Singing their PRAISES

Bois­dale’s Mu­sic Awards draw a host of fa­mous faces

The Wharf - - Front Page - Jon Massey

The com­pany I’ve kept tonight. I’m not re­ally known as a singer. It’s un­be­liev­able Alexan­der Arm­strong

There’s only one venue in Ca­nary Wharf where one might twist Tra­volta-style to Chuck Berry’s Never Can Tell be­fore shoot­ing the breeze with Alexan­der Arm­strong, talk­ing eter­nal life with the lead singer of Man­fred Mann and spilling red wine over Re­becca Fer­gu­son’s dress.

Bois­dale held its sec­ond an­nual mu­sic awards last week, dish­ing out 15 gongs be­fore an en­thu­si­as­tic au­di­ence, who were treated to scin­til­lat­ing sonic en­ter­tain­ment and a few un­ex­pected jams.

De­spite its rep­u­ta­tion for jazz, soul and blues, the an­ar­chic pres­ence of for­mer Sex Pis­tols bassist Glen Mat­lock best summed up the evening; se­ri­ous sound that hadn’t lost its edge.

It was a cel­e­brat­ing of qual­ity, typ­i­fied by the hard graft of Mid­lands man Earl Jack­son, a job­bing roadie who spends part of his life in­ter­pret­ing the mu­sic of Chuck Berry. Ar­guably the least well-known per­former, the Lon­don­born, Not­ting­ham-raised mu­si­cian said: “To get a lit­tle bit of recog­ni­tion feels amaz­ing. Chuck’s licks are dif­fi­cult to get right.

“They are the essence of what makes his sound. It’s a cer­tain groove that he shows through the ac­cents in his play­ing that others don’t have. He’s got a groove that we all strug­gle to get right. What I’m try­ing to do is em­brace the flavour.

“As for the evening, I’m find­ing I’m bump­ing into faces I only see on TV and they’re nor­mal, down-to-earth peo­ple.”

Re­becca Fer­gu­son, grace­fully wip­ing my clum­sily sloshed wine

from her dress, said: “I’m a big fan of Bois­dale owner Ranald Macdon­ald and mu­sic pa­tron Jools Hol­land.

“It’s a lovely venue, re­ally friendly. Some­times you get booked for places and they’re in-out, but the team here is very warm.

“Tonight was un­re­hearsed and it’s lovely to win some­thing. I’m cur­rently get­ting into film, au­di­tion­ing for roles and I also write screen­plays – they’re fu­tur­is­tic sci-fi, that’s what I’m into.”

In con­trast to the fu­ture, Paul Jones, who won the Life­time Achieve­ment Award was a blast from the past. First ris­ing to fame in the 1960s as lead singer of Man­fred Man, he later went on to a solo ca­reer and act­ing be­fore re­turn­ing to gig reg­u­larly with the band.

He said: “It’s great to win an award now and again. This is my third for life­time achieve­ment, but I’m not done yet, this one’s got an­other half a cen­tury to run. Any­way, as a be­liever that Je­sus Christ is the son of God, I’m not go­ing to die, I’m just go­ing to eter­nity.”

Among the more un­ex­pected faces was co­me­dian and TV pre­sen­ter Alexan­der Arm­strong, whose al­bum

In A Win­ter Light comes out on Novem­ber 24 and fea­tures Jools Hol­land. He said: “I’m not re­ally known for my mu­sic, but I’ve been singing since I was seven. The com­pany I’ve kept tonight – Imelda May was singing a sec­ond be­fore I got on stage – it’s un­be­liev­able.”

Jools added: “I’m giddy with ex­cite­ment. It was leg­end af­ter leg­end, treat af­ter treat.”

Earl Jack­son gets in the groove to chan­nel the spirit of Chuck Berry on Never Can Tell

Paul Jones gets back­ing from Glen Mat­lock and Jools Hol­land Out­stand­ing Con­tri­bu­tion To Bri­tish Mu­sic Mike Batt Le­gendary Song­writer Glen Mat­lock Life­time Achieve­ment Paul Jones

Re­becca Fer­gu­son per­forms af­ter win­ning the Jazz Singer award

Imelda May hits the high notes

Mike Batt

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