Ray Jackson’s Lindisfarne
Posted: 27 Dec 2013
Ray Jackson picture © Rik Walton
of music lovers were appalled at the prospect of Newcastle’s City Hall closing
down as part of the city council’s cost-cutting drive – not least of them Ray
legendary mandolin and harmonica player and co-frontman from the original
line-up decided to take action. He assembled a team of crack musicians to perform
three Christmas shows of the band’s output from its Seventies heyday to raise
money to save the iconic venue.
As it happened
the City Hall survived the axe, but Ray decided the show must go on, only now
as a fundraiser for the children’s charity CICRA.
December dates sold out quicker than turkeys at yuletide and thousands of fans
kept their fingers crossed that the magic would not have died. They need not
from the audience flowed like ale at a beer festival and was rewarded with a
cracking set which turned back the clock to a time when attendance at the Lindisfarne
Christmas shows was as compulsory as festive plum pudding.
kicked off with The Road to Kingdom Come followed by All Fall Down sung by Dave
Hull-Denholm (the son-in-law of the late former frontman Alan Hull) in a voice
so uncannily like Hull’s it sent shivers down your spine.
numbers from the first half included City Song, Rab Noakes’ Together Forever,
Lady Eleanor and a haunting January Song. In the hands of the band – whose other members were fellow North
Easterners Charlie Harcourt, Steve Daggett, Ian Thomson and Roxy Music’s
drummer, the great Paul Thompson – everything clicked perfectly into place.
interval came. Could the second half match it? Yes – and then some.
with a laid-back vibe, Train in G Major (great slide guitar from Charlie) and
Uncle Sam showcased the band’s bluesier side.
was party-time with anthems Fog on the Tyne, Run for Home and We Can Swing Together,
the latter segueing into a mammoth singalong with Jacka thoroughly enjoying himself
on trademark harmonica solos. He looked like all his Christmases had come at
Their Seventies hit single Meet Me on the Corner penned by Rod Clements – he was in the audience to see the
show too – was the official finale, but most of the crowd knew better than to
head for the exits. They couldn’t close without playing Clear White Light from the first album Nicely Out of Tune, and
they didn’t. Fans filed out into the December air with heads full of nostalgia,
pride in the North East and great songs in their hearts. Well, that’s how I
felt. Maybe I’m a bit of a sentimentalist. A bit like Ray Jackson.