[London] Freddie McGregor @ Jazz Cafe - 28 Aug 07


5 sept. 2007, 15h58m

Last Tuesday, my friend Charles and I were treated to an evening with the music legend Freddie McGregor at Camden's Jazz Cafe.

The billed support act was Ava Leigh. Unfortunately, we arrived at the gig too late to catch more than her last two songs, which did not include my favorite from her Rollin'. I recommend you check-out this one out and to further your listening pleasure, since the gig, a half dozen of her tracks have become on-demand streamable.

After Ava, the Millenium Band, feat. Dalton Browne (pictured above), became the main feature and formed backing for a number of showcase acts, including Keisha Patterson (pictured below). Keisha has a lovely voice which, combined with her growing confidence and obvious sense of humour, looks set to bring her success in reggae music. Amongst her performance was What About Me, which's scheduled for release, later this year.

This 'showcase' period of the gig was very entertaining, in the main, but toward its end the crowd were becoming impatient. Cries of "We want Freddie" went up and at that time, three hours after doors opened, everyone was ready for the main feature.

When Freddie came to the stage, the crowd went crazy and his natural stage presence made it seem the evening was young and a whole new show was about to begin. As most of you reading this will know, Freddie McGregor has been recording since the 1960s and, therefore, has a massive repertoire.

The scheduled part of the show included many of his biggest hits: Big Ship, Lovers Rock, Stop Loving You Just Don't Want To Be Lonely, Sweet African Princess, Brandy, Road Block, Natty Dread, Curly Locks, To be poor is a crime, Push Come to Shove, Got To Get Away, Homeward Bound, If Your Heart Is Willing, I Was Born A Winner, Loving Pauper and I Need Your Love, as well as tributes to heroes who've passed away: Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley.

The penultimate portion of the show was the most charming, with Freddie asking the crowd for requests and, with the help of his multi-talented longtime musical director - Dalton Browne, performing a few verses of each, unrehearsed, including: Natural Collie (Charles' request), Love Ballad, Little Green Apples and Love Has Found Its Way (tribute). From a few rows back, my request for, my favorite, feeling of love did not get heard*.

Other request that didn't quite make it included Charles' second request Beautiful Music and some of the following great songs we wish we'd heard: If Love Was to Die For, I Am a Revolutionist, Come Get Everything, Hungry Belly Pickney, A Better Way, Harvest Uptown, Ghetto Street, Wine of Violence, Hand In A De Fire, Go Away Pretty Girl and Chilling Out. IMO, these, plus many from the show would form the ideal Best of album, that the world's yet to see, notwithstanding future hits from Freddie who surely has more to come - Bring it on Freddie!

Most of the above are quite readily available, with the possible exception of Beautiful Music, which we've had trouble tracking down. From the Love At First Sight album (1982, produced by
Joe Gibbs, Errol Thompson & Freddie - originally released on Joe's label - more details -> here). This track makes a particular feature of Freddie's falsetto - please let me know if you track-down a download.

This requests section seemed to push the time allowed by the Jazz Cafe towards its limit - it seemed Freddie wanted to cram in all the entertainment possible and then some - making sure everyone had got what they came for.

The final two songs brought us back onto the prepared playlist and included a number, harking back over forty years, to his early days.

All'n all, we were all left happy and with the impression that Mr McGregor could've filled four distinct two-hour shows, with still more in the tank! The man is in fine form - if he's performing near you, I urge you to catch it!

Thanks to promoter Eddie Brown for bringing Freddie over. A dream come true, for the coming months, would be an all-star show, Freddie's return, complimented by Maxi Priest (who I've long thought of as the UK's answer to Freddie) and Charles' dream opener Beris Hammond - I'm sure this is a concert many in England are waiting for - Please, come on Eddie, we're waiting.

* - I was lucky enough to meet Freddie backstage, after the show, when I got my wish and more, we sang a little of Feeling of Love together :D

Edit 9 Sept 07: Image order improved and more added.
Edit 10 Sept 07: More of the performed tracks added, as well a tribute names and wish-list.
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  • Babs_05

    Sounds like a really good night. Lucky you, singing a duet! ; )

    6 sept. 2007, 16h03m
  • Varese

    Sounds good- his gig in Brighton was called off for some reason. Wierdly, Ava Leigh was on with Manasseh down the road, so we went there instead.. You should check her version on Manasseh's [i]Levi Riddim[/i] on Roots Garden- good stuff.

    15 sept. 2007, 0h26m
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