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Review: 'Chris Stamey Duo & Jasper Jennings'
'Live at The Betsey Trotwood, London''   

-  Genre: 'Pop' -  Release Date: '31.10.23.'

Our Rating:
This show was the second sold out show at the Betsey Trotwood for the legendary Chris Stamey playing his first solo shows in London in a very long time indeed. The support act for this show was meant to be Mary Roswell who unfortunately had to pull out as she is still recovering from a very nasty Bike accident a few weeks ago. so Chris Stamey managed to persuade Jasper Jennings to replace Mary at the last minute.

Jasper came onstage at The Betsey and explained that while he may look and sound a lot like Chris Stamey this opening set would only feature Chris Stamey songs that the man himself doesn't sing live.

It soon became clear that Jasper was a Llewyn Davis like character, who had been coaxed onto the stage to entertain us against his own best will, as he told us all the songs would be songs for other people, which also explains why I am guessing at many of the song titles.

Jasper opened his set with After All This Time that featured some beautifully strummed acoustic guitar and plenty of longing in the vocals, as he hoped to be given one last chance at love. We then got a perfect song for the terrible weather we've been having as he carefully picked his way through No Matter The Weather telling us that it wouldn't get in the way of his love at all.

Jasper then told us the next song I fall In Love So Easily was one that Chris wrote for Milly Maguire and that Chris had never sung this song live, it was a real treat sounding very much like a Chet Baker style love ballad, the guitar had a cool resonance that perfectly fit the lyrics.

It was then time to play a tune that Chris had recorded in London in 1976 with the Sneakers as a good chunk of the audience sang along with Jasper to the brilliant On The Brink as we heard all they ways the relationship was falling apart.

Then Jasper informed us he was going to play an answer song, in this case it was the song Chris wrote in reply to Glen Campbells By The Time I Get To Phoenix the brilliantly sardonic I Don't Think Of You that was originally sung by Ramune Martin back in 2022 as we found out just how forgettable Glen's lovesick character was.

Jasper then chose to play a song off Chris Stamey's latest album The Great Escape, that Jasper told us was Chris' Covid anthem written after arriving Back In New York just as the pandemic was shutting the world down, it was rueful and made clear just how hard it was to contemplate what was going down.

Jasper then told us the next song was one that Chris helped Kathleen Hanna write for Le Tigre, that Chris had never even attempted to play live before, as he told us the songs genesis before he tried to sing Fake French and got about halfway through before getting too tangled up in the Fake French phrases and giving up.

Jasper closed his set with another song from The Great Escape a lovely ringing version of Greensboro Days that was full of memories of times gone by.

After a short break on came Chris Stamey with his Cellist who was introduced as Chrissy and who was playing her second show with Chris having met him a few hours before the show on the 30th. Chrissy was playing from the charts Chris provided her with.

They opened with The Db's classic Cycles Per Second played nice and slow with some great pizzicato cello. Chris then played Nothing Is Wrong from the Sixty-Five Roses album as he tried to make out that the love would last forever, even when he knew it wouldn't.

Chris kept to his default lovesick blues style for I Wrote This Song For You as the cello brought out all the pain in the lyrics perfectly. We then went back to the mid 80's for the tale of his love for Cara Lee and how it went wrong as Chris sparsely picked guitar wove around what Chrissy was playing on cello.

Dear Friend from The Great Escape was full of regret for how a once close friendship was now no more. Chris then told us a story about working with Richard Lloyd by way of an introduction to The DB's classic single (I Thought) You Wanted To Know that replaced the guitar solo with a very pretty cello solo.

I guess the next song was called I Won't Worry yet another bruised song of longing and love blind pain as the rain fell down on the star-crossed lovers. Then Chris was all excited by The Sweetheart Of The Video who had intoxicated his brain so much he needed to get close to her.

Chris then told us a story about staying at Syd Straws apartment in New York and what happened when The One And Only Van Dyke Parks called up on the phone, this led into the song about the incident that was the only song of the night to have a call and response section, as everyone in the Betsey shouted Van Dyke Parks on call every time it was needed.

We then got a couple of songs written with Peter Holsapple the first was I Want To Break Your Heart that had some delightful flourishes on the cello that was followed by just about the only happy love song Chris has ever been involved in that might have been Something Came Over Me.

Chris then played a new song that he's written with The Lemon Twigs and he tried to reproduce the harmonies they added to his tune.
Chris then told us about working with George Martin as he introduced a song about Mothers Knowing Best. Perhaps You Recall had loads of memories of the things you really should remember, the song title for this tune would be on that list, as once again the cellist had most of us transfixed at her playing.

The only instrumental of the set was In The Driving Rain a tune that was perfect for the last month in London. Chris then played the stone-cold classic Summer Sun that had lots of people singing along with him.

Chris then told a story about recording the final song of the set at Madness studio as an intro into London his song for being lonely in the early hours a perfect way to end a brilliant live set.

It didn't take too much to get Chris back for a very well deserved encore, as he dug deep into his song book and took the first request he heard, that as he didn't have the charts for his cellist, he played solo a really great version of 14 Shades of Green that went down a storm, then after thanking everyone he needed to including his marvelous cellist they finished the show with a brilliant version of 27 Years In A Single Day that was a perfect way to end a brilliant evening with Chris Stamey and his alter ego Jasper Jennings.
  author: simonovitch

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