Friday, 17 September 2010

After Acker, it's Lonnie!

Last week I went to Hereford's Courtyard Theatre to see jazz legend Acker Bilk, still going strong at 84. This week it was the Lonnie Donegan Band.  Lonnie doesn't play with them anymore, not surprising really as he's been dead since 2002, but his son, Peter Donegan, now fronts the band and, being the same sort of age as Lonnie was in his prime, creates a somewhat eerie impression that the band has aged by 40 years but their leader hasn't.
Lonnie Donegan was known as the "King of Skiffle", a style of music characterised by the use of banjos, washboards and a bass consisting of a tea-chest, broom handle and piece of string. Peter, unfortunately, prefers keyboards and electric guitars and although he plays all his dad's old songs ("Rock Island Line", "Cumberland Gap", Battle of New Orleans" etc) they come out rather differently.

Following my Acker Bilk post, Andy Tidy (aka Captain Ahab) commented how great it was to see the old-stagers still going strong. I don't disagree, but it must be a pretty strange way of making a living. Imagine spending your time at work doing exactly what you did 30 or 40 years ago. In my case, trying to run the buses in Brighton without benefit of mobile phones, computers, email or even fax machines and photocopiers!
Peter Donegan's life must be even stranger as he attempts to recreate what his father was doing in his youth (which for me  would be driving a bus in post-war South Wales!)

The Courtyard seems to be having a run of "golden oldies" at the moment. If there are any fans of "The Fortunes" and "The Ivy League" out there they are on a double bill next week.

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