4th July – JOAN ARMATRADING
Live – for one day – JOAN ARMATRADING – a British singer-songwriter and guitarist who first appeared at the Gaumont in 1976. This concert marked her seventh at the theatre and came off the back of her 1988 album ‘The Shouting Stage‘ and was part of an international tour to promote her new album, ‘Hearts And Flowers‘. For this, her 12th album, Armatrading kept on several of the personnel from her previous release The Shouting Stage. Veterans Pino Palladino and Jamie Lane, on bass and drums respectively, continued their long association with her and Manu Katché continued to provide drums and high-hat drums. She also invited Graham Dickson to once again do the engineering and kept on Jeremy Pearce to do the artwork for the album’s cover. In a slight departure, Armatrading played keyboards on two of the tracks, something she hadn’t done since her early albums Whatever’s for Us and Back to the Night. The album in general shows a return to some of the themes and musical influences of these first two albums. Armatrading’s unofficial biographer Sean Mayes notes that the album has “a strong feeling of musical roots … and echoes of her earlier albums, particularly Back to the Night”.
9th July – THE BARRON KNIGHTS
On the stage – for one day – THE BARRON KNIGHTS – started out as a straight pop group, and spent a couple of years touring and playing in English dance halls before making their way to Hamburg, Germany. Bill Wyman, later of the Rolling Stones, has written that the Barron Knights were the first group he saw with an electric bass, at a performance in Aylesbury in July 1961, inspiring him to take up the instrument. In 1963, at the invitation of Brian Epstein, they were one of the support acts on The Beatles’ Christmas shows at the Finsbury Park Astoria in London, and later became one of the few acts to tour with both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Their debut single was “Let’s Face It” / “Never Miss Chris” released in 1962 by Fontana Records. They also made their debut on BBC Television in this year performing on the children’s programme Let’s Go! They achieved four other UK hit singles in the 1960s and 1970s but their only US Billboard Hot 100 charted single, “The Topical Song”, was another comedic parody written by the American poet Robert Spring White. Based upon Supertramp’s “The Logical Song”, White, who also took the 1980 American Song Festival award in the folk category for “Where Does The River Go”, confined his humorous lyric compositions for the Barron Knights. In 1986, they sang a parody of the Jimmy Dean song “Big Bad John”, called “Big Bad Bond”. It was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Australian entrepreneur Alan Bond and his involvement in Australia’s victory in the 1983 America’s Cup. The single was released by WEA, and had “The Loan Arranger” on the B-side, both taken from their album California Girls. In 1990 at the time of this tour the band released a 30th anniversary album.
The opening act for the tour was 36 year old Irish singer, composer JOHNNY LOGAN, first won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980, with the song “What’s Another Year”. In 1984, Logan composed the song “Terminal 3” which placed second at Eurovision, performed by Linda Martin. He won the contest for a second time in 1987 with “Hold Me Now”, which he also wrote himself.
13th July – RUFUS STONE
Live – one night only – RUFUS STONE – The acclaimed 8 piece soul band Rufus Stone have been performing constantly since their formation back in 1984. The creation of former Lulu and the Luvvers drummer Henry Wright, some of the very best musicians in the south play with or have played with the band over this period. Rufus Stone have performed at every kind of venue from the wonderful Royal Albert Hall to city theatres, cruise ships and open air events such as the Round the World Yacht Race and Goodwood Festival of Speed. On their list of credits are performances and tours with the likes of Edwin Starr, Curtis Mayfield, Ben E King, Jimmy Ruffin and many more of soul music’s greats.
This represents the Southampton band’s biggest ever home town gig.
14th July – AZTEC CAMERA
Live – one night only – AZTEC CAMERA – were a Scottish pop/new wave band formed by Roddy Frame, the group’s singer, songwriter, and only consistent member. For the band’s fourth album, Stray, Frame collaborated with the Clash’s Jones on the song “Good Morning Britain”, and Jones also performed at this gig which followed the album’s release.
In an interview, Frame explained that he wrote “Good Morning Britain” in 45 minutes after a two- to three-hour conversation with Jones in the canteen of a London rehearsal studio that both Big Audio Dynamite and Aztec Camera were using. At the time he wrote the song, Jones lived near his London home; Frame visited Jones after recording the song and said to the Clash guitarist, “You’ll either sing on it, or you’ll want to sue me”, as Frame believed the song was so similar to Jones’ previous work.
28th July – EMO PHILIPS
Live – one day only – EMO PHILIPS – MAYFLOWER –
Emo Philips is a 34 year old American stand-up comedian, actor, voice actor, writer and producer. His stand-up comedy persona makes use of paraprosdokians spoken in a wandering falsetto tone of voice. The confused, childlike delivery of his material produces the intended comic timing in a manner invoking the “wisdom of children” or the idiot savant. The character of Emo Philips is widely known for his unique look and on-stage antics, appearing as a fidgety, possibly mentally disturbed, nervous but highly intelligent individual with an obsession for coleslaw. Philips constantly moves throughout the routine, often shifting from sitting to standing positions, wandering from end to end on stage, playing with his hair or clothing, or going as far as to partially undress as he delivers punchlines. His comedy, which is largely self-deprecating and ironic, is often delivered in a modulated falsetto. His look (occasionally described as geeky, disco and vaudeville-inspired), particularly his hair—a 1970s-style bob with straight-lined front fringe—has been a signature part of his appearance and act for most of his career.
Supporting Emo on this gig was Judy Tenuat Tenuta gained notoriety as a wisecracking, accordion-wielding, self-proclaimed “Petite Flower and Love Goddess” during the “golden age of character comedy” in the mid 1980s. She has been featured in several productions of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s, including The Weird Al Show as well as the music videos for “Headline News” and “White & Nerdy”. She has also appeared on game shows such as Hollywood Squares, Street Smarts, and the 1998–1999 revival of Match Game. She did a series of TV ads for MTV and Diet Dr Pepper in the late 1980s, as well as her HBO, Showtime, and Lifetime specials that became popular and gained her a loyal following. She is also well known for her often quoted catch phrase “It could happen!“.
13th August – RUN FOR YOUR WIFE
On the stage – for six days – RUN FOR YOUR WIFE – is a 1983 comedy play by Ray Cooney about bigamist John Smith, a London cab driver with two wives, two lives and a very precisely planned schedule for juggling them both, with one wife at a home in Streatham and another nearby at a home in Wimbledon. Trouble brews when Smith is mugged and ends up in hospital, where both of his addresses surface, causing both the Streatham and Wimbledon police to investigate the case. His careful schedule upset, Smith becomes hopelessly entangled in his attempts to explain himself to his two wives and two suspicious police officers, with help from his lazy layabout neighbour upstairs in Wimbledon. This tour starred Les Dawson in the role he had played in the West End and in seaside holiday seasons. Dawson began entertaining as a pianist in a Parisian brothel. Making a living as a pianist evolved into comedy when he got laughs by playing wrong notes and complaining to the audience. He made his television debut on the talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1967 and became a prominent comic on British television for the rest of his life.
23rd August – BARBARA DICKSON
On the stage – for TWO nights – BARBARA DICKSON – a 43 year old Scottish singer, who The Scotsman newspaper described as Scotland’s best-selling female singer in terms of the numbers of hit chart singles and albums she has achieved in the UK since 1976.
Willy Russell showed Dickson the first draft of what later became the award-winning musical John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert and asked her to perform the music. The combination of fine writing, a superb cast of young unknowns (including Antony Sher, Bernard Hill and Trevor Eve) and Dickson’s idiosyncratic interpretation of Beatles songs made the show hugely successful.The show’s co-producer, Robert Stigwood, signed Dickson to his record label, RSO Records, where she recorded the album Answer Me, arranged and produced by Junior Campbell, the title track becoming a Top 10 hit in 1976. John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert also led to her guest residency on The Two Ronnies, which brought Dickson’s singing to the attention of more than ten million BBC Television viewers every week. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice also spotted Dickson in John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert, and invited her to record “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” from their new musical Evita, which became her second hit in 1977. She contributed two tracks to Scouse the Mouse a children’s album (1977) with Ringo Starr and others. Also during the late 1970s, Dickson also contributed backing vocals to two best-selling albums by the Scottish singer-songwriter, Gerry Rafferty: City to City (1978) and Night Owl (1979). Other solo hits including “Caravan Song” and “January February”, followed for Dickson in 1980. In 1982, Willy Russell invited Dickson to star in his new musical Blood Brothers in the pivotal role of the mother, Mrs. Johnstone. Although at first reluctant to accept, having never acted before, she accepted and garnered critical acclaim as well as ‘Actress of the Year in a Musical’ from the Society of West End Theatres in 1984. Later in 1984, Tim Rice approached Dickson to take part in the recording of the concept album for the musical Chess in the role of Svetlana. Dickson’s songs on the album included “I Know Him So Well”, a duet sung with Elaine Paige. The song was a worldwide hit, and remained at number one in the UK Singles Chart for four weeks. It is still cited in the Guinness World Records as the best-selling female duet of all-time.
28th August – THE MERRY WIDOW
On the stage – for five days – THE MERRY WIDOW – (German: Die lustige Witwe) is an operetta by the Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár. The librettists, Viktor Léon and Leo Stein, based the story on an 1861 comedy play, L’attaché d’ambassade (The Embassy Attaché) by Henri Meilhac, concerning a rich widow, and her countrymen’s attempt to keep her money in the principality by finding her the right husband
The operetta has enjoyed extraordinary international success since its 1905 premiere in Vienna and continues to be frequently revived and recorded. Film and other adaptations have also been made. Well-known music from the score includes the “Vilja Song”, “Da geh’ ich zu Maxim” (“You’ll Find Me at Maxim’s”), and the “Merry Widow Waltz”.
It first played Southampton at the Empire in 1932 where it enjoyed two professional productions. The Gaumont hosted 4 amateur performances of the operetta, two of which were by Southern Theatre Productions which produced this first staging at the Mayflower.