Soo’s Reviews
THE HAYLEYS  11th JUNE '17 There were a few people missing this week including me.  I understand they sang the usual songs - "Cowboy Sweetheart" being one.  I am sure their fans were there but having seen them about forty times I wish they would learn some new songs as they are a professional trio. NEXT WEEK  -  WILL BANISTER (USA) with JORDAN MOGEY and JAKE CARTER Soo TEXAS TORNADOES  -  4th JUNE '17 What a night!  Pete and Stuart put on a brilliant show.  Not only can Pete sing and dance, he has a great rapport with the audience. The whole night was electric - full of entertainment and energy.  Pete jumped off the stage four times to dance whilst still singing. "God Bless Texas" with Susan was a scream!  He did the barn dance with a young visitor from America and even taught a new dance to a floor full of dancers - only because people asked him to. A brilliant all-round entertainer ably supported by Stuart on keyboards, guitar and vocals. I hope we don't have to wait two years for them to return. NEXT WEEK  -  THE HALEYS Soo STEVE LOVETT  -  28th MAY '17 Another week, another solo artiste and yet another great night. Steve is one half of Rancher duo - he has a good voice and is great on the guitar. We certainly got our money's worth with the amount of material we heard - tracks from Jim Reeves, Don Williams, Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Ronnie Dunn and American newcomer Drake White. In my opinion he could not have chosen a better song to end the night than Chris Stapleton's "Tennessee Whisky". We must have this artiste back - he is good. NEXT WEEK  -  TEXAS TORNADOES Soo IAN HIGHLAND BAND  -  21st MAY '17 I was so pleased this was not the band I thought it was - one I'd seen about 20 years ago and did not like.  Thank goodness, no chance of that! They were a very talented 5-piece from the London area.  They have been together seven years. Ian heads the band as vocalist.  I liked his voice and thought the band were good musicians.  They were Bob, Terry Downing, Tony, and Arron Herrod. The audience was kept entertained with their choice of material and that country beat. We heard all our favourites with tracks from Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks etc. Ian said they would love to return to Fred's and I hope they do. Soon. NEXT WEEK  -  STEVE LOVETT Soo THE THRILLBILLIES  -  14th MAY '17 It was the annual visit from this duo - they were both under the weather and had sore throats but the audience enjoyed their mix of ballads and Irish numbers. Ed is still leaving the stage though to walk round the audience which a lot of ladies don't like. Two of their numbers were "I Loved Her First" and "Romeo's Heart". NEXT WEEK  -  IAN HIGHLAND BAND Soo JOHN DOHERTY  -  7th MAY '17 I'm so glad I like all country music old and new - it means I hardly ever have a disappointing week.  This week was certainly no exception.  Since having solo artistes that we have enjoyed, John certainly didn't disappoint. A pleasant likeable lad - I thought he was about 24 - he's 43! I should have gone to Specsavers! - he comes from Loscoe Derbyshire and has an Irish grandad and has spent his time visiting Ireland and watching the bands.  That's how he has become the professional who came to Fred's this week.  He brought a wide selection of music and has a good voice suited to country. Some songs were "Rubber Dubbin", "If Love Was A River" and "Desperation". I'm sure Fred will have him back. NEXT WEEK  -  THE THRILLBILLIES Soo  BADLANDS COUNTRY  -  30th APRIL '17 What a night! What a band! - and what can I write to give this brilliant talented band the credit they so deserve? I thought they were perfect in every way.  Russ Kitchen is their lead vocalist and lead guitarist. It was mesmerising to watch him playing that instrument as though he's been playing it since birth.  He is surrounded by Phil Holden - harmony vocals and guitar, Pete Morgan - back-up vocals and bass and on the much-missed drums was Ash Thompson. They covered a wide range of material to suit everyone - the first band I've heard play "She Comes To Me" and the best rendition of "Seminole Wind" ever. They have been nominated in the "Newcomer Act Of The Year" category at the NAM awards. A breath of fresh air and possibly the best British band I have seen in all my country years. NEXT WEEK  -  JOHN DOHERTY Soo TRAVIS LOGAN  -  23rd APRIL '17 A full house again this week to see Travis.  He's become a firm favourite at Fred's.  What he doesn't know about country music cannot be worth knowing. His choice of songs date back to the '20s and he also knows every year the song came out (eg Paper Roses 1959).  He is very interesting to listen to and has a great voice and personality. Some material we heard - "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain", "Blue Wing" and a new one to me "Waltz Of The Angels" - a lovely song. NEXT WEEK  -  BADLANDS BAND Soo SMOKEY TURTLES BAND - 16TH APRIL What an Easter treat we had for Easter Sunday. We are all familiar with the Ray Peters Trio at Fred's and around the festivals.  This was the first time Ray brought his new 5-piece band. Ray is still lead vocals and rhythm guitar with Dean Barnes - lead guitar and Dave Haywood - pedal steel. They are now joined by Hannah Cope - bass guitar and Pete Hedley on drums. All are fantastic musicians with a great sound. Very slick. Pete sang some Vince Gill songs to perfection and they performed beautifully all evening. I'd see them again in a heartbeat. NEXT WEEK  -  TRAVIS LOGAN Soo CLEAR CUT  -  9th APRIL '17 Father and son duo this week.  They have been working together for 30 years - a fact I did not know. Dad Don was suffering with problems with his throat in the first spot but after taking some throat sweets it seemed to get better. I did enjoy their instrumental numbers - they are both good musicians. NEXT WEEK  -  SMOKEY TURTLES BAND (5-piece) Soo BLUE HORIZON  -  2nd APRIL '17 We had another enjoyable evening with this talented trio from the north-east. I'm already looking forward to their return to Fred's. NEXT WEEK  -  CLEAR CUT COUNTRY Soo FRANK JANSEN BAND and JOHN ASTON This week we had a 4-piece band from Holland playing traditional country. All played guitar and they also had a mandolin, and drums that were played with brushes  ( that's the best description I can manage). In the first spot we heard "Ribbon Of Darkness" and "You Are Only A Phone Call Away" amongst others. John Aston took the second spot  - he does have a nice (clear to hear) voice. He sang "Holding Things Together" and "Too Old To Die Young" and a few more. The band returned for the third spot and seemed more relaxed and upbeat than the first spot. John joined them at the end to sing "Cannonball". NEXT WEEK  -  BLUE HORIZON TRIO Soo FOOLS GOLD  19 MARCH '17 The room was a bit sparse this week due to some of the audience seeking a bit of sun abroad, but those of us at Fred's were treated to the very best of Fools Gold. Debbie and Paul gave us a completely new show from previous visits. First spot we heard tracks from many new artistes including Mo Pitney, Sam Outlaw and others - also lesser-known songs from Vince Gill, Big House and many more. As well as having their own studio they have so much knowledge of country it keeps them interesting to listen to. I enjoyed the evening very much. NEXT WEEK  -  FRANK JANSEN BAND (from The Netherlands) and JOHN ASTON Soo PHIL and KEN This was the second time at Fred's as a duo.  They are proud to play only old country and as I like both old and new it was fine by me. They started with "Love's Gonna Live Here Again".  We also heard Waylon Jennings'  "Storms Never Last" and some Hank Williams, George Jones and Merle Haggard. NEXT WEEK  -  FOOLS GOLD Soo THE THORNHILLS  -  5 MARCH '17 Unfortunately many bands no longer exist. One such top band was West Virginia, but with Keith and Arthur we still have the sound and nostalgia of that band. I always enjoy the evening with them as I enjoy their songs.  I loved "I Can Dream" , "It's All Going To Pot" and "Invincible". NEXT WEEK  -  PHIL and KEN Soo DARREN BUSBY  -  26th FEB '17 Darren's second time at Fred's was well received as was his first. As well as his good voice and choice of music, he does not need a set list but takes requests and plays whatever takes his mood. A seasoned artiste. A lovely night. I hope people will agree that these solo artistes we are now booking have all been brilliant. NEXT WEEK  -  THE THORNHILLS Soo  LITTLE ROCK  - 19th FEB '17 A change of band this week due to illness.  Little Rock came - Steve's partner Chris Ringer plays with American Routes, the band who should have come. Two songs they sang were "Here Comes The Rain" and "Falling In Love Again". NEXT WEEK  -  DARREN BUSBY Soo CHRIS RADDINGS  -  12th FEB '17 Chris comes from Harrogate and has been singing for 20 years.  This was his first time at Fred's and he was well received.  He has a good voice and a pleasant personality. It seems he is well known further north as old and new faces swelled the audience. Many were line dancers who enjoyed dancing all night, whilst we enjoyed his songs because they were more country than line dance songs - Rodney Crowell, Hank Williams, Randy Travis and Don Williams. A lovely night. I hope we have him back. NEXT WEEK  -  AMERICAN ROUTES Soo TWIN FALLS  -  5th FEB '17 Another good night with Twin Falls.  They brought a good mix of material as usual and Pete brought his banjo which he may or may not have had for Christmas! Obviously they played "Duelling Banjos" which isn't heard so often now. In the 2nd spot they played some Bluegrass - not too much, just right - but it showed their talent as good musicians.  We also heard Sam Outlaw's "I'm Gonna Love Her For A While" and George Strait's "It Takes All Kinds". Their self-penned "Forbidden Love" I like more each time I hear it. It has such a haunting melody. We shall see them again I'm sure. NEXT WEEK  -  CHRIS RADDINGS Soo KALIBRE  -  29 JAN '17 The room was full this week and the dancers were on the floor from the first song. Bobby Reed was at his best - mixed in with their songs he brings just the right amount of humour.  Both Bobbys gave us a good evening. I'm pleased to say Fred and Bernie were back after a few weeks of illness - on the first break Bill presented them with two hanging baskets full of pansies from us all. A lovely evening. NEXT WEEK  -  TWIN FALLS Soo JONNY AND LYNETTE  -  22nd JAN '17 When Jonny and Lynette come to Fred's they bring such a variety of songs - I don't know how they find them all, but I'm glad they do. Lynette played double bass, guitar and sang beautifully - not forgetting Jonny who comes across as a friendly guy on stage and off.  They are a good partnership. Come back soon. An enjoyable night of music. Some songs we heard were "I Knew This Time Would Come", "Just Between You And Me" and "When Your Phone Doesn't Ring It Will Be Me". NEXT WEEK  -  KALIBRE Soo BEST OF FRIENDS  -  15th JAN '17 What a start to the new year - Hayden Allen last week and Best Of Friends this week. Steve and Middy always look smart, changing clothes at every break. We had a lovely evening listening to older songs with that country beat.  They both sing and both have good clear voices.  We heard a lot of Merle Haggard and Froggy - fine by me!  I also loved Dale Watson's "Got No Reason Now For Going Home". I look forward to their return. NEXT WEEK  -  JONNY and LYNETTE Soo HAYDEN ALLEN  DUO  -  8th JAN 2017 For the first show of the year the room was quite full considering the bug going round.  Bernie and Fred are both ill so Karen was on the door. Hayden gave us a great night as usual and brought Andy Green back who is a really good guitar player; he sang last time but had lost his voice this time - that bug again! I always enjoy Hayden's made-for-country voice and choice of material. We gave them a standing ovation. A wonderful start to 2017. NEXT WEEK  -  BEST OF FRIENDS