Still rocking to the max with Manfreds
He may be in his mid-70s, but Paul Jones of The Manfreds isn't slowing down - much.
Although he’s stepped down from the Blues Show on Radio Two, his touring schedule with The Manfreds - which brings him to Blackpool in the autumn - is still pretty impressive.
“I had been thinking for a long time that I had to thin my diary,” he said of being replaced on the show by Cerys Matthews. “You can’t keep on working six days a week, but it never occurred to me to take out the radio show – probably because I’d been doing it for 32 years.
“Once the BBC had the re-shuffle, I thought it was the obvious candidate.”
But The Manfreds are touring until December, and in the new year he’s off with Dave Kelly of The Blues Band as a duo, playing some Blues Band gigs, then in March, April and May he’s back out touring as The Manfreds again – and touring New Zealand.
During the Manfred Mann days in 1966, Paul dropped a bombshell by leaving the band to go solo. His place was taken by Mike D’Abo and the hits continued, and now most Manfreds shows feature both singers - including this one.
Usually, the Maximum R ‘n’ B shows concentrate on the early hits when the band was an R ‘n’ B and jazz fusion band. “But we’ll manage to get in other things as well, Paul promises.
“Smokestack Lightning for one. It was the first song on our first album in 1964, as well as our latest one, released last year. It redefines what is a hit. It wasn’t a single, but it has been rarely dropped from the gigs.”
Other hits we can expect to hear are Do Wah Diddy Diddy, Pretty Flamingo and Mighty Quinn to name a few.
The Manfreds always seem to sell out theatres everywhere and Paul thinks he knows why they are so popular after more than 50 years: “I think it’s the mixture of readily available, accessible, simple but refreshing, likeable songs,” he said. “Add to that the quality of musicianship that enables us to embellish the songs and sometimes do songs we haven’t done before.”
* Maximum R ‘n’ B with The Manfreds and Georgie Fame, Grand Theatre, Wednesday, October 31.