Graham Gouldman at Buxton Arts Centre- 'Heart Full Of Songs'
22nd September 2017
Okay, so before we get on to the actual gig, I've got a bit of an announcement to make. Ladies and gentlemen...drum roll please... I have finally, FINALLY, experienced a support act that is actually half decent! 'Shock! Horror! That cannot be!' I hear you cry. Earlier this evening, I wouldn't have believed it either. But it's true. Sunjay, a young man who's main claim to fame is his song 'Love You Like A Man' being nominated for a BBC folk award, not only entertained the audience, but also delighted them with his cautious sense of humour and cutesy folk/pop compositions. Seriously, if you get the chance to see him, or even just to YouTube some of his songs, then I highly recommend it. Anyway, onto the main event- Graham Gouldman, who, for those who aren't familiar with his name, is one quarter of the original line-up of 10cc. He has also written songs for bands like The Hollies and The Yardbirds since the 1960s, and went on to form the duo Wax (with American musician Andrew Gold) in the 1980s that had hits in this country with 'American English' and 'Bridge To Your Heart'.
All of these 'eras' of Gouldman's songwriting- and more- were covered in the show, with songs from 'five decades' being performed. Some were done with just Gouldman on the guitar, whilst others were played with the other three members of his band, and considering that that consists of a member of rock-pop outfit The Feeling, 10cc's usual manager/producer and a member of the current line-up of Jeff Lynne's ELO, it's hardly surprising that the whole performance was of sparkling quality. In between playing Gouldman also entertained his audience with some of the stories behind the songs, such as how his Dad suggested the title for the Gouldman-penned Herman's Hermits hit, 'No Milk Today'. 10cc tracks like 'The Things We Do For Love', 'Dreadlock Holiday' and the legendary 'I'm Not In Love' were also thrown into the mix, as well as some sweet little numbers from Graham's latest solo album 'Love and Work' (worth a listen if you are a fan of quality, singer-songwriter-style tunes).
As a huge fan of Graham's writing though, the parts of the gig I found the most entertaining were when he played the songs that weren't as well known- 'Sunburn' for example, a gleefully cynical gem of a song which was actually written for a film of the same name. (The film flopped, but the track was a big hit in, rather surprisingly, Singapore). On the other hand, one thing that I did miss was the drums. There was some percussion added to a few of the tracks, but I think just a bit of something played on a full kit would have lifted the whole gig a little, and made it a bit more lively. For audience members who only perhaps knew a few of the songs, I can imagine that after a while one song would have sounded very much like the next. Overall, however, it was a great evening of quality entertainment and guitar playing which I enjoyed immensely. To top it off, Graham was also signing things in the foyer of the venue after the gig, so I was able to ask him to sign my Wax LPs and have a bit of a chat with him.