WHEN Liane Carroll is on stage, one thing is guaranteed above all else. Fun – and massive doses of it. She was born to entertain and boy does she deliver in spades.
Appearing at the 606 Club in London’s Chelsea on Sunday night (January 20) – one of her favourite venues – she had the sell-out audience in the palm of her hand as she took them on a magical musical tour.
Everything from a jaunty version of Morecambe & Wise’s Bring Me Sunshine (surely Carroll’s signature tune) through to a tender I Say A Little Prayer (Burt Bacharach), Lou Reed’s funky Walk On The Wild Side, and dollops of Tom Waits (Take Me Home Silly Boy, Take It With Me and Picture In A Frame).
Something for everyone. Something to jog the memory (Joni Mitchell’s epic Big Yellow Taxi), stir the emotions (Ray Charles’ You Don’t Know Me) or to sing along to and smile (Carole King’s You’ve Got A Friend). Only the opener, Almost Like Being In Love, and Bring Me Sunshine were taken from her much acclaimed 2015 album Seaside.
Whether she was alone on stage with just her piano for support, or ably assisted by Loz Garratt (bass), the superlative Russell Field (drums) and 606’s Steve Rubie (flute), she commanded all the attention. Constantly cajoling, teasing, improvising and encouraging. Sometimes naughty (she tells a good dirty joke) and occasionally melancholic as she dedicated Shirley Horn’s Here’s To Life to her late mother.
A night without a thread (other than her love of the chosen songs) as Carroll jumped one minute from Lady And The Tramp to ‘Ol Man River, then Donald Fagen’s Walk Between Raindrops to Nina Simone’s Sinnerman, and finally Bye Bye Blackbird to Picture In A Frame. Chalk followed by cheese. Marvellous.
Only Carroll could get away with it, aided by her wonderful voice, her unique interpretation of classic songs, and mastery of the piano.
In these difficult times, Carroll is like a breath of fresh air. A force for good. Refreshingly honest and direct. Always smiling. A shining beacon in stormy seas. A lighthouse.