James Burton

2007-05-10

Last night was James Burton at the Cluny. It was one of those "last chance to see" experiences, as he’s getting on a bit now. So I was not sure what to expect.

The support band were dreadful — acoustic, electric and double bass. The bass player slapped his fingerboard a lot, with the resultant dull thud being all you could hear. The other two were more tuneful, but didn’t appear to listen to each other. Rock-and-roll has to be in time or it’s nothing but awful.

The second band were much better. Tight, together and with a sense of performance. By this stage, though, I was getting a bit nervous. Where was James Burton? Well, eventually he came on. Not that the flames on the telecaster work that well now to be honest, but James himself is still a strong player. Flash when he needs to be, tasteful when not. Above all, he is a side-man — he is not there to attact attention, but to support the song, to reinforce the rest of the band and to entertain the audience, which he did all evening. The support should take notice.

Of course, I paid a price. I got home at 11:30 — I’ve been up since 5 and am in an airport. I feel terrible. I guess it all boils down to what Gerry said — most of the audience didn’t have to get up to go to work the next day, having retired some years before.

Originally published on my old blog site.