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STEVE CROPPER (The Robin, Bilston Aug 21)

13-08-2008

Steve Cropper

It’s one of the gigs of the year …American soul legend who’s performed with greats from Otis Redding to Neil Young appears under his own steam in a corking gig next week. Dave Woodhall wouldn’t dream of missing it.

Anyone who's been there will know the Robin is one of the finest live venues in the country. It's safe, clean and there's always a good atmosphere. This enables owner Mike Hamblett to attract the type of acts who really shouldn't be playing a venue this size - the likes of Eric Burdon, Blue Oyster Cult and those wacky funsters Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman have all appeared here.

Next week there’ll be another great night in the Robin’s history, when they stage a rare solo gig by the legendary Steve Cropper.

Now ‘legend’ might be an over-used word, particularly in the music business, but in this case it’s an understatement. It’s hard to know where to begin to list his achievements.

Cropper wrote, played on and produced the classic Stax output of the late sixties - Booker T& the MGs, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Wilson Pickett and the rest. He helped defined a generation and led the way for musical integration at a time when race riots were threatening to explode throughout the United States.

After leaving Stax, Cropper played with great names from Jose Feliciano to John Lennon and more recently Neil Young.

He formed the Blues Brothers band with Hollywood stars John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd; two films and thirty years later, the band he put together still occasionally tour, with the likes of Eddie Floyd and Sam Moore up front.

He produces, writes and when he wants to record these days can call on such young talent as Australian singer Guy Sebastian, with whom he made The Memphis Album last year. Somewhere in the world there may be a band who’ve never played a song Steve Cropper didn’t at least have a hand in; there surely isn’t a record collection that doesn’t feature his work.

In 1996 Mojo named him second-greatest guitarist of all time and he was inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, having first been elected with Booker T & the MGs thirteen years earlier. And now he's making what will almost certainly be his first trip to Bilston. Maybe he'll pop into the Trumpet for a bag of scratchings and a pint of Holden's.

Backed by the latest incarnation of the Animals, featuring original drummer John Steele and Blockheads keyboard player Mickey Gallagher, Steve Cropper plays the Robin on Thursday 21stAugust.

For ticket information call 01902-401211 or look at www.therobintickets.co.uk

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