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Concert Review by Nick Morgan
 
ALBERT LEE AND HOGAN'S HEROES
The Borderline, London
30th April 2005 - by Nick Morgan
Albert LeeLeft: Brian Hodgson, right: Albert Lee
  You might think it’s strange that the man whose ‘phone rings when the great and good of rock and roll want an ace country guitarist was born not in Nashville Tn., but in England’s most rural Herefordshire.
But that’s simply the way it is with veteran ace picker Albert Lee, once of Head, Hands and Feet, accomplished solo recording artiste and performer, the man behind the reconciliation of the Everly Brothers (and now their guitarist and arranger) and the owner of the magical fingers that have graced more recording sessions than you’ve had the proverbial hot dinners. And who knows, maybe it’s his pastoral origins that also account for the fact that his appearance is something akin to an overgrown hobbit.
When he’s not recording (he’s just finished an album with a motley assortment of guitar gods and Scotty Moore), touring with the Everly Brothers et. al., or being one of Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, he still tours and records fairly frequently with his band, Hogan’s Heroes.
Led by pedal steel guitarist Gerry Hogan, with bass player Brian Hodgson, drummer Peter Baron and featuring ex Jellybread and top-ten artiste hit-record producer and session man extraordinaire Pete Wingfield (“I’m eighteen with a bullet, got my finger on the trigger and gonna pull it”) on keyboards (who I last saw playing more years ago than I would care to remember at the famous Blues Attic – not really an attic as you will recall - behind the Jolly Weavers) they provide and effective and good-humoured backdrop for Lee’s guitar, his surprisingly still effective singing, and his occasional soulful forays on the keyboard.  
Pete WingfieldPete Wingfield
On the second of two steamy and sweaty nights at the Borderline (when I have to add it was impossible to take notes – hence, or partly hence, my somewhat dim recollection of the evening’s proceedings) we enjoyed two sets when Lee worked his way through much of his past solo material, tracks from his most recent album Heartbreak Hill (funnily enough ‘Two more bottles of wine’ is one of the few songs that comes to mind), and Tear it Up with Hogan’s heroes, favourite songs from Elvis (“Hound dog”, on which they got the swinging rhythm down to perfection), the Everly Brothers (also apparently their most obscure, so how the hell am I supposed to remember what it was?), Hoyt Axton, the Beach Boys (another one that had us scratching our heads) and Tommy Steele (yes, I said Tommy Steele – ‘Singing the Blues’), helped out by Wingfield who performed a classy couple of Floyd Kramer tunes.
Albert Lee   If you want an introduction to young Albert then I would commend his 1979 album ‘Hiding’. This of course is something of an albatross round his neck as it contains the hit song ‘Country boy’ with Lee in fretboard burning form (he probably outplayed that other Lee fellow for speed on this one). But it’s a shame when clearly much of the audience have really only come along to hear this one song, not least when there’s far more subtlety, style and guile in his playing than he can ever display at 100 miles and hour.
Nonetheless he gives the audience what they want. And clearly he and the band really enjoy themselves – an admirable reminder to those untouchable superstars who will only grace mega stadiums, that this is what rock and roll is really all about, even for guys who spend most of their days in studios covering up for the flaws of the supposedly great ones. Nick Morgan (first photo by Kate).



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