Bucks Uni Students Union, High Wycombe
Just back from an afternoon at The Ramblin’ Roots Revue, a 3 day festival of Americana and roots music that gets better every year. I went to see Bennett Wilson Poole but saw that The Arlenes were on a couple of slots earlier, and got there just as they started their set. I only have a few of their songs, all courtesy of my friend Des who sadly passed away 3 weeks ago and who’s funeral is tomorrow. When they played Springboard I shed a quiet tear. Magical.
Next up were The Raging Beauties, a 6-piece which includes Robin Bennett from The Dreaming Spires, who also happens to be the “Bennett” in the band I’ve come to see. They were terrific, doing several songs by the late Bap Kennedy that they have recorded for a new EP. Great harmonies and a black and white Rickenbacker, what more do you want?
Bennett Wilson Poole are the aforementioned Robin Bennett, Danny ‘Champ’ Wilson from Danny & The Champions of the World and the astonishingly good Tony Poole. I last saw Tony play with Starry Eyed & Laughing at a free festival in 1974. I’ve never forgotten it and am convinced that my love of jangly guitars and harmonies was born that sunny afternoon.
The BWP album landed 2 days ago and has been on repeat ever since. It will be Americana album of the year, it is that good. They have only got a handful of gigs under their belt but you wouldn’t know it. The sound is immediately tight, the harmonies pin sharp, on the terrific opener, Soon Enough. All three of them, plus Robin’s brother on bass and F.Scott Vincent (who Tony later describes as ‘the greatest drummer I’ve ever seen’) on drums, say they are having the time of their lives on stage and that is plain to see. All five of them sing harmonies and the three front men swap lead vocals. But it’s the songs, the songs, the songs. The delicious Ask Me Anything, the delicate Hide Behind The Smile and the cheery Mr Wilson’s General Store are all great songs and are delivered perfectly. Tony introduces the dramatic Hate Won’t Win, saying that the song woke him up, in his head, the morning after Jo Cox’s murder. It is a brilliant song. They close their 50 minute set with the staggeringly good Lifeboat, Robin & Danny swapping to electric guitars and trading solos with Tony. It is a fantastic end to a majestic gig.
If BWP come to a venue near you, beg, borrow or steal a ticket. They are absolutely terrific and will renew anyone’s love of live music.
A good mix of crusty old fogeys like me, some students and a few kids. And no one talking during the songs.
It made me think..
Tony Poole is an amazing musician. That 12 string Ricky is an extension of his body and he conjures beautiful sounds from it. The two younger guys out front kept saying in between songs, “Fuckin’ hell, Tony Poole!”