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Monday, May 27, 2019

Gavin Lee: Remembering Reg Wall's New Orleans Ragtime Band @ Shotton Colliery Officials Club - May 26

Gavin Lee (clarinet, alto sax); Alf Langthorne (keyboards); Les Crosby (drums)
(Review by Russell)

The other day Shotton Colliery lad Gavin Lee found in the loft an old bass drum that he used to play as a member of the late Reg Wall's New Orleans Ragtime Band. This stirred Lee into thinking perhaps it was about time he played a gig on home turf. By accident or design, the gig would follow on from Sunderland's big day out at Wembley - it would take the form of a celebration or a wake...

The television set switched off with tears not yet dry, Lee opened the first of two sets with Who's Sorry Now? Wry smiles all round, there's always next season to look forward to. The amiable Lee set about cheering up his marras, seemingly just about everyone in a packed Officials Club appeared to know the New Century Ragtime Orchestra's reedsman. Here's one from the hit parade, quipped Lee...from the 30s, All of Me
Lee's 'marras' on this Sunday afternoon gig were veteran pianist Alf Langthorne and Soul Rebels' drummer Les Crosby. Georgia nice and mellow with Lee on alto, our bandleader moved on swiftly with one of trombonist Reg Wall's favourite tunes, the up-tempo Night Train - feet tapping, life wasn't so bad after all, SAFC will come again. It Had to be You with Lee back on the liquorice stick closed an enjoyable first set.

Time for another bottle of Brown. A bit crack with local lass Emma Fisk and a local poet who knows his Dankworth from his Tubbs, the Officials Club, with its top of the range snooker table, couldn't have been more welcoming, not least with a post-match 'spread' laid on for one and all. 

Second set, Lee contended It's a Sin to Tell a Lie...perhaps. It can't have happened too many times when Pete Fountain gets a mention on a Sunday afternoon in yer local social club. Good on Lee to remember his fellow clarinetist by playing Midnight Boogie which prompted a club old-timer to stomp away to his heart's content! The popular Lee acceded to a request for the even more popular Stranger on the Shore. A nod, a wink, this is what the people voted for! Our trio kept the audience onside with a mention of Patsy Cline - little did the crowded room know Lee was coming from the Dukes of Dixieland rather than the one-time country and western megastar. 

If I Had You ventured Lee, his bandmates Langthorne and Crosby more than happy to oblige as a marra enquired of Lee: Gavin, do ye play the moothie? Moving swiftly on the main man suggested Shine - a good choice. As Lee wound up the set he once more introduced Messrs Langthorne and Crosby, suggesting if a representative of HMRC was in the house, his name was Engelbert Stinklebum. And on that note this Reg Wall-inspired gig went out on Bye Bye Blues. Such was the applause Stinklebum and co played another one - Some of These Days. One of these days SAFC will do it, now that will be some party!   
Russell       

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