Delta Lady Rita Coolidge Melts Hearts @ Boisdale Jazz Blues & Soul Club

There aren’t many of the original 70s blues and soul ladies left that are actively performing around the world, so when a chance comes up to witness at close range the warm and tender vocals of Rita Coolidge, I’m not hesitating.  So I travelled over 200 miles from North England to a Canary Wharf dinner and music venue in London.

The Boisdale has hosted some stars from the photographs I can see on the walls, and the assembled crowd tonight includes David Soul who is hosting his own candlelit table with friends, as they sit down to a 3-course meal with wine.

It’s all very relaxed and laid back and years ago would have probably been filled with smoke from the cigars on sale and have tables full of whiskey bottles and tumblers. The perfect place for a diva from the Southern States of America to entertain.

 (Rock Shot)

Her band tonight includes drummer Lynn Coulter who introduces her to the stage and describes her as a mix of honey and Tennessee whiskey, plus some other colourful stuff that I’m failing to recall. She does look incredible in a full length blue outfit and with her trademark long dark brown hair, but this 73 year old is more than a visual treat, it’s all about her voice too.

 (Rock Shot)

Tonight, we get a showcase of her new album Safe In The Arms of Time and a selection of the hits she is associated with – either covers she has recorded, or tracks that she co-wrote. No sign of the piano coda from Layla though, which would have been an interesting sojourn into her book Delta Lady: A Memoir – Coolidge claiming to have written that piece and never being credited.

However, we do get some anecdotes about Clapton’s attraction to women in the 70s, and an incredible version of Born Under A Bad Sign with guitarist and musical director John McDuffie lending his years of experience to some killer lead breaks. Never over stepping the mark but proving a point that these older guys really know the blues inside out.

 (Rock Shot)

New tracks that stand out in particular were the Graham Nash written Doin’ Fine Without You, and both of the Keb Mo alliance songs Walkin’ on Water and Naked All Night. Coolidge jokes that she used to get people coming up to her to say, “This is our song”, and now it’s more “That was our song”. Making a point that her songs could be played at both marriage or divorce parties.

Superstar, a song probably made more famous by Karen Carpenter, had a life of its own with Coolidge’s honeyed soothing vocal. It started a series of classic Rita Coolidge live numbers and her voice just oozed warmth and class tonight with just the right level of vibrato and huskiness. She may have dropped an octave or two – due to her advancing years, but the emotion in her voice remains unblemished.

 (Rock Shot)

The Jazz club I’m in has probably heard plenty of versions of Fever in past, as the Peggy Lee famed tune is trotted out following an attempt to get the room all clicking their fingers and accompanying some fine double bass work by Randy Landas. The highlight for me though was hearing her stunning version of the Boz Skaggs written We’re All Alone, if there were cigarette lighters handy we’d all be holding them up and swaying. This was perfectly delivered and prompting a big audience reaction.

A superb medley of The Way You Do The Things You Do, How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You followed by Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher And Higher got a handful of people dancing in-between the tables and brought this definitive set to a close.

Introducing her band, she let them all have a few minutes in the spotlight before ending the show with an encore of I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love and then a more up-tempo Country thumper Lover Please that she recorded with ex-husband Kris Kristofferson.

This was a look back at the career of a very talented lady and celebrating some of her biggest records from the 1970s. New songs stood equally alongside them, and throughout the night Rita Coolidge naturally floated through the set with ease and professionalism. If you get the chance and if she decides to return for a full UK tour  go and see her. I, for one, wouldn’t hesitate to travel those miles again.

Live Review & Photography of Rita Coolidge at Boisdale Jazz Blues & Soul Club by John Hayhurst on 16th May 2018

John also has his own gig photography website www.snapagig.com

Glastonbury Festival 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)

A Child’s Experience At Glastonbury Festival 2024

Only 7 years old, but already our son considers himself a Glastonbury Festival veteran! It’s his 5th visit to the...
Donovan Woods (Brittany Farhat)

Donovan Woods Releases Seventh Album Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now

Acclaimed songwriter Donovan Woods has released his seventh studio album, Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good...
ARCO (Jacob Barri)

AR/CO Drop Debut EP Origin Stories

The AR/CO creative universe is a fantastical vision of a futuristic desert rave, their pulsating, psychedelic...
Cults (Shervin Lainez) crop

Cults Release Hunting New Single Hung The Moon

Cults have shared their latest track, Hung The Moon. The acclaimed NY-based alt-pop band, comprised of...
China Bears (Rob Blackham:Blackham Images

British Quartet China Bears Release Debut Album Participation Trophy

Rising indie four-piece China Bears have released their highly anticipated debut album Participation Trophy. Speaking...
Robbie Williams @ BST Hyde Park 2024 (Louise Phillips)

Rock DJ Robbie Williams Entertains Us With The Glamour And The Party At BST Hyde Park 2024

On a rainy Saturday at London's beautiful Hyde Park the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement, because the ultimate...
AC/DC @ Wembley Stadium (Kalpesh Patel)

AC/DC Shake London’s Wembley Stadium All Night Long

Australian rock legends AC/DC return to London for the first of two sold-out gigs as the PWR/UP tour hits the...
Dua Lipa @ Glastonbury Festival 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)

Dua Lipa Pulls Off A Feat Of Pop Houdini At Glastonbury 2024

“This is a massive, massive, massive dream come true for me. I have written this moment down, I have wished for it, I...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share Thing