Mike Sanchez/Huntingdon Hall, Worcester


SIR Mike Sanchez of Bewdley… now there’s a thought.

And why not? Knighted in the New Year’s honours for services to classic rock ‘n’ roll… why not indeed.

There are perhaps many who would rather see the Kidderminster Kid get a gong than the usual procession of dreary, time-serving unknowns that are routinely honoured every 12 months around this time.

For on the evidence of this gig, Sanchez and his band have never been so together, tighter than the top ‘E’ string on Tom Bull’s Fender Telecaster.

Talking of which, his glitter-studded axe sparkled almost as much as Tom himself as he launched into solo after fret-burning solo of deliciously overdriven lead breaks.

The current Sanchez band line-up is indeed a force to be reckoned with. The sax session roared, rasped and raged over a thumping bull fiddle bass that pinned the tempos, while Mark Morgan’s tasty sticks work held the whole thing in place.

Morgan is a proper drummer who knows that 1950s rhythm and blues just doesn’t work without that vital backbeat.

As for the main man, he is undoubtedly Britain’s uncrowned king of vintage rock. No one does it better than him, absolutely no one.

Just listen to Brooke Benton’s Kiddio, Chuck Berry’s Almost Grown, or his electrifying recreation of Slim Harpo’s Hip Shake.

And then there’s his famous Howling Wolf and Bo Diddley interlude into which he throws an acre or two of Mose Allison’s Parchman Farm for good measure.

But Sanchez is much more than a covers man, as evidenced by his sterling performance of I Need a Woman, a self-penned composition that is easily as good as anything written by the late, great Sam Cooke.

Mike Sanchez’s Christmas concert at the Huntingdon Hall is now a firmly established Worcestershire tradition, many fans travelling from the north of the county to see him in action.

So. It won’t happen, of course, but I probably won’t be alone in thinking that it’s high time this unique ambassador of rock was officially recognised.

Sir Mike Sanchez of Bewdley? Yes indeed, why not… maybe the time really has come for that royal blade to touch those ample shoulders.

John Phillpott