Friday, 17 December 2010

Favourite Gig Fridays: Geno Washington

After writing about Dexy's Midnight Runners recently at t'other blog, I thought I'd mention the time I saw the man who was the inspiration for one of their biggest hits, Geno.

Geno Washington is a veteran Soul singer who was very popular with Mod audiences in the swinging' '60s and gained a reputation for exciting, energetic live performances. When I saw him it was back in May 1988, when the memory of the Dexy's tribute was still pretty fresh and helped him relaunch his live career.
As I've done a couple of times before, I'm going to quote from my dusty, cobwebbed diary ( with modern asides in italics ) so please excuse any bad grammar, bad language or just plain '80s language - it was a loooong time ago :-(

"Me and Sarah ( the bad grammar begins! ) went over to the Stroud Sub Rooms to see ( The Legendary ) Geno Washington & The Ram Jam All-Stars ( phew! ) - saw Paul and Nick there. ( A couple of mates not known for their gig-going activities. ) The first band on were called Double Agent and they were crap. They were one of those middle-aged ( steady! ) showbands who only appear once a year ( thank God! ) and play endless cover versions: 'Thanks, you're a lovely audience. We love you! Slurp! Slurp! This is an old Cliff Richard song.....' Bleeeuurrghh!! After suffering all that we were relieved to see the Lemons ( legendary Stroud psychobillies ) hit the stage. Thud! Dressed up as cowgirls, with the added attraction of 'Anal Sex' on sax, they churned out their usual thrash-country-abilly stuff. Though I've grown a bit tired of their limited 'music', they're still quite a good laugh and were very welcome after the previous group.

"Eventually Geno Washington and his band came on. He's about 50 ( actually 43 in 1988 ), is short and bald, and his band look like they came out of the Ark ( and bear a strange resemblance to the Monty Python team ) - BUT they were GREAT! They played R'n'B, straight blues and some ska, with an energy that a lot of younger bands couldn't manage. Geno got the crowd going like a real old showbiz pro - it was corny ( singalongs etc.. ) but fun. Me, Sarah and even Paul got up and danced and had a very good time. Strangely enough, Nick didn't dance. ( I don't think my mate Nick has ever danced in his life but, hey, each to their own. ) The band played such standards as Got My Mojo Working, Stand By Me, Al Capone and others, and got called back for a couple of shit-hot encores. We came out of the gig knackered and soaked with sweat ( that's twice in one week - what a masochist I am ) but happy. ( The other gig was Faith No More at the Bristol Bierkeller as seen in the very first Fave Gig Fri ) Also, all the money raised went towards Meningitis research - a very important cause around these parts. An excellent gig."

And a few days later I wrote this:
"Oh, yeah I saw Martin 'Ameeba' at the Geno Washington gig and I gave him a copy of the Death Planet Commandos demo tape. He must've liked it 'cos the Ameebas offered us a support slot with them. It's the Wednesday after next at the Night Owl in Cheltenham. Should be good."

Actually, it was the Worst Gig Ever, see here for evidence.....
But the Geno gig was legendary.

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