Half Moon Putney
12th July 2018
Peter Asher and Albert Lee have paired up to perform some shows that celebrate the musicians that have inspired them and the songs that have moved them. Of course one half of the hit duo of the 60's Peter and Gordon and Albert Lee who's one of the most tasteful and impressive guitarists – even by Nashville standards – are not generally the kind of musicians that you'd imagine palling up for an evening. However, they've been friends for a long time, and their influences are the same, but having to cram two lifetimes at the top of the music biz was never going to be an easy task. The focus here is an understated retrospective of stories about some of the greatest musicians of the last fifty years of music history.
Asher went on to manage James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, but also became a prolific producer working with The Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Nicks, to name drop a few. Lee is known for playing with Emmy Lou Harris, Heads Hands and Feet and was the guitarist with the Everley Brothers for 26 years and they begin their set with one of the Everly's best-known songs, Bye, Bye Love.
Asher talks about how many artists place their own inimitable stamp on a song that it becomes synonymous with the cover artist. This happens quite a few times in the evening with Asher and Lee mentioning You've Got A Friend (written by Carol King but made famous by James Taylor) and Handy Man (originally recorded by Jimmy Jones, but a massive hit for Del Shannon) with a fair bit of audience participation required for the chorus. There are a few Peter and Gordon songs too with Asher explaining how he ended up with The Beatles' cast off, A World Without Love along with a paired down version of I Go To Pieces.
Later in the set a cover of Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) covered by Glenn Campbell, but a favourite song for Lee to perform at his own concerts. Campbell's version had such an impact on Lee that he didn't even know that it was a Green Day song. Lee may not be playing the fast and flash electric riffs of Country Boy tonight, but demonstrates his abilities as a vocalist and pianist. His version of Jimmy Webb's Highwayman is stunning and another Everly's song, Let It Be Me is performed with the same understated passion and grace. Lee has an immense talent but a small ego which in this day of instant as pot noodle celebrity, is a rarity. True talent stands the test of time, and a good song will always be a good song. This is a strong message that comes through from the evening: artists will still cover the work of others if it has moved them in some way and many of the songs tonight are reinterpreted by Asher and Lee for the same reasons. They may not be natural musical bedfellows, but with 100 years of stories and songs between them Peter Asher and Albert Lee could easily have had the audience in awe for weeks.