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Sunday, July 08, 2018

Spats Langham's Hot Fingers with Emily Campbell @ Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club - July 7

Spats Langham (guitar, banjo, ukulele, vocals); Danny Blyth (guitar, mandolin, clarinet, bass clarinet, harmonica); Malcolm Sked (double bass, sousaphone); Emily Campbell (vocals) 
(Review by Russell)
Darlington, first Saturday in the month, you're in St Augustine's and on this blue sky day there is not one but two games in town. First up, the ever popular Spats Langham playing a lunchtime concert at the long-running Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club followed by the little matter of England v Sweden.
A 12:30 kick off for Langham's Hot Fingers, three o'clock in Russia. Hmm...it would be wise for Spats to take a shorter interval, thus the second set would finish a few minutes before the quarter-final showdown. And so it was...
Bing Crosby to Fats Waller by way of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Langham's lovingly compiled treasure trove of tunes probably runs into the hundreds thus enabling him to surprise even his most ardent fans with something new.   
When the Folks High Up Do the Mean Low Down to My Sweet Virginia (Al Bowlly!) to McKinney's Cotton Pickers (There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder), Tom Langham performs with the assuredness of the virtuoso musician and classic jazz authority that he most certainly is. 

The 'Hot Fingers' comprise three musicians - Langham, Danny Blyth playing guitar, mandolin, clarinet. bass clarinet and harmonica, and anchorman Malcolm Sked alternating between string bass and sousaphone. Joining the boys to sing a few numbers was the Cotswolds' Canary, aka Emily Campbell. Ms. Campbell's secure lower register delivery featured first on Chick Webb's Take Another Guess then, with Blyth on bass clarinet, Moanin' Low followed up by a happy Get Happy (Spats doing the tricky guitar bits, Blyth, now on guitar,  supplying the rock steady rhythm). 

Ukulele Ike is a favourite of Langham, the music tremendous, the anecdotes equally so...Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike) was the voice of Jiminy Cricket (Pinocchio)! What's more, the movie's success made Edwards' fortune a second time over, which he promptly blew a second time! 

Alex Hill's Delta Bound lives on in the hands of the Hot Fingers (and Tuba Skinny), as does the inimitable, Fender Strat-toting Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Who Rolled the Stone Away? the first of two from the formidable Tharpe, she would later close the show. 

Fats Waller's salutary (he'd had a spell in the slammer) Keeping Out of Mischief Now fulfilled the Dr Jazz quotient, Freddy Taylor's Blue Drag the viper jazz element, and the popular novelty song - Lena from Palestina - amused all present. And so, the England XI was about to do duty. Spats and co left us with more from Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Didn't it Rain? Not on England's parade, it didn't. 
Russell

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