REVIEW: Blues On The Farm – Friday, near Chichester.

On the beautiful (late) summer’s night it deserved, Blues On The Farm roared back to life with a terrific night for lovers of the blues in all its forms.

And what a relief it was. It really hasn’t been the best of summers.

July saw the Real Ale and Jazz take a year’s break; August then saw the Chichester Festivities sink without trace after failing to refloat its postponed boat.

Thank heavens then for Blues On The Farm, our September saviours - an event clearly capable of withstanding anything that foul weather and an even fouler economy can throw at it.

After being washed off the calendar in June, it’s to director Julian Moores’ and his team’s huge credit that they came back with a bang, hastily rearranged, with most of their glittering programme still intact and with all the gaps filled by performers at least the equal of those left behind.

It would have been a tragedy if The Blues Band hadn’t been able to make the new dates; but make them they did, and they delivered in style, with a fine set which showcased each of the band’s rich line-up in turn, but still gave plenty of space for the incomparable Paul Jones to sparkle.

Whether singing or playing the harmonica in a way no one else can, Jones held his audience in the palm of his hand – the most engaging of showmen with the surest of instincts when it comes to working the crowds.

The Blues Band’s stellar line-up allows them to vary their tempo, their style and their vocals – and on Friday they played beautifully to their strengths.

Following them on stage was the much more full-on, full-blooded blues of King King, with Alan Nimmo in full, powerful flow, punchy and brilliant, backed up by some terrific work on keyboards.

Earlier in the evening, a solid set from Errol Linton had set it all up nicely.

Phil Hewitt