Soo’s Reviews
BEST OF FRIENDS  -  10th SEPT '17 A lovely evening of pure gentle country songs.  We heard tracks by Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins and a mention of losing another country great, Don Williams - they played 3 of his many songs. I really enjoyed their material and Steve never forgets Froggy! I liked Steve's Stetson better than a cap. Keep it Country! NEXT WEEK  -   SAVANNAH Soo IVOR JAMES  -  27 AUG '17 First time at Fred's for Ivor James.  He did sing one song with Larry Gatlin when Ivor came to see his show. He started with line dance songs but I preferred him singing ballads. NEXT WEEK  -  THE THRILLBILLIES Soo BLUE HORIZON  -  20 AUG '17 If its possible, Christine's voice seems to sound better at every visit to Fred's. She is also a good entertainer and is ably supported by Mike and Dave. As well as their usual mix of material, we also heard 2 acoustic numbers, a bluegrass track and they asked for requests from the audience.  We could not wish for more. A lovely evening. NEXT WEEK  -  IVOR JAMES Soo PHIL and KEN  13 AUG '17 There was quite a few in to see this duo - many were strangers to Fred's - fans I would say as Phil knew their names and they enjoyed his jokes. Phil played a couple of acoustic numbers and only one song I have never heard called "A House With No Curtains". NEXT WEEK  -  BLUE HORIZON Soo   BLACK STEEL  -  6 AUG '17 I always enjoy the material this duo bring - a good mix of country songs suiting both listeners and dancers. Nice to have the fiddle from Jimmy - wish we could have more in bands like we used to. A pleasant evening - Gill celebrated her 80th birthday and was given one of their CDs - very nice of them. NEXT WEEK  -  PHIL & KEN Soo CLINT BRADLEY BAND  -  30 JULY '17 When we have a new band at Fred's and they are different it naturally splits the audience opinion.  I would say the majority enjoyed them. This traditional 4-piece band were Dave Luke - guitar and mandolin, Danny Kelly - drums, Connie Everard - double bass, and lead singer Clint Bradley.  He could not help showing his enthusiasm for traditional country and had a good voice. We heard a lot of his own songs, also cowboy songs, and one I love - Rodney Crowell's "Long And Lonesome Highway". NEXT WEEK  -  BLACK STEEL Soo MIDNIGHT TRAIN  -  23rd JULY '17 I enjoyed this week with the return of Midnight Train. They no longer have Bob Drickle playing with them but Bob Steelman, lead singer and guitar, and Iain Duncan, guitar and pedal steel are both excellent musicians. I loved hearing all the country info and I must mention how clearly Bob sang - we could hear every word.  My friend Gill heard the words to Pam Tillis' "Blue Roses" for the first time. I'm sure Fred will have them back. NEXT WEEK  -  CLINT BRADLEY BAND Soo AMERICAN ROUTES  -  16th JULY '17 We had a few people back this week to see this trio. They were last here a year ago due to Irene suffering back problems.  We heard a few new songs from them - mainly line dance - including "Walking Away" and "Angelina". NEXT WEEK  -  MIDNIGHT TRAIN Soo GAMBLER  -  9th JULY 2017 As its holiday season we had a smaller audience this week to watch this duo. Pete and Geoff gel well and seem to enjoy playing together. Some songs they sang were "First Fool In Line", "Champagne Promise" and "One Way Ticket". I think I am correct in realising that Pete used to be in Cajun Moon band. A good night. NEXT WEEK  -  AMERICAN ROUTES Soo BEST OF FRIENDS  -  2nd JULY '17 I enjoyed last night with Best Of Friends. Another gentle laid-back evening with old country songs and plenty of Froggy! Steve and Middy will be back in September. NEXT WEEK  -  GAMBLER Soo KALIBRE  -  25th JUNE '17 We had another relaxed evening we always have when Kalibre come to Fred's. Country at it's best. NEXT WEEK  -  BEST OF FRIENDS Soo WILL BANISTER (USA) supported by JORDAN MOGEY and JAKE CARTER  -  18 JUN '17 Nicky James and State Of The Heart kicked off this special night with Nicky singing his usual medley of Buck Owens songs. Next came Jake Carter - younger brother of  Daniel Carter riding high in Ireland.  He is a good-looking charismatic young man full of charm and bags of confidence.  He gave us an upbeat half hour and I'd like to see him again. Then we had a return visit from Jordan Mogey with a voice like Johnny Cash - he of course sang Johnny Cash songs, also Hank Williams and Jim Reeves etc. After the break the 2nd visit of Will Banister from New Mexico USA.  He sang "Turned Her On To Country" and "I've Never Been Any Other Way" from his first CD.  He also sang a Merle Haggard medley and many more. The room was packed again like on his last visit. NEXT WEEK  -  KALIBRE Soo THE HAYLEYS  11th JUNE '17 There were a few people missing this week including me.  I understand they sang the usual songs - "Cowboy Sweetheart" being one.  I am sure their fans were there but having seen them about forty times I wish they would learn some new songs as they are a professional trio. NEXT WEEK  -  WILL BANISTER (USA) with JORDAN MOGEY and JAKE CARTER Soo TEXAS TORNADOES  -  4th JUNE '17 What a night!  Pete and Stuart put on a brilliant show.  Not only can Pete sing and dance, he has a great rapport with the audience. The whole night was electric - full of entertainment and energy.  Pete jumped off the stage four times to dance whilst still singing. "God Bless Texas" with Susan was a scream!  He did the barn dance with a young visitor from America and even taught a new dance to a floor full of dancers - only because people asked him to. A brilliant all-round entertainer ably supported by Stuart on keyboards, guitar and vocals. I hope we don't have to wait two years for them to return. NEXT WEEK  -  THE HALEYS Soo STEVE LOVETT  -  28th MAY '17 Another week, another solo artiste and yet another great night. Steve is one half of Rancher duo - he has a good voice and is great on the guitar. We certainly got our money's worth with the amount of material we heard - tracks from Jim Reeves, Don Williams, Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Ronnie Dunn and American newcomer Drake White. In my opinion he could not have chosen a better song to end the night than Chris Stapleton's "Tennessee Whisky". We must have this artiste back - he is good. NEXT WEEK  -  TEXAS TORNADOES Soo IAN HIGHLAND BAND  -  21st MAY '17 I was so pleased this was not the band I thought it was - one I'd seen about 20 years ago and did not like.  Thank goodness, no chance of that! They were a very talented 5-piece from the London area.  They have been together seven years. Ian heads the band as vocalist.  I liked his voice and thought the band were good musicians.  They were Bob, Terry Downing, Tony, and Arron Herrod. The audience was kept entertained with their choice of material and that country beat. We heard all our favourites with tracks from Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks etc. Ian said they would love to return to Fred's and I hope they do. Soon. NEXT WEEK  -  STEVE LOVETT Soo THE THRILLBILLIES  -  14th MAY '17 It was the annual visit from this duo - they were both under the weather and had sore throats but the audience enjoyed their mix of ballads and Irish numbers. Ed is still leaving the stage though to walk round the audience which a lot of ladies don't like. Two of their numbers were "I Loved Her First" and "Romeo's Heart". NEXT WEEK  -  IAN HIGHLAND BAND Soo JOHN DOHERTY  -  7th MAY '17 I'm so glad I like all country music old and new - it means I hardly ever have a disappointing week.  This week was certainly no exception.  Since having solo artistes that we have enjoyed, John certainly didn't disappoint. A pleasant likeable lad - I thought he was about 24 - he's 43! I should have gone to Specsavers! - he comes from Loscoe Derbyshire and has an Irish grandad and has spent his time visiting Ireland and watching the bands.  That's how he has become the professional who came to Fred's this week.  He brought a wide selection of music and has a good voice suited to country. Some songs were "Rubber Dubbin", "If Love Was A River" and "Desperation". I'm sure Fred will have him back. NEXT WEEK  -  THE THRILLBILLIES Soo  BADLANDS COUNTRY  -  30th APRIL '17 What a night! What a band! - and what can I write to give this brilliant talented band the credit they so deserve? I thought they were perfect in every way.  Russ Kitchen is their lead vocalist and lead guitarist. It was mesmerising to watch him playing that instrument as though he's been playing it since birth.  He is surrounded by Phil Holden - harmony vocals and guitar, Pete Morgan - back-up vocals and bass and on the much-missed drums was Ash Thompson. They covered a wide range of material to suit everyone - the first band I've heard play "She Comes To Me" and the best rendition of "Seminole Wind" ever. They have been nominated in the "Newcomer Act Of The Year" category at the NAM awards. A breath of fresh air and possibly the best British band I have seen in all my country years. NEXT WEEK  -  JOHN DOHERTY Soo TRAVIS LOGAN  -  23rd APRIL '17 A full house again this week to see Travis.  He's become a firm favourite at Fred's.  What he doesn't know about country music cannot be worth knowing. His choice of songs date back to the '20s and he also knows every year the song came out (eg Paper Roses 1959).  He is very interesting to listen to and has a great voice and personality. Some material we heard - "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain", "Blue Wing" and a new one to me "Waltz Of The Angels" - a lovely song. NEXT WEEK  -  BADLANDS BAND Soo SMOKEY TURTLES BAND - 16TH APRIL What an Easter treat we had for Easter Sunday. We are all familiar with the Ray Peters Trio at Fred's and around the festivals.  This was the first time Ray brought his new 5-piece band. Ray is still lead vocals and rhythm guitar with Dean Barnes - lead guitar and Dave Haywood - pedal steel. They are now joined by Hannah Cope - bass guitar and Pete Hedley on drums. All are fantastic musicians with a great sound. Very slick. Pete sang some Vince Gill songs to perfection and they performed beautifully all evening. I'd see them again in a heartbeat. NEXT WEEK  -  TRAVIS LOGAN Soo CLEAR CUT  -  9th APRIL '17 Father and son duo this week.  They have been working together for 30 years - a fact I did not know. Dad Don was suffering with problems with his throat in the first spot but after taking some throat sweets it seemed to get better. I did enjoy their instrumental numbers - they are both good musicians. NEXT WEEK  -  SMOKEY TURTLES BAND (5-piece) Soo BLUE HORIZON  -  2nd APRIL '17 We had another enjoyable evening with this talented trio from the north-east. I'm already looking forward to their return to Fred's. NEXT WEEK  -  CLEAR CUT COUNTRY Soo