17th April 2018

The Manfreds featuring Paul Jones, Tennants Garden Rooms, April 13th 2018

 An independent review by concert goer Paul Stokes

An auction house essential is an impressive back catalogue and The Manfreds Featuring Paul Jones arrived with one of the best in their business.  A sell-out audience of 660 gathered at Tennants Garden Rooms in Leyburn to view the 1960’s pop antiquities. Two one hour-long sets contained around two dozen numbers, mostly major hits bearing only minor cracks or signs of ageing.  Frontman Paul Jones, one of the three originals on display from Manfred Mann’s earliest incarnations, possesses a Peter Pan of pop quality.  At 76, not only the range and clarity of his distinctive voice remain intact but he’s pretty much retained his appearance.  His composition The One in the Middle served as the introduction to the band and after the line “See the singer looking sweet” wryly inserted “Well it was a long time ago”.

It was 1965 when the record topped the British EP charts for nine weeks, four years before the eponymous South African keyboard player Manfred Mann split to pursue other musical ventures.  Next up was a truncated version of Bob Dylan’s Just Like a Woman, received with equal enthusiasm. Guitarist Tom McGuinness, another original, followed up with his old McGuiness Flint foot-stomper Malt & Barley Blues.  The all-seated crowd, mainly sixty-somethings, was on familiar ground by now and and heads started to rock. After a quick excursion into Georgie Fame’s Yeh Yeh, the third original and founder member Mike Hugg was centre stage on keyboard for an instrumental duet.

The highlight of the night followed as McGuiness’s acoustic guitar chords rang out before Pretty Flamingo soared through the room complete with pantomime-style audience participation at the end.  Bassman Marcus Cliffe proudly announced himself as a Yorkshireman with family in nearby Redmire before a virtuoso solo version of Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready.   Blues aficionados were also treated to an elongated and gutsy version of Howlin’ Wolf’s Smokestack Lightning, the first track on the band’s first album 54 years ago.  They have re-recorded it for their new album Makin’ Tracks, also the name of their current tour which took in 41 dates last year with a further 26 this year.

The hits continued to roll throughout second half with I’ve Been a Bad, Bad, Boy; 5-4-3-2-1 and Come Tomorrow preceding When I’m Dead & Gone and the Mighty Quinn.  Jones only showed his age towards the end of the night, directing a grumpy old man’s rant against someone shining a light in his face while filming on an iPad. By the time he was into Doo Wah Diddy Diddy a woman was up and dancing in front of the stage while others rocked in the aisles. His cool was restored and a few Jagger-style gyrations thrown in for good measure. A standing ovation led to a lusty performance of If You Gotta Go Go Now for the encore.

As one of the many satisfied customers of a certain age shuffled out through foyer commented: “Where did those years go?”

To find out more about what is coming up at The Garden Rooms, visit our Events Page.


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