Re-formed, and possibly even reformed after a lengthy break, London’s Tex Pistols rocked Nell’s Jazz & Blues in W14 on that most appropriate of dates – July 4 – with a swinging set of American country and rockabilly standards.
This is a P*b R*ck supergroup that reunites Chilli Willi and The Red Hot Peppers’ crack rhythm section of Paul ‘Bassman’ Riley (record producer and former member of Nick Lowe’s Impossible Birds) with drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello and the Imposters); guitarist Martin Belmont (Graham Parker and The Rumour); fiddler Bob Loveday (Geldof, Van Morrison); keyboard wizard Geraint Watkins (just about everyone, currently with Status Quo), and singer/ master of ceremonies, Philip Rambow (The Winkies, Kirsty MacColl).
Their 90-minute set was peppered with familiar songs, including Johnny Horton’s ‘I’m A One Woman Man’; Elvis Presley’s ‘Mystery Train’, and George Jones’s ‘White Lightning’. Watkins took lead vocal on several numbers including his far-out take on Kenny Rogers’s ‘You Picked A Fine Time To Leave Me Lucille’. The odd fluffed ending, permissible after a 25 year lay-off and only a scant rehearsal, added to the charm. Mr Thomas, in particular, patched up any looseness with subtle percussive prompts. The final encore was Kirsty MacColl’s hit song, co-written with Rambo, ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’.
The group’s new ‘Chip Shop EP’ (RDJ Recordings) is being released in support of Prostate Cancer UK, a charity that helps to raise funds and create awareness of that most insidious variety of the disease that ‘lurks in the back passage of many a groovy old boy’, as I do call writing in my 2014 remembrance of the late Alvin Stardust here.