Christmas came early to the Deep Blues Club at York (in the UK). Geoff Achison was making an excursion to the northernmost outpost on his latest tour to promote his latest batch of highly regarded albums ("Chasing My Tail" and "Each Long Day"). There was a very healthy crowd on hand to witness the event, for which he was supported by regular Souldigger Dave Lennox (keyboards) and a rhythm section comprising Steve Washington (drums) and Silvio (bass). Regular UK Souldiggers Dave Clarke and Sam Kelly were otherwise engaged in the capital city.
Achison started with a short solo set, playing a handful of songs on acoustic guitar. The medley of Junior Parker's "Mystery Train" and his own "Train Ride" left many of the crowd marvelling at his technique. It was hard to believe that there was just one person playing guitar as he fused together blues with jazz improvisations and a large helping of originality. Add in a gritty soulful voice and you have the recipe for success.
The band joined in to keep things cooking when Achison switched to electric guitar. The list of songs cut across Achison's rapidly expanding back catalogue. Mixed in with excellent versions of Albert King's "Wrapped Up In Love" and a tremendous funky reinterpretation of Mel London's "Sugar Sweet" were songs of the quality of "Kerry Lou"--a Texas shuffle derivative--and the twisted tale of love, "Gettin' Evil". He also included "Souldiggin'" which was dedicated to the absent rhythm section. Their replacements did a grand job, however, and there was an empathy between Achison and Lennox which bordered on the telepathic at times.
Geoff Achison and the UK Souldiggers put on an excellent show. The crowd were left begging for more at the end, and gave the band a standing ovation. Achison was in top form throughout, and the Souldiggers provided more than able support. The best Deep Blues gig of 2002? Probably!
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