Chris Farlowe

Live At The BBC

(Repertoire Records)

This double CD set evidences the soulful, powerful and wolverine vocal attack of one of the UK’s great roots music stars. The Thunderbirds prove themselves to be a sterling band, soaking up American influences but adding British edge. There’s no stopping Farlowe tearing into these selections. The first disc takes in haunting number The Fool, some interview segments, a scorching Mr Pitiful, the durable Out Of Time, a couple of James Brown tunes, a rocking Ride On Baby and stirring Headlines. Moving on to the second disc we have What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted, more interview bits, the punchy Paint It Black with two other takes, the memorable Yesterday’s Papers, two shots at North, South, East & West, I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, the lesser known Gemini and That’s Why. It’s from this base that Chris went on to sing with Atomic Rooster, Colosseum and other acts.

The liner notes by Chris Welch mention Farlowe’s meeting with Otis Redding and other events in Chris’ rise to justified fame. Undoubtedly the already honed skills of band members Albert Lee on guitar and keyboard inventive Dave Greenslade contribute to the sheer musicality of these selections, as given this strong voice to frame they consistently rise to the occasion. Twist my arm and I will confess that my favourite tracks on this album are the Smokestack Lightnin’ riffed The Fool, the Strident Don’t Just Look At Me, the string-enhanced We’re Doing Fine where Farlowe sounds as if he’s cruising over the backdrop, the soul-soaked Headlines and it’s James Brown pumping beat. On the second disc here, the bass-driven Yesterday’s Papers and its jaunty arrangement, a beautiful Reason To Believe, the harp-fuelled Gemini and the reflective Dawn. And oh those Brian Matthew intros!

The period portraits by top photographer Gered Mankowicz show a young man who would surely put you through the nearest plate glass window if you crossed him, gentle stuff this ain’t…for the most part.

Pete Sargeant


Chris Farlowe's new album 'Live At The BBC' is out now on Repertoire Records.

For more information and to purchase the album visit the record label's official website here:

Chris Farlowe