IN the week when the great Fats Domino passed away, could there be a more fitting moment to watch The Blues Band to take to the stage at New Brighton's Floral Pavilion?

Dave Kelly, Tom McGuiness, Gary Fletcher, Rob Townsend and – of course – Paul Jones arrived with their back catalogue and quite simply rocked the theatre with a little over two hours of the coolest blues music imaginable and paid their own tributes to the great man, who had scored more chart time in the 1950s and '60s than Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis combined.

Dave Kelly on guitar and vocals performing Statesman Blues set things off apace, his delicious melodies and smooth voce lighting up the air before passing the baton across to Paul Jones and the first tribute of the evening to Domino.

Jones' superb rendition of Let the Four Winds Blow, backed up with some consummate harmonica work, underlined what a skilled musician he is and what a legacy Fats has left behind.

The thing with The Blues Band that immediately strikes home is that not only are they each superb blues musicians, they are all also excellent singers.

Tom McGuiness singing and playing guitar on She's The Wrong Woman was an absolute joy, whereas Gary Fletcher - temporarily exchanging his bass for acoustic guitar and ukulele respectively - delivered My Love Made You Wrong and Say You Will so well each made the heart sigh.

The highlights were many, but How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live – a song made famous by Bruce Springsteen but originally recorded by Blind Alfred Reed – almost shook the packed auditorium to its foundations, whereas Howlin' Wolf's Down In the Bottom was given Dave Kelly's special sprinkling of magic dust to set the whole song alight.

Yet it was another tribute to Fats Domino that will long be remembered. With Paul Jones supplying some delightfully subtle tweaks and prods, yet allowing his bountiful singing carry the lyrics in the air, rarely can it be that Walkin' To New Orleans has ever been better performed by a band or artist who is not Fats Domino.

Closing on Louis Jordan's Let the Good Times Roll had the audience exactly where they were at the start: on their feet and cheering for more as The Blues Band.

Taking their leave after yet another superb gig in New Brighton, this was a night that saw five of the most talented musicians this country has ever produced assembled beneath on roof into one tight bundle of blues brilliance.

RATING - five stars 

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