TOM Seals was born to entertain. He’s got fingers that extract extraordinary sounds out of a piano, he possesses a super voice, and he’s got a big personality. No wonder, he’s regularly compared with the mighty Jools Hollands. He’s boogie-woogie on acid.
Although the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has disrupted his touring, Seals is not a person who is easily beaten. So, in recent weeks he’s taken to playing live from his Mum’s back garden in Crewe, much to the amusement and bemusement of neighbours.
With a gazebo presumably to protect him and his band from the rain (it rains a lot in Crewe), the sessions have framed a weekly ‘In Isolation’ show, available via YouTube. A little over 30 minutes in length, they’re fun, full of music, laced with dollops of Tom’s humour, and include the odd catch-up with friends. Yes, bite-size compared to the usual Tom Seals live experience, but uplifting all the same. A bit like sorbet in between courses – both refreshing and delicious.
Last Monday’s ‘In Isolation’ (June 8) saw Tom in terrific form in his Mum’s back garden, with Neil ‘Kegsy’ McCallum on drums and Chris Cliff on bass guitar. The appetizer was a sparkling cover of Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely. We then saw Tom catch up with Daisy Wood-Davis (ex-Holby City and Hollyoaks) who until lockdown had been appearing in musical Beautiful as Carole King – a musical based around the live and songs of King.
It was then time for Tom to introduce his special garden guest, the irrepressible Jim Kirkpatrick (a Cheshire man through and through) armed with his mighty guitar and a rendition of the title track from his forthcoming album Ballad Of A Prodigal Son (officially released in early September). We were also treated to a version of Jim’s 2006 blues classic Full Time Occupation which I imagine could be heard as far away as Nantwich. ‘It’s all about sweet love and job satisfaction,’ boomed Jim. The neighbours looked on and smiled.
A pre-recorded duet with Sarah Jane Morris followed (ex-Communards and Don’t Leave Me This Way) – an exquisite cover of Nina Simone’s I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free that raised the hairs on the back of everyone’s necks (neighbours included). Given the two of them have yet to meet in the flesh, it was powerful stuff.
The half-hour vignette (36 minutes to be precise) was brought to a conclusion with Tom and Jim thoroughly enjoying themselves on Take A Look At Yourself – all fingers and vocals.
Monday’s ‘In Isolation’ features amongst others Matt Lucas. Like last Monday’s show, it could be another scream. Catch it on YouTube. Residents of Crewe should merely open their windows and listen.