crying out loud)

But Gibbons is not a retro act, reliving past glories or grieving for a

long-gone golden age.

He is a scholar of great music and he carries the weight of knowledge that

gives him the kind of unassailable authority to slip into a Johnny Mercer

song as deftly as he kicks into Dylan's Rainy Day Women Number 12 to 35

Whether draping his arms wearily on his guitar or enacting scenes with face

and hands, he links songs with a malevolent-voiced rap that would have

Ginsberg, Lou Reed and Bob Dylan howling and back-slapping.

The band reads his every twitch and follows him like a leopard shadowing a

springbok.

To a man they play to the hilt, with discipline, precision and flair.

And much of the time they perform with grins stretched across their faces.

We were all in the presence of greatness."

Kate Clarke



Later:

As was our habit after a great gig, Terry and I spoke about Steve for a few weeks. Terry had known him for years and worked with him at The Breedon Bar and, later, at The Tower of Song, and a few other places. The last time I saw them together they were singing an encore of C'est La Vie - both still shining for the love of Chuck Berry, Elvis, Cochran, Scotty Moore, some 50 years after the fact. Time could and would never dim that stuff, in their world.. A few days after that Swansea gig Terry wrote a song - here's an extract:



I was standing at the bar one night with him

in through the door walked Jeff Lynne

talking 'bout writing songs with Bob Dylan

going through the alphabet for rhyme and rhythm

out where the rhythm hangs like ribbons

come along with me and see Steve Gibbons


He gotta red Stratocaster with a tremolo lock

the band are like leopards following a springbok

he's a medicine man with Allen Ginsberg's tongue

a market trader where the songs are hung

out where the rhythm hangs like ribbons

come along with me and see Steve Gibbons


Terry Clarke


Here's SG doing a little Elvis number with Ronnie Wood.


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