A LITTLE REVIEW OF GWEN McCRAE featuring the SOULPOWER ALL-STARS
Gwen McCrae (voc), Lars Stoermer (sax), Jörg Bücheler (tb), Johannes Uhlmann (g), Helge Adam (keys), Lars Lehmann (bass), Kristof Hinz (dr)
Gwen McCrae has certainly earned her kudos since her smash hit Rockin Chair was released in 1975. She has performed with Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Al Green, the Temptations, the O'Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, the late Ray Charles, Luther Vandross and Jocelyn Brown amongst others. All this, after Columbia Records (whom she signed with in 1970) decided not to renew her recording contract in 1973!
I met Al after work at 8 and we raced up to Camden with no idea what time Gwen would be on stage. No needs to have worried - there was plenty time for beers and at 9:15 the band "Soulpower All-stars" walked on stage signalling the imminent arrival of Gwen. They played a blinding funk instumental appropriately entitled "Soulpower" before their female MC, Drika, took to the mike to announce that the "Queen of Rare Groove" had arrived.
Gwen is 61 but there's no way she looks a day over 40. Dressed in jeans, heels and a very sparkly dress, she looked amazing. As she launched into 90% of Me Is You, she sounded as fresh as she did in her Columbia years. Every note, whether low or high (and my god she went high) was hit with absolute precision.
Gwen and the band played a solid 90 minute set interspersed with banter and tease to get the crowd going. Among the many songs they played were :-
90% of me is you
All this love that i'm giving
Keep the fire burning
Lead me on
Damn right it's good
Winners together or losers apart
For your love
It's worth the hurt
Been so long
Love without sex
Rock your baby
The performance was excellent and the crowd really got into the spirit (some of the guys a little too much!! but Gwen didn't mind - shouting back that she was too much woman for them... and we didn't doubt it for an instance).
It had been a long time since we last enjoyed a live set as much as this - the icing on the cake was getting to hear "Lead Me On" sung live and of course getting the single signed by Gwen after the show.
Photos of the night in the gallery section