In what proved to be one of the most monumental, and solemn weeks of recent history, Ricky Cool and the In-Crowd bought their feel-good set of jazz, blues, reggae and soulful grooves to play for an enthusiastic audience when they appeared at Lichfield Guildhall on Friday 9th September.

With a sound that paid homage to the 1960’s sound and style of The Flamingo Lounge, dominated by swirling Hammond organ, strong bass and drums, and light funk rhythm guitar, the band played music by such luminaries as Georgie Fame, John Denver, Booker T and The MG’s and Ray Charles but in their own way with arrangements that put rhythm on equal footing with melody.

With Ricky Cool leading on vocals, saxophone and harmonica, co-singer and guitarist David Parry, and a strong rhythm section, the band played with vigour, invention, and energy, particularly during Archie Bella which featured strong solos on the keyboards, and guitar, and an animated drum solo from drummer Harrison Weston-Cottrell.

They started with the lively Jump Back Baby, before The In-Crowd, which was an upbeat version, with a swinging saxophone solo, and Hammond organ, whilst Jamaican Jive was a floor filler. Take Me Home Country Roads took liberties with the John Denver favourite but was an interesting take on an evergreen standard. Time is Tight and Georgie Fames’s Yeh Yeh showed the musicians off to good effect.

The harmonica instrumental Contactless opened the second half with a swing, and their version of Unchain My Heart by Ray Charles gave a reggae backbeat to a song which usually receives a blues -funk treatment. The garage rock standard Louie Louie was slowed down and played far less aggressively than many bands, whilst the musical fireworks were unleashed for the Archie Bella, with bass, drums, and keyboards allowed of their reins, and the guitar work of David Parry being shown in a very favourable light. The classic Keep on Running by The Spencer Davies Group filled the dance floor, as did the two encores of Enjoy Yourself, and the classic instrumental of The Liquidator.

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