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Live From Birmingham: Joe Louis Walker, Alasdair Roberts & Brian Jackson

Martin Longley By

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There were some lesser-known songs to begin, the first big hitter arriving with "Lady Day And John Coltrane," which was apparently one of those early tunes that Jackson didn't co-write. Here, it was given a tougher, faster touch, involving a mid-song switch from electric to acoustic piano for its solo. Backed by just bass (Yolanda Charles) and drums (Chris Morris), the latter often too intrusively rocky, where much of the repertoire required some sensitivity. "Winter In America" was outstanding, but "Guerilla" ended up being tiresome, and overly long, with too much crowd-prodding. Of course, a full climax was attained during "The Bottle," where Jackson stood up to deliver that famed flute solo, vocalising into his instrument. Just when we might have been thinking that several essential songs had been missing, the encore provided us with the downbeat "Home Is Where The Hatred Is," one of the pair's finest numbers.

Photograph: Jo Allen

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