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The Milk Men + The 49ers

Thursday 27th June 2024

The Half Moon, Putney, London

This was the album launch for 'Holy Cow', the sixth album by the Milk Men, in their bid to be the natural successor to Dr. Feelgood, present “Dr. Feelgood” band excepted. Unfortunately, I had the pleasure of meeting the original band, some 45 years ago, hanging with Lee, Big Figure etc. Nice guys, who set the mould for “Essex Rock”, as I used to call it! Onwards!

If you are not familiar with them, they have pedigree. With the anchor of former drummer, Mike Roberts, keeping the beat, and Lloyd Green, son of guitar legend Mick Green, keeping the low end together, on bass. Singer Jamie Smy struts the boards with panache while guitarist Adam Norsworthy, primarily of “The Mustangs”, reminds me of the late Wilko Johnson in his approach. A great “successor”, so to speak.

'Little Miss Attention' opened the show and they nailed their colours to their chest! ‘Canvey Island’ rules supreme! Straight into the current single 'Hung Over', an upcoming classic if ever there was one, all in prime "Feelgood" style! Launching into 'The Operator', before one of their latest offerings, 'Give A Little Love', another rockin’ little number! Simple, but straight forward, with a tasteful guitar solo to round things off! Excellent!

This next part of show featured songs from their earlier albums, but gave me a chance to soak up some of where they have "come from". Songs like 'The Score', 'Cheap Seats' and 'Fabulous', nailed what these guys do, before returning to their latest album with 'Fill Her Shoes', another rocker in the style of the late 70’s. Lee Brilleaux would have been proud! 'Make Mine A Double' kept the old songs rolling, before launching into 'Bad News Blues' (I mean, when is Blues not bad news?). 'Give Me A Reason' followed, before a cover of 'Oh Well'. 'One Man Band' and 'Go Go Baby' got a fierce outing, before another cover, 'Pinball Wizard', made an unexpected appearance!

The night was rounded off by set-closer, 'She Don’t Like Rock ’n’ Roll', before the band re-emerged for a version of 'Johnny B Goode' and "added extras" to suitably close the night out. Maybe not as much of their latest offering as expected, but more than enough to whet my appetite. I’ll definitely be back for more. They sold me a copy of their new CD for a start :) A great band and well worth a watch!

Then there was the support band, The 49ers. This was a very “late 70s? early 80s” outfit, sadly playing most of the material I had been to festivals to experience, back in the day, and to me, it hadn’t worn that well, as these were one of the main reasons that made me move into studios in the first place! But sadly, money rules and those who are in-vogue, win out and those that fall out of favour, do not! The story of the music business, unfortunately.

Once again, these were songs that often were played long before some of these kids were even born! This was a covers band with songs like 'Echo Beach' (Martha And The Muffins) and 'One Way Or Another' (Blondie), that hadn’t aged too well over time, at least to me, plus other covers like Plastic Bertrand’s 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' and The Stranglers 'No More Heroes'. Big tunes in their day but to me personally, they have not weathered too well. Tastes vary and I am not saying this band are bad, because they do what they do very well, just not to my taste. And then they moved to their 2-Tone set… Oh dear! Time for me to get another beer!

Tim Russell

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