It's official. I'm in mourning. But, Constant Reader, the joy before the pain.
On Saturday night Owen and I had one of the tables overlooking the Jazz Cafe stage to see the Queens of Lovers Rock Janet Kay and Carroll Thompson. After seeing them earlier in the year at the Barbican for the BBC SOUL BRITANNIA concert we thought it would be good to see them in a smaller venue and here they were.
Backed by an excellent band they took turns singing several short sets and as both have sustained careers over 25+ years it was great seeing and hearing them. The nice thing to see was how while one was taking their turn, the other sat to one side behind the backing singers - singing along! Neither appears to have a UK recording contract although Janet has been signed to Sony Japan for a few years so it can't be easy maintaining careers. What they do have are two wonderful voices with great stage presence, a catalogue of swoony love songs and a devoted fan following. Oh and Janet's partner Victor Romero Evans doing a great job selling the promo versions of their new albums!
Carroll sang most of her HOPELESSLY IN LOVE album from 1980, a landmark record which was recently voted by The Guardian as one of the 1,000 Albums To Hear Before You Die. My favourites were included, "Hopelessly In Love", "Yesterday", "I'm So Sorry" and "Mr. Cool". As well as these she also sang some tracks from her latest album MOOD FOR LOVE including a delightful Lovers Rock version of "Breakfast In Bed".
Janet treated us to "Feel No Way", "Lovin' You" (first recorded by her aged 19), "Love You Always", Dennis Brown's version of "Silhouettes" and a great "You've Made Me so Very Happy". Oh and "Silly Games" - and yes she hit the note! She also played the drums for the first verse so we could sing it to her! She also sang a lovely cover of Anita Baker's "Sweet Love" from her last cd LOVIN' YOU... MORE
Afterwards we swung by Victor to buy some cds - and shake his hand - then trooped upstairs again to be ushered into the presence of these two gracious Queens who were very friendly and happy to chat - it was hard to believe they had just come off-stage after playing an hour and a half of solid soulful reggae.
They even showcased a young singer called Wayne Marshall who sang a rather overly-tortured version of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come". Hopefully he will drop the James Brownisms soon and let his fine voice carry the song. Here is a shot of them listening to him.
Janet said they are going to be performing again next February at Hackney Empire so I am already looking forward to seeing them again!
So if I had a wonderful time... why am I in mourning?
When I got back to Owen's I realised I had left my lovely chocolate brown Cressida Bell velvet scarf draped over the back of my chair.
I called the Jazz Cafe today and yes you guessed.... no scarf was handed in.
My lovely scarf... gone forever... *sob*