WINTER GARDENS, BLACKPOOL, AUGUST 10 2001

Albie Wycherley's show at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, was an event in itself, but it was also used to launch the new Billy/Albie CD. Di and Ann Vickers were among the crowds.

They write:

There was a well-stocked merchandise stall which was attracting a lot of interest, selling mostly memorabilia of Billy and Tommy Bruce.

On production of our tickets at the stall, we were able to purchase the Billy/Jason Eddie brand new picture disc, gold limited edition CD, signed by both Billy's mum and his brother. The tracks on this CD are wonderful and we think it's a great idea to have the two brothers together on one CD.

The show opened with a set by 14-year-old Laura, who lives in the Northampton area, making her first professional appearance. After watching video clips of Billy, her impressions were used by her manager, Kevin Summerfield, for the lyrics of a song, Legends Never Die. Kevin sent the track to Billy's family, who offered her the chance to sing in Blackpool. To hear for yourself Laura's studio performance of Legends Never Die, click here. The guitarist is Nick McNulty, who accompanied her on the acoustic set in Blackpool.

Her songs included Billy's Let Me Go Lover and the Eva Cassidy version of Over The Rainbow.

The rock 'n' roll disco cut in between the artists' performances and Tommy Bruce and his band were next on stage. After his usual "Hello doll" greeting, he launched into Ain't Misbehavin' and then treated us to some rock 'n' roll classics.

An outstanding performance was given by Colin Paul and the Persuaders, who presented a magnificent tribute to Elvis.

Colin and the band then returned to the stage to accompany Billy's brother as he sang a range of Billy's songs. He ended his performance by asking everyone who was there not to forget Billy - which we never will.

(Additional material on Laura added by Harry.)


WORCESTER PARK CLUB, AUGUST 4, 2000

Albie Wycherley was in action at the Worcester Park Club, Surrey, on August 4, 2000. Pictures and review by Ann Clark.

I thought I was an expert on 60s music, but have to admit I never knew Billy Fury had a brother until I saw this gig advertised at the Worcester Park Club, a popular local venue. Doors opened at 8, with interesting memorabilia and CDs on sale in the lobby, and the promise that Albie and Jean would sign whatever we bought after the show.

The evening started with Colin Paul and the Persuaders, and an excellent Elvis tribute. Colin has a great voice and all the right moves, the up-beat numbers ruled the day, and jive was alive and kicking on the dance floor. It went down a treat, and when he closed for the interval, with various encores and a show-stopping American Trilogy, it seemed he would be a very hard act to follow.

Albie entered to the opening bars of Halfway To Paradise, and the immense good will radiating from the audience relaxed him. This can't in any way be an easy show to do. He had to establish that we weren't all watching a ghost, but an excellent singer in his own right who happens to be the one person best qualified to do this tribute. It helped that we'd had Colin Paul on first; it firmly established that this was no reincarnation or impersonation, but a celebration of the man and the music.

And celebrate everyone did, happily and appreciatively. There were some obscure requests, but as Albie said, he could only do the ones he knew. He knew a lot of them, including Last Night Was Made For Love, I Will, Forget Him, A Thousand Stars, Wondrous Place, Maybe Tomorrow, That's Love, Be Mine Tonight and Once Upon A Dream. He also gave us Mess Of Blues since "our kid", as he endearingly referred to Billy, always used to include an Elvis number in his stage act.

During the show Albie paid well-deserved tribute to the Persuaders and to Colin Paul, who had returned with them as a backing singer. He also introduced his mum, Jean, who was in the audience, a lovely lady who appears so young she must have had her sons when she was just a babe in arms.

He finished with Halfway To Paradise but was brought back by overwhelming applause to encore with It's Only Make Believe.

"Albie Wycherley has left the building," said Colin, but he was only kidding. Albie and Jean stayed on to sign CDs and pictures and chat to the fans afterwards, which was a friendly gesture, much appreciated.

It was a memorable evening. The audience, young and old, knew all the words to all the songs. There was little visual likeness, and no real attempt to recreate the stage presence, but Albie's voice was achingly and effortlessly reminiscent of Billy's. Catch this show if you ever can, you won't be disappointed. And don't fail to buy Albie's own CD I Never Met Claudette, which contains four excellent, original and enjoyable songs.

Colin Paul and the Persuaders


 

RIVINGTON BARN, 6th MARCH 2004

Review by Jenny Warwick

Rivington Barn is a beautiful old converted barn set in hundreds of acres of
National Trust land a few miles from the centre of Bolton in Lancashire. 

On Saturday 6th March a Billy Fury tribute evening had been arranged by Chris
Hewitt (Ozit and Billy Fury Ltd). By 8pm the venue was filling up fast and by
9pm there wasn't a spare seat to be found.

It was estimated that over 300  attended, but it seemed a lot more! 

Once people had taken their seats, bought their drinks at the bar, a visit to the merchandise table found a good selection of Billy-related items and the CD which had been promised to be available to all ticket holders. 

This special CD entitled Rarities and Teenage Jottings contains 23 tracks to include some rare and un-released tracks and is a must for all Fury fans. The sleeve notes contain photos and writings never seen before - certainly a collector's "must" and a fan's dream.

Chris Hewitt introduced the band, who played a few numbers before everyone
queued for their chicken and chips supper, during which time Jean Wycherley
collected for the raffle. Prizes included a cake made by Di and Anne Vickers
and a gorgeous framed photo of Billy donated by the Sound of Fury fan club.

A considerable sum was raised, which Jean is to put towards the Fans of Billy
Fury Music Award. This initiative was started at a tribute weekend in
November and Jean presented three students from the Liverpool Institute of
Performing Arts with a donation towards their music education and a
certificate. Jean wishes to continue supporting this scheme as it helps
young students with their futures in the name of Billy Fury and by doing so,
introduces a new, younger generation to the music of a legend.

The band took to the stage again and were joined by Jason Eddie who wore a
charcoal grey suit and opened with Like I've Never Been Gone.

After three or four more numbers he introduced his new band as the Jason Eddie Sound -their first venue together. Jason (Albie as he is often more
affectionately known)  sang many of Billy's classics to the delight of the
audience who gradually moved closer and closer to the stage. 

During his performance he asked for requests and someone shouted for an Elvis number! 

He laughed, and to the surprise and delight of most, launched into a great
rendition of Mess Of Blues 

He was very relaxed throughout his performance and was obviously enjoying
every minute of being up on the stage that Chris Hewitt had erected just a
few hours before!

Wondrous Place was sung amidst thousands of bubbles featured in the Toyota advert a few years ago and very effective. 

After an hour and a half on stage, Jason finished with Halfway To Paradise, during
which Jean joined him on stage. After a long and loud encore, he finally
closed with a powerful It's Only Make Believe.

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