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Kossoff - The Band Plays On
The Half Moon, Putney, London
Thursday 23rd February 2017
24th February 2017

metal talk
Words: Steve Göldby, Pictures: Ferenc Collins


Terry Slesser has put together a fine ensemble of high-calibre musicians to pay tribute to the legendary Free guitarist Paul Kossoff who tragically passed away on a flight from Los Angeles to New York in 1976 at the tender age of 25 and it's due to Terry's efforts that Kossoff's music lives on and remains as valid today as it ever was.

Billed as Kossoff - The Band Plays On, this is not your regular 'tribute' act as Terry was vocalist in Kossoff's post-Free outfit Back Street Crawler for their entire lifespan. Koss had taken that ill-fated flight to deliver the master tapes for Back Street Crawler's second album, '2nd Street', while Terry stayed on in LA and 'Blue Soul' is the only track aired from that opus tonight and it's one of the standout songs of the whole evening.


From Back Street Crawler's 1975 debut album, 'Stealing My Way', 'Train Song' and title track 'The Band Plays On' are all given a welcome workout and all shine and to add some perspective to that, these choice cuts were aired alongside Free and Bad Company classics such as 'The Stealer', 'Wishing Well', 'The Hunter' and 'All Right Now', all of which were saved until the end.

Guitarist John Buckton has them all down to an absolute tee and that's no huge surpise when you consider that Free drummer Simon Kirke said: "If Free were to reform, John would be my first choice as guitarist."


MetalTalk spoke to Simon recently on the eve of the release of his new album and you can see what 'All Because Of You' is all about, as well as enjoying the video interview right here. Simon tells a tremendous anecdote involving Paul Kossoff at the fifteen minute mark.

But back to John Buckton and he's captured the soul and rawness of Koss' playing and a large part of that is that 'less is more', or to quote great British bluesman Alexis Korner, "Kossoff knew not to play too many notes and knew how to use silence". Koss had his own unique and standout style and it lives on in John Buckton's fretboard.


Also included in the line-up are former UFO, Wild Horses, Uli Jon Roth and Pat Travers drummer Clive Edwards who puts in a sterling and flawless performance, as does highly respected keyboard player Mark Taylor who has shared stages with Elton John, Simple Minds and The Alarm.

Clive's cousin is Status Quo bass player John 'Rhino' Edwards who guested on two Free classics in the second set, 'I'm A Mover' and 'Mr Big'. Rhino was clearly having a ball as the two Edwards' whipped up a storm while frontman Terry knows how to captivate an audience and he's got some seriously entertaining anecdotes in his armoury which are all delivered with style and panache.


Paul Kossoff was revered by those who knew him and by fans alike and his music shone through tonight, along with his personality, all brought to life on a night of sheer quality after England had been battered by extreme weather throughout the day. Fears that numbers would be down due to Storm Doris were soon swept away and the band proceeded to create their own hurricane.

Yes indeed, the band plays on, hopefully in America later in the year as the States needs to see this tremendous and heartwarming act. MetalTalk will be talking with Terry Slesser in the coming days so watch out for that because his is a story you will be captivated by.


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Fire And Water
Train Song
Stealing My Way
I'll Be Creeping
Long Way Down
Blue Soul
Molten Gold
Songs Of Yesterday
Ride On Pony

Second Set:
The Band Plays On
Be My Friend
I'm A Mover (with Rhino Edwards)
Mr Big (with Rhino Edwards)
My Brother Jake
The Stealer
All Right Now
Wishing Well
The Hunter

Confirmed tour dates:
Saturday 25th February: Leos Red Lion, Gravesend, Kent
Thursday 6th April: Customs House, South Shields
Thursday 28th September: The Half Moon Putney, London
Friday 29th September: Leos Red Lion, Kent

Promoters and venues can book the show via the band's official website contact page here.

Steve Göldby's Heavy Metal Chronicles, 2008 - 2017

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