Singing their PRAISES
Boisdale’s Music Awards draw a host of famous faces
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