Steve Cropper & Animals & Friends

Steve Cropper & Animals & Friends

Robin 2, Wolverhampton

Doors Open: 7:30AM
Starts: 8:30AM

14+ only. 14s to 17s must be accompanied by an adult. No refunds will be given for incorrectly booked tickets.

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GENERAL ADMISSION £20.35 (£18.50) Transaction fee applicable *

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All the hits performed including:
House Of The Rising Sun, Green Onions, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, Time Is Tight, It’s My Life, Dock Of The Bay, Bring It On Home To Me, Hip Hug Her, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, Soul Man, I’m Crying, In The Midnight Hour, Baby Let Me Take You Home, 6345789, Don’t Bring Me Down, Knock On Wood, Inside Looking Out, Boom Boom and many more. 

Steve Cropper with The Animals & Friends  The Robin 2, Bilston, Wolverhampton – Thursday 25th August 2011
 Review  by Paul Broome

it’s a night of true musical rock and soul royalty at the Robin tonight. There are only a few dozen songs that truly contributed to shaping the musical landscape of the sixties (obviously there are many more which helped to colour that landscape, but I’m talking about the songs which cut through the boring tundra and formed the valleys and mountains which fifty years on ensure that the world of popular music is as diverse as it is) - and Steve Cropper and the Animals between them can lay claim to writing and/or recording several of those classics.
How’s this for value for money? Rather than one headline slot, what we get tonight are two! Two full sets jam-packed with those classic songs that I mentioned in the header. First off The Animals and Friends (as the full-name seems to be these days) take to the stage and remind us just how ubiquitous this bunch of geordies was in the 60s.
The current band features original drummer John Steel and the incredible Mick Gallagher on keys, who was the first replacement for Alan Price when he left the band in 1965 but is probably now better known for having been a principal member of the Blockheads (and also to me for playing all of the keyboards on the Clash’s landmark ‘London’s Calling’). On guitar we have the accomplished Danny Handley, and on bass and vocals the commanding (and barefooted) presence of Peter Barton - who has a voice the size of Texas.
The Animals back catalogue was always an inspired mix of self-penned titles and cover versions (which more often than not went on to become the definitive versions) and so it is tonight. ‘It’s My Life’, ‘Bright Lights, Big City’, ‘Dimples’ (my dad’s personal favourite, every time he picks up a guitar it’s the first thing he plays), ‘Boom Boom’, ‘Bring It On Home To Me’, ‘Hallelujah I Love Her So’, ‘I’m Crying’, ‘Baby Let Me Take You Home’ – the set list slowly cranks the mood until by the time we get to ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place’ the audience is singing along at the tops of their voices (yes, me included).
By the time Steve Cropper is invited out onto stage, the vibe in the Robin is one of total celebration. If for some strange reason you don’t know who Steve Cropper is, then shame on you for not only is he one of the greatest guitarists of all time (Mojo named him the Greatest Living Guitar Player in 1996), he’s also co-written some of the greatest songs - including ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’ (with Otis Redding), ‘Knock on Wood’ (with Eddie Floyd) and ‘In the Midnight Hour’ (with Wilson Pickett) - and in the late 70s he became a member of the Blues Brothers band (his moniker ‘The Colonel’). But it was as a member of Booker T. and the MGs (which started out as the Stax Records house band) that he first came to my attention – when I heard his solo on ‘Green Onions’ (surely one of the most famous instrumental songs ever recorded?) at the age of around 8 it made me want nothing more than to play the guitar.
The material tonight spans his diverse career, from MGs instrumentals like ‘Hip Hug-Her’ to the Sam and Dave classic ‘Soul Man’. Steve’s guitar work is as fluid, percussive and soulful as it ever has been, and despite his self-deprecation he even pulls off the vocals when he gives it a go. The stories and tributes that come between tracks are just as welcome as the songs themselves – when someone has worked with the people this guy has, you want to hear everything he has to say. We even get a little snippet of ‘Soul-Limbo’ toward the end as a shout-out to fans of cricket (another MGs classic, better known as the long-standing BBC Test Match Cricket theme).
The Animals and Friends exceed in their role as Steve’s backing band, being much more integral to the whole sound than simply providing backing. Micky Gallagher especially comes to the fore in his role as Booker T. Jones for the night.

Steve Cropper is a musical legend.
If Yankee Stadium is “the house that Babe Ruth built,” Stax Records is “the house that Booker T, and the MG’s built.” Integral to that potent combination is MG guitarist extraordinaire Steve Cropper.
Yes, Steve Cropper is a musical legend!
As a guitarist, A & R man, engineer, producer, songwriting partner of Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd and a dozen others and founding member of both Booker T. and the MG’s and The Mar-Keys, Steve Cropper was literally involved in every single record issued by Stax Records from the autumn of 1961 through year end 1970. Such credits assure Cropper of an honored place in the soul music hall of fame.
As co-writer of (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, Knock on Wood and In the Midnight Hour, Steve Cropper is in line for immortality.

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