Can't Stop Now (European Tour 2007)
The Big Chris Barber Band with guest Andy Fairweather Low
Blues Legacy (No catalogue number)
At the time of issue of this, the latest newly-recorded CD by the Big Chris Barber Band, both Chris and his long-time musical partner, Pat Halcox, are almost 77 years old. They've been playing together permanently since May of 1954, and less formally even before that. Chris himself has led a band since 1949, a staggering close-to-60 years! How appropriate, then, that the title of this CD, recorded in late 2006 and early 2007, should be titled Can't Stop Now, and that the title song includes the lyrics, "I can't stop now / While I'm feeling so good / I can't stop now / Who's to say that I should / When the music is right / It's my heart, it's my soul, it's my life."
As a souvenir of the band's European Tour of 2006-2007, this new CD is outstanding: it introduces two new members of the band, Mike Snelling on reeds and Joe Farler on banjo and guitar, both of whom are featured soloists on a number of tracks; it mixes the old -- and refreshed (Lead Me On, The Martinique, Wild Cat Blues; Mike Snelling is superb on all of them) -- with the new: the title track, plus a new arrangement of an old Duke Ellington Composition, Hot And Bothered. If this weren't enough, we also get to enjoy several songs by Andy Fairweather Low, who along with Van Morrison and Bill Wyman was a guest at Chris's Liverpool birthday concert in 2005, and who toured with the band in the UK a year ago. And finally, on a perhaps sad but musically outstanding note, these are the last recordings that bassist Vic Pitt made with the band before retiring early in 2007 after almost three decades.