ERIC Bell, one of the founders of 1970s Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, is like a Duracell battery. He keeps on going – and (thankfully) there is no sign that he has any intention of giving up despite advancing years (he won’t like me saying this, but he’s now in his early 70s).
Touring for most of this year, Eric popped up at the Winnersh Royal British Legion Social Club in Berkshire on Saturday night (February 26) to give the audience a masterclass in how to play the electric guitar. Accompanied by Alan Niblock on bass and Romek Parol on drums, he demonstrated that his love affair with his 51 year old Fender Stratocaster is as strong as ever. Their relationship is rock solid. Long may it continue.
The night was far from being a tribute to Phil Lynott’s Thin Lizzy. Although there was a rousing Whisky In The Jar and Look What The Wind Blew In, this was more about Bell’s love of blues, rock and Irish music. And of course the love of his Fender that at times he got to purr like a contented cat.
There were tributes to Hank Marvin (the instrumental Sleepwalk) and guitarist Gary Moore (Song For Gary, written by Bell from the heart and tenderly played) who also played for Thin Lizzy, but not at the same time as Bell. Moore died aged just 58. ‘Hope we meet again,’ said Bell. Again, straight from the heart.
Bell’s love of Ireland shines through in his lyrics. This was most evident on blues number Wasn’t Born In The Delta – and a delicate Irish Boy (all about a boy in his late teens finding his way in life).
With songs including Parchman Farm infused with lashings of Niblock’s bass guitar, an upbeat Rip It Up (accompanied by clapping from the well behaved audience), and a subdued (and sublime) Gotta Say Bye Bye, this was a night for lovers of blues, rock and electric guitars.
Bell goes under the radar of many music lovers who missed out on the music of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Although his Thin Lizzy connection will always guarantee him a following, there’s much more to this extraordinarily gifted guitarist and songwriter than whisky and jars. Just check out his latest albums Exile and Standing At A Bus Stop.
Those who want to find out more should visit eric-bell.net. Those who live in Berkshire and love live music should visit wokinghammusicclub.co.uk.