Imelda May for those of you who have not heard of her yet is a Dublin born songstress who manages to mix just about every ‘50’s genre into her repertoire from sultry jazz to all out rockabilly, her most recent album Love Tattoo has been a big success over here and following performances on national TV and radio shows her star is definitely rising.
Whilst I would not classify her as ‘rockin’ in the strictest terms of the scene, she has a large following amongst the crowd and certainly is bringing very positive publicity to the scene.
Her band is made up of very experienced musicians, Darrel Higham her guitarist (and partner) will be familiar to most of you having a long and very respected career on the rockabilly circuit.
The venue for this gig is an old church that has for many years been a venue for music and the arts, it has a fantastic atmosphere and when full like tonight, you could not want for better, small & intimate vibrant and unique.
To be honest I do not keep a list of everything that people sing or the running order when I go to a gig because I am usually jumping around and having too much fun to stand there with pen and pad so sorry if I don’t mention all the songs performed or get the sequence 100% accurate but I can pick out some of the highlights.
Imelda took to the stage looking great with her trademark white streaked quiff and pony tail and launched into ‘Feel Me’ a bluesy rocker with a touch of jazz for good measure, this was immediately followed by the Little Walter classic My Babe and then the title track of her current album the outstanding Love Tattoo.
She quickly included some hard line rockabilly to acknowledge the large following she has gathered on the scene with a superb performance of ‘ Don’t Do Me No Wrong’ Darrel’s guitar and Al’s bass really shining here, the song one of the stand outs of the set for me.
The musical mix of genres and styles was amazing switching from Patsy Cline cover ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ through to blues belter, her own Big Bad Handsome Man and the skiffle rhythms of ‘Wild Abouit My Lovin’ also great song that I think was called ‘Sneaky Freak’ an out right rocker.
Then another highlight was Imelda’s gospel number ‘Proud and Humble’ during which she held the crowd captivated by singing unaccompanied by her band in a single spotlight. As she said an appropriate song for the venue.
All the big numbers from the album were included a storming Smokers Song and Smotherin’ Me, as well as the beautiful ballad ‘Falling In Love With You Again’.
Not content with just singing her current stuff (as many artists would be) Imelda introduced us to a track that they have been invited to contribute to a forthcoming Beatles tribute album and two tracks that she has recorded for her next CD, expect it in the autumn, these were Psycho and Mayhem great titles brilliant songs can’t wait for the rest.
Johnny Got a Boom Boom is a full throttle rockabilly workout that had the crowd jumping and calling for more and gave the band another opportunity to highlight their individual skills as the show came to a close, three encores included a superb version of Tainted Love and a tribute to Elvis, My Baby Left Me, again highlighting the bands rock n roll credentials .
Imelda brought the house down, the quality of her vocal performance has to be witnessed to be believed, I have seen many female singers from all genres over the years and she, for me, is the best, my wife and friends were equally impressed.
A small apology here, we managed to leave our camera in the car so I have no photos to share with you.
Her UK tour has a way to go yet and includes some summer festivals including Americana a showcase event for the rock n roll / country scene. If you miss her you’ll miss a real treat!
If there is any justice in the music business Imelda will be a world star, let’s wait and see if she gets the rewards deserved.