So Long Angel
click their name to visit their own website SoLongAngel.com
Featuring Fran McGillivray on sultry vocals
and bass, So Long Angel weave their bluesy spell round the songs of guitarist
Michael Burke, the blues harp & sax of Michael Paice, and the cool Hammond
of Roland Kemp.
The new CD "..falling.." is another fine example of the band's sophisticated blues style.
FRAN McGILLIVRAY - vocals, bass, flute, composer
MIKE BURKE - guitar, vocals, composer
ROLAND KEMP - keyboards, vocals, composer
ROGER NUNN - drums
MICHAEL PAICE - alto & tenor sax, hamonica
The band's set is made up of blues & soul covers blended beautifully with tunes composed by Fran & Mike ( hear the CD ). Roland has contributed songs and arrangements and the whole thing has resulted in powerful, emotional live performances.
Influences run from soul through funk and jazz and indeed Fran's singing career began in roots music. But at the heart of everything she sings is the blues and Fran sings everything with heart. Her cool, soulful voice gets straight to where it matters. The group have been playing as a unit for three years in their present form although Fran & Mike have been making music for much longer performing internationally as a duo in clubs and at concerts & festivals.
Roger Nunn & Michael Paice are highly respected veterans of the live music scene playing with legends such as Juice on the Loose, Joanne Kelly, Ron Kavana, Red Beans and Rice, Jools Holland, John Cleary and Dana Gillespie. Michael was a nominee as best saxophonist in the British Blues Connection annual awards, 2000. We know he's the best! Before joining the Angels, Roland played with Wildmouth, Straitjacket & Cool Thrust and also composes for film & documentary.
The five musicians have forged a tight partnership. Roger's sharp edged drumming and Fran's economic accuracy on the bass have created a canvas on which Mike and Michael paint magical solos on guitar sax and harp and which allows Roland's jumpy keyboard style the freedom to leap. The band gig regularly in London and the South East.
Click here to see some photos at The Torrington
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Their first CD "Would It Matter" is still available on Altar Records
So Long Angel - New Crawdaddy Club, Billericay, Essex - 30th October 2003
After wowing the audience at the Digital BluesFest in Hutton, Essex in mid-June,
So Long Angel's debut appearance at the New Crawdaddy Club in Billericay was
eagerly anticipated by those who had turned out on a dank, late October night.
Kicking off with two great originals, "Watching Me, Watching You"
and the cool and jazzy "Closer to Midnight", this excellent five piece
then treated us to a wonderfully powerful version of Robert
Johnson's "Walking Blues", a number which really displayed Fran McGillivray's strong and rich voice to great effect.
This was followed by the McGillivray/Burke penned "Go", a future CD track with a delicious swampy bayou guitar sound with loads of reverb and a lovely organ outro. Keyboard maestro Roland Kemp "stepped up to the microphone" for "Going to Chicago" which featured smashing sax and harp breaks from the wonderfully adept Mike Paice and a lovely "walking" bass line from Fran.
Two more McGillivray/Burke compositions followed with the excellent "Freedom"
featuring more lovely guitar from Mike Burke, loads of reverb and vague hints
of the Rolling Stones classic "Mona" off their first album,
followed by a great mid-paced rock number "Hardworking Woman".
Three fantastic versions of Blues standards followed with a wonderful take
on Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign", featuring some smashing
guitar from Michael Burke whose playing is superbly understated and all the
pleasurable for that and an almost reggae rhythm behind a great sax solo.
Big Mama Thornton's "Unlucky Girl" was followed by a smokily moody "Spoonful" which featured yet more superb harp and guitar. A final own composition, the Latin flavoured "I've Changed" rounded things off before the band came back for two encores, a great up tempo version of Memphis Minnie's "Chauffeur Blues" and the powerful, "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" by Isaac Hayes.
This set reinforced what an excellent but underrated band this is, brimming
with talent, something to which Fran referred on several occasions. Michael
Burke, Mike Paice, Roland Kemp and Roger Nunn are individually most
talented but together they gel effortlessly, each taking their turn in the spotlight but never seeking to encroach on the other's space. The result is a superb music and performances which are never flashy, always spot on and
wonderfully entertaining. Combine this with the power and passion of Fran's vocals, the clever lyrics of much of the original material and the original approach to covers and you have a delicious cocktail which never quite slakes your thirst and leaves you forever wanting more!
Go see this band, you will not be disappointed.
© 2003 Ashwyn Smyth - Digital Blues - www.phoenixfm.com