Sounds from beyond the Shed 131 – “A conundrum”

Tribute or ageing star it's a tough call

Credit: ceedub13

So you have a choice. Which way do you jump?

Avid gig goer as I am, I am occasionally thinking about things too much and this is one of those occasions so I thought I would share it with you dear reader.

You have a choice. Do you go and see a band that you love but now only features one of the original line up and that’s more often than not the rhythm guitarist. OR do you go and see a tribute band that plays their material but is in no way related to the original band?

There is a third way but we’ll come to that later. Chances are you’ve all been to see band that does not feature many of the ‘original’ members but does feature one or two and they’re quite long in the tooth. We won’t even get into the question of who qualifies as original members because that’s a can of worms. Were they any good? Could their voices still hit the top notes? Answers on a postcard please. It is also possible that you may have seen a tribute band that perfectly recreates the sound if not the looks of the same band at the peak of its powers. They wouldn’t last long as a tribute band if they weren’t any good so the sound and material should be top drawer if perhaps missing some of the passion. So if you had to choose would you go for Slade featuring Dave Hill or Slayed featuring some youngsters really kicking out the Jams? Or perhaps the idea of Slade in any form is an anathema to readers of these pages but you get the idea. The third way is of course what both Brian Wilson and Crosby/ Nash have done in the past. Completely surround yourself with brilliant musicians, utterly recreate your signature sound and just add chat on top ( or in Brian’s case a couple of quietly spoken sentences). However these are big, big stars who have the resources to staff and tour such an enterprise. What about those further down the pecking order. There must be a point where commercial gain is measured against ludicrousness or just not being properly up to the job. No one thought rock n roll would live this long. Men and women in their 80s still performing. Some buck the trend to display their wares in aspic covered in glitter both Bob and Neil still want to sound new and fresh and always deliver their classics with a twist.

So this weekend is it to be John Fogerty or Clearwater Creedance Revival? The choice is yours. Choose wisely. Oh, and there’s no right answer other than see both if you can as live music needs all the support it can get.

I was encouraged to seek out some Jim James after hearing some on True Detective (brilliant by the way) and some Allman Brothers after being reminded by Fargo Season 5 (even better – absolutely essential viewing!!). This week’s shed broadcast is chockfull of brilliant music featuring as it does the likes of Grian Chatten, Buck Meek, Jason Isbell, DBT, Kassi Valazza, Golden Smog, Gillian Welch and many more.


About Keith Hargreaves 345 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up
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Graham Cole

Keith, thank you for this week’s piece. I always love reading your regular SFBtS and also listening to the musics you choose to play tho I don’t get to listen every week, tsk tsk me! It may have something to do with having been in the same profession as you for 37 years (and loving it).
This week’s piece on tribute bands is a really interesting one. There is no way I will ever miss the chance to see Johnny Echols and his remaining Love incarnation, because a) he is, of course, the original real deal from the classic line-up, and b) his band always has been so enthusiastic about their role and largely get the Love sound down to an absolute T. Indeed, we might not have Love at all these days were it not for them. So come their 2024 tour, I’ll see them again both in Southampton, where I live (and taught) and London, even if I have to catch the midnight coach home because of ULEZ!
As for other tribute-paying outfits, I have seen some good and plenty now quite so on the nail, but I do Love (there’s that word again!) the fact they are out there making live music – as you say, support for that is so much needed thanks to the pandemic and brexit. I watched a great documentary on television recently about such bands at a club somewhere oop north that only does tribute acts, and it was very interesting.
Thank you again, and keep up the good work.