Sunday, September 17, 2006

"Home-baked loaves and wood-burning stoves, Shirley MacLaine and White Hart Lane..."

... That's What I Like.

And anuvver...

... maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, but I love Chas and Dave.
Uncool they may be, but they remain dazzlingly accomplished musicians, witty and surprisingly sensitive songwriters and, well, a bleedin’ good laugh.
The first half of this Herts-home(ish)coming at the sold-out Wyllyotts Centre in Potters Bar combined spoken reminiscences with considered covers, dipping into blues, country, folk ballads and music hall.
They paid tribute to Big Bill Broonzy, Eddie Cochran, Jimmie Rodgers and Lonnie Donegan - another past master in putting a jaunty English spin on the American music canon.
In fact, Lonnie D was deferentially referenced by both first-half-opener “Bring A Little Water, Sylvie” and first-half-closer, er, “Lonnie D”, the duo’s own lyric-listing tribute to a man who had so much more going for him than his old man being a, er, dustman.
Okay, so a request for questions to fill in a few of the between-banter gaps didn’t quite work, a predictably-chaotic and gradually-more-drunken mass-holler being the only outcome.
But for all the (always-impeccably authentic) Cockney cliches, sunglasses-toting by Chas and cheery twinkling by Dave, it was also a pleasure to watch the caressing of the guitar necks and frets, the country-tinged finger-picking and surprisingly-sweet balladry.
The second half was more familiar boogie-woogie as Chas Hodges plundered his piano with gusto, Dave Peacock stabbed his bass as if playing lead and flat-capped drummer “Give-it-some-stick” Mick, well, did just that.
The lusty likes of Rabbit, Gertcha, Margate and London Girls - the song the Beach Boys would have written, had they come from Bethnal Green ("... and they've always got a pound, to buy their round, when it's their turn up the bar...") - bore the stomp of greatness... even if I actually prefer to the familiar hits the lower-key early-recording versions of Strummin‘ and (the-then-titled-not-to-be-confused-with-a-Holland-defender) Oortcha from debut album One Fing 'n‘ Anuvver...
Okay, an incessant, attention-seeking conga-line across the front of the stage by what appeared the beered-up long-deservedly-lost daughters of the Roly Polys looked a little unnecessary (I think Chas thought so too, his lazy eyes somehow firing a little impatient behind those shades; Dave just kept peering down each passing blouse…) And some of the heavy-beery-breathed taunts gave Tottenham fans an unsavoury name.
But Snooker Loopy was a refreshingly mad reminder of the days when Chas and Dave were bona fide Top Ten hitsters, in their own unique way.
And after a brief Petticoat Lane barrow-boy pitch for the signed CDs they would hawk from a suitcase, they ended with the majestic and - honestly - beautiful There Ain’t No Pleasin’ You.
Sadly for this Spurs fan, there were no rousing choruses of “Ossie’s going to Wembley, his knees have gone all trembly” or “We’re off to Wembley ‘cos we beat the Arsenal”.
Apparently the boys have another Cup Final classic in the vaults, but not to be touched until the under-achieving Lilywhites prove themselves worthy again.
Well, so they insisted to me when I got to chat to Chas, as Dave drove on to the next pit-stop on an otherwise-dreary Wednesday back in 2001, as Spurs prepared to face the Scum in an Old Trafford semi-final. Hmm, what a grim day that turned out to be.
But enough of that.
We’ll be back at Wembley one day. Honest.
And I happily suspect Chas and Dave will continue gleefully rockney-and-rollin’ until then.
However long it may take.
Lovely jubbly.


ovrnighteditor said...

We'll only know what C+D were worth when they're gone. And - unusually - I mean that with affection, not sarcasm.

Aidan said...

I should hope so too...

Not to get too morbid about these things, either, but I'd like to think that when the time finally sadly comes, they'll die on the same day...

(I hope to reserve the right to delete this comment, if they do both expire imminently...)