Mike Sanchez * * * * *
at Huntingdon Hall, Worcester
Review by John Phillpott
Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard got married, had a son . . . and they called him Mike Sanchez.
Physical impossibility? Of course. But pause for a moment and try to offer an alternative explanation to the phenomena that is the Bewdley boogie boy. And just imagine what might turn up if you ran a DNA test – why, there would also be a hint of Screaming Jay Hawkins, a sliver of Albert Ammons . . . plus a very large chunk of Pinetop Smith in this particular gene bank of fossil rock.
Sanchez was born in Worcestershire of Spanish extraction, yet his soul is trapped in the jukejoints of Kansas City. He was the schoolboy hard man who rose above the petty rivalries of the Kidderminster playground, sold his soul to a devil called rhythm and blues . . . and went on to become Britain’s finest exponent of what is a actually a relatively obscure and regional American music form. And you’d better believe it – for he does Fats Domino better than Fats Domino.
A Sanchez concert never disappoints and this barn-storming tribute to piano-driven blues was no exception. The keys took savage punishment right from the start, with their tormentor soon sweating profusely as he pub-crawled from one 1950s KC dive to another.
Heaven knows what his cleaning bill’s like, but when he says "let the good times roll" it’s best to do as he says. For no one is ever allowed to forget that they are under the command of the big bossman himself. Lord have double mercy . . .
His band – all seasoned Midlands bluesers with impeccable credentials – backed their leader with taste and finesse, never once failing to hit the spot, authentically recreating the sounds of a vintage American Saturday night out.
"Boogie" has become a much-misused term in recent years. But Worcester witnessed the real thing in action, thanks to a man whose fingers feel the pulse of one of popular music’s most defining, vibrant and exciting forms.