MUSIC: Joe Brown in Worthing

Joe Brown. Picture by Judy Totton

Joe Brown. Picture by Judy Totton

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ANOTHER year, another tour for the unstoppable Joe Brown, one of the loveliest people you could ever hope to interview and a living legend with more than half a century in the business.

Before Christmas Joe was on the road, opening the evening for Status Quo; now he’s back to the full show with a date coming up in Worthing.

“I was really surprised how well it went with Quo,” says Joe. “I wasn’t sure how the crowds were going to receive me, me being a bit older than Status Quo. I was really nervous about the whole thing. I haven’t opened for anyone for 50 years.

“But it was really great. I thought I was going to be playing to a lot of headbangers, but it was lovely, just as if we were playing the smaller venues.”

Now, though, he’s expanding the set, more than happy to deliver all the hits that people expect; keen too to keep it all fresh with some new material.

“If I had someone to open for me, I would be restricted timewise in what I could do. We do a lot of these shows, and you get to know what works.

“But it’s important we still keep coming up with weird and wonderful songs that we just find all over the place.

“We usually put in nine or ten new songs, which is a lot. I couldn’t just go on trolling out all the same old stuff year after year.”

You can be sure that Joe will whip out his trademark ukulele, an instrument which more than anyone he’s helped bring right back into fashion.

Joe delivered a quite magical moment a few years back when he closed the George Harrison tribute concert by accompanying himself on the uke on I’ll See You In My Dreams.

“I think it is a terribly underrated instrument.

“You hear some of those virtuosos and there is not much that they can’t do on it.

“But the great thing about the uke is that you can learn to play it in a couple of days and sing a song to it.

“They should put them in the schools rather than recorders.

“My daughter Sam has had a bit of trouble with her throat lately for singing.

“She formed a ukulele orchestra where she lives and she has got about 30 or 40 people that all come along.

“The day we finished the Quo tour we were up in Glasgow playing to about 5,000 people.

“The next day I had promised to go down and play in her village hall.

“I went from 5,000 people to about 80 people in a village hall, but it was great.

“I had all these ukulele players strumming away.

“I have always loved the instrument and always given it credence.

“When I was a kid, everybody had a ukulele.

“They were very cheap and they were put in the toy bracket, but they are proper instruments.

“I just love the simplicity of it.

You play the old tunes like I’ll See You In My Dreams and you can feel it was written on it. It just falls under the fingers so beautifully.”

Joe’s gig is at the Pavilion Theatre, Worthing, on Saturday, April 2 at 7.30pm.

Tickets on 01903 206206.