Blues and Soul Review (rating 4/5)
The A Club is making its presence felt with a mix of musical acts in a cabaret style setting right in the heart of Edinburgh’s shopping district. Named after the Arbikie gin company, which sponsors the series, it has drawn a variety of performers from pop, jazz, folk, rock and classical.
Among those putting in two sessions this year are Robert Bruce and Mike Hendry (aka Jace and Elmo) who deliver an energetic run through the classic Blues Brothers soundtrack.
It’s a packed set, with 22 songs in one hour 15 minutes including Who’s Making Love, The Theme from Rawhide and a rousing rendition of Jailhouse Rock which had the audience on their feet, including some older folk who no doubt danced to the Presley classic as teenagers in the fifties.
They’ve interspersed the album tunes with a number of other familiar blues and soul songs so we also get My Girl, Knock on Wood and Mustang Sally, the sixties hit re-popularised in the 1991 film The Commitments which draws a similar fan base.
Hendry is a recent replacement for Stephen Pearce who is on the bill but has relocated, and the new duo make a perfect fit, Hendry’s between-songs patter helping to keep up a strong pace.
Bruce, the stronger vocalist, effortlessly delivers Elvis in a version of Wonder of You and Orbison’s Pretty Woman, which younger members of the audience will recall from the film of the same name.
The pair perform without musicians and backing singers, which means we’re denied the full set of personalities and atmosphere that a band would add, but that would also jack up the price of a ticket and this is a Fringe show competing for punters.
The sound quality of the recording and their impeccable timing makes this a cracking show nonetheless and excellent foot-tapping entertainment over table-served food and drink. The second session will be performed over two 40-minute sets. Recommended.
Blues and soul review, ‘A Club’, Merchant Hall, Hanover Street, 21 August