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Review: Paul Jones and Dave Kelly at the Lichfield Guildhall

Take two leading blues musicians who started their careers in the 1960s, add in a sold out audience, and Lichfield Arts started 2018 in great style when Paul Jones and Dave Kelly performed at the Guildhall.

Paul Jones

Paul Jones

The duo are both founding members of The Blues Band, while Paul Jones’ other careers have included a time as lead singer in Manfred Mann.

Dave Kelly, meanwhile, has enjoyed a storied career working with the likes of Buddy Guy, with his precise slide guitar style adding colour to many records.

With the pair taking on vocals duties, Paul Jones also played Harmonica, while Dave Kelly utilised acoustic and electric guitars, their set list included blues favourites from many different genres. Their anecdotes about performing alongside many of the first wave of blues musicians from the 1940s and 1950s added a lot to the show.

They switched between duets and solo songs, with the harmonica adding expression to such pieces as the solo Room and Board, or Sonny Boy Williamson.

Dave Kelly

Dave Kelly

Duets included such staples as How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live? with the harmony vocals of both singers adding pathos to the song.

Noah Lewis’ Blues was a narrative song about hard times, while Dave Kelly’s rendering of the soul classic Sitting on the Dock of the Bay dressed the song in completely new clothes, but showed the quality of the piece nevertheless.

Other blues staples included a solo take on Robert Johnson’s Crossroad Blues, a duo reading of Statesboro Blues, and a fine reading of Muddy Waters’ classic I Can’t Be Satisfied.

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