British Blues – Events – Gigs – Memo Gonzales

Memo Gonzales and the Bluescasters at the 100 Club, London, 30th June 2002

Memo Gonzalez is certainly a big man – at a guess, I would say in his forties, a singing harp blower from Dallas, Texas. He was backed up by a German three-piece of lead guitar, bass and drums and the lead guitarist, in the opinion of the ‘Tales From The Woods’ editorial board, was the star of the show. The Stevie Ray Vaughan style excess that seems to infiltrate most young white blues guitarists was kept to a minimum. For sure, the influence was there but he has obviously done his homework. There was a considerable amount of T Bone Walker and Freddie King in there as well and T Bone’s ‘What’s The Reason’ popped up during the course of the two sets.   

As for Memo himself, well, he played good harp but his voice was merely adequate, nothing special. The choice of material was interesting – hairy old chestnuts were kept out although we did get Otis Redding’s ‘Tramp’ (groan). Amongst the covers they included the farm boy from Tupelo, Mississippi’s ‘His Latest Flame’ and a near perfect ‘C’mon Little Mama’ as well as Chuck Willis’ ‘Lawdy Miss Mary’.   

As you’ve probably guessed by now, their blues were mostly on the rockin’ side although among their own material and covers they played it straight on ‘Cute Little Woman’, ‘She Made Me Cry’ and an amusing take on shagging outside the family home on ‘What You Doing When You’re Not Doing Me?’ They also made visits out to less familiar territory via Titus Turner and Mitch Ryder, so commendable in that sense. I knew literally nothing about Memo and his band before attending this evening at London’s most famous, oldest and still best venue and I’m not much wiser now. But enjoyable? Yes.


Keith Woods


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