Friday, 25 October 2013

Getting Ready For The Ultimate Party - Jimmy Osmond Interview

The Osmond Brothers
For over five decades The Osmond Brothers have entertained sell out concerts throughout the world. They returned to the UK in 2014 as part of  Tony Denton’s Once In A Lifetime – The Final Tour along with other 1970s favourites David Essex, Showaddywaddy and Les McKeowen’s Legendary Bay City Rollers. Andy Howells spoke with Jimmy Osmond in October 2013 about the tour.
“ This years line up is great were all friends,” says Jimmy Osmond as he takes time out to chat to me on a day off in Basingstoke, “Les McKeown of the Bay City Rollers, David Essex, Showaddywaddy and The Osmonds it’s a good bill. Every person knows the music and that’s what makes it so much fun, we get along, I'm kind of sad it’s the last big one!”

Jimmy along with his brothers Merrill and Jay will perform many of their unforgettable hits from classics such as One Bad Apple, Down By The Lazy River, Let Me In, The Proud One, Goin' Home and Love Me For A Reason to Crazy Horses and Long Haired Lover From Liverpool – the 1972 UK number one from Jimmy, a song the writer particularly associates with custard and Christmas pudding while I watched Jimmy perform it on the Christmas edition of Top of the Pops over 40 years ago. “You're not the first guy that says that,” Jimmy laughs, “there used to be a time when I’d go “Oh no, not that again” but when you perform it in a big arena or wherever people still know it.”

I do point out that some music can recall good and positive memories and Jimmy agrees, “One thing me and my brothers have learned is we couldn’t have done it if we’d felt otherwise.  It’s not about us. Its helping people remember their lives and we were lucky enough to be on the radio. You have fun on stage and people feel more relaxed with you. When you’re up there they know your having fun as well.”

Jimmy and his brothers spend a lot of the time in the UK revisiting their English and Welsh roots. Despite performing for nearly 47 years Jimmy doesn’t take his fame for granted, “It’s really lucky. We had amazing people that were legends that were our mentors. The 70s were amazing years. Unless you actually lived through them people don’t get it, I think that’s why these shows we’re doing are going to be cool because it’s a celebration - the ultimate party.”
A version of this interview by Andy Howells was originally published in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide during October, 2013.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A Magical Pairing - Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee Interview

Legendary magician Paul Daniels and his assistant Debbie McGee are heading towards South Wales with their first farewell tour but as you may expect from the magical pair all is not as it seems!

Having seen the title of Paul Daniels brand new magic show The First Farewell Tour which comes to Monmouth’s Savoy theatre on October 28 I feel compelled to ask the question, “Are you retiring?”

“Shy and retiring,” Paul jokes before his irrepressible other half, Debbie McGee, offers up a more straightforward explanation. “The Rolling Stones and Status Quo are always doing the first of their farewell tours,” says Debbie, “Paul sees himself as a magician in that kind of vein - a rock magician! We were thinking of a title for this years tour as we’re doing a completely new show so that’s how it came about.”

Paul Daniels
Coming up with fresh ideas for a live magic show is not a new scenario for Paul Daniels who has constantly adapted his act over the years since learning the art of magic from library books as a schoolboy.

“I learned magic from all the books and therefore developed my own style of doing things so I never wanted to be David Nixon. Bruce Forsyth appealed to me much more at the time as a style of presentation so I just became me. That’s what I tell young magicians, “Don’t copy me or Dynamo or any of those guys - just be yourself!””

Paul of course came to major prominence through his successful light entertainment shows on British television between 1979 and 1994, although before then he had worked many years on the live circuit, “I started off in the workingmen’s clubs and did all that for many a year and gradually broke into television,” he says.

Paul took a very realistic stance when approaching the presentation of his TV shows. “Television is the theatre on the wall or on the stand in your living room,” he says, “if you’re doing workingmen’s clubs you have one set of performance rules, if you have cabaret clubs it’s different again. Come television time, I would get American guests for example and they’d go “We’ve got 16 million viewers!” and I’d say “Whoa! You’ve got four! They’re sitting 12 feet away from you on a settee” Once you perform to that technique you become a much better television presenter.”

Debbie McGee
Paul’s has remained on the live circuit since the 1990s and still at his side, like on television, is  Debbie. The pair have been together for 34 years, Debbie; a professional dancer, met Paul following a successful audition for The Delfont Organisation. When did they realise they were falling for each other I ask?. “We still haven't” jokes Paul. “I was attracted to Paul immediately,” laughs Debbie, “there was definitely chemistry. I don’t know when he fell for me. It took him a lot longer.” “No it didn't, it was instant!” interjects Paul. They both laugh.

The pair married in 1988 and Debbie says Laughter has been a driving force in their partnership, both off stage and on. Their forthcoming Monmouth show will feature many magic moments from mindreading to illusions and has already been well received by audiences. “We tested all of this show out in a big village festival a few weeks ago,” says Paul, “there was one child sitting in the front and he was screaming with laughter and he made the whole audience laugh even more.”

  • Catch Paul Daniels First farewell Tour at Monmouth Savoy on October 28, 2013. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

In Concert: Sixties Gold 2013, St David's Hall, Cardiff

Without a doubt the 1960s was a great decade for music as the opening night of the Sixties Gold tour at St David’s Hall proved last week where no less than five acts performed to a packed house for over two and a half hours.

It might have been the first night of the tour, but the performances from The Fortunes, The Searchers, Brian Poole and Chip Hawkes, PJ Proby and Gerry and The Pacemakers were flawless.

As each act entered the stage the focus was purely on the music, with occasional histories of songs and bands thrown in with light humour for good measure.

The Fortunes pictured together in the interval
The Fortunes still retain the spirit and sound of great hits such as You’ve Got Your Troubles, Storm In a Teacup and Caroline.

The Searchers featuring chart era members John McNally and Frank Allen really picked the pace up and got fans dancing in the aisles to Sweets For My Sweet and Love Potion No.9.

There was a welcome return to two former Tremeloes Brian Poole and Chip Hawkes who performed 6 songs including Silence Is Golden and a hilarious rendition of Do You Love Me.

PJ Proby followed with a fabulous set showing he still has the voice and command to mesmerise the audience with renditions of Somewhere and Hold Me.

Finally Gerry Marsden sang his greatest hits with the current incarnation of The Pacemakers including Its Gonna Be Alright and You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The tour continues around the UK until the end of November, including a performance at Bristol’s Colston Hall on October 4, 2013.