Friday, 18 March 2011

Mickey Jupp Hi-jacks Ian Dury Blog

Photo courtesy of Pia Meijer

It’s 2011 and Mickey Jupp is standing at the crossroads (again). He recently came out of self-imposed exile to play one tentative show in his home town of Southend-on-Sea, accompanied by demon guitarist Mo Witham, who along with drummer Bobby Clouter has been providing musical support for Jupp for over 45 years. But it’s by no means certain that this isolated appearance signals a permanent return to the planks.

It was a good night at Club Riga. Mickey looked terrified an hour before showtime, but he soon gained composure, opening with Cheque Book (as covered by Dr Feelgood). A number of his own songs followed, including Hole In My Pocket (from Legend’s ‘red boot’ album) and from 1991’s ‘As The Yeahs Go By’, Til Honky Gets Tonky and Standing At The Crossroads Again (as covered by Dave Edmunds).

‘Crossroads’ may be Jupp’s greatest song of the rocking variety, in which he finds himself ‘standing at the crossroads again / with an empty heart and a dollar ten’. A dollar ten! From there he paints himself into a surreal encounter with ‘some famous names – Robert Johnson, Elmore James’ – a genius couplet. Then, in the tradition of the famous blues cliché, he tells us: ‘I woke up this morning’, swiftly followed by ‘as I usually do’. It’s the kind of wry humour that peppers his songs.

A second set opened with Switchboard Susan (as covered by Nick Lowe) and continued with the classic rockers he does so well – Bonie Moronie, Great Balls Of Fire, Sweet Little 16 -  seated at the piano in the same room with more or less the same band he had when I first saw him back in the mid-1960s. We can but hope he will play some more dates. Mo Witham is cautiously optimistic, commenting ‘[Mickey] is even talking about getting a Facebook page, unbelievable!’

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