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Joe Brown and Henry Gross


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Fate found me with a ticket to see Joe Brown at The Swan in High Wycombe last night, the last show of a seventy one set tour. The Swan is a user friendly venue with bars and bogs on two levels and a multistory car park attached.


Joe began the set by talking about his upbringing in East London and various anecdotes about his family and early days learning the guitar and adventures on the road backing various Rock and Rollers touring the UK from the USA.

Joe was joined by Henry Gross who I must admit I had never heard of but the two sat and played and sang songs from the late fifties era along with songs from Joe's back catalog. Both singers sang well with souring harmonies especially on the Everly Brothers songs


The second half had Joe playing mandolin and then five string banjo which they did a rousing version of Dueling Banjos. Henry played a Gibson J200 while Joe a small bodied Gibson could be an L1 but 14 frets.


Towards the end of the second half Henry Gross stands up and takes center stage using a strap for his guitar the stage darkens and he is in a spotlight. He talks about his early life in New York and early days in his musical life, a funny and witty telling. At this point Henry rolled some introductory chords on his guitar with a little added chorus just enough to give some dynamism and broke into this song called Shannon which turns out he wrote and had success with in the mid seventies. This man has a wonderful voice, just superb, he absolutely brought the house down, Joe Brown led the applause. I remember the song but to see him do it solo, live, well words can't express. The two closed the show with four rock songs one after the other. A great show. The sound in the venue was excellent, the guitars sounded like they were in my living room.


To get my car out you to pay at one of these on the wall boxes,when my turn came to pay the machine would not take my card but the young woman behind me used her card and would not take the cash I offered, a little kindness to round off a perfect evening. Blessings on you Miss where ever you are.


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