AUTHOR: TONY GLYNN - North Devon Journal
PUBLISH DATE:  15 November 2012

Chris Farlowe and the Norman Beaker Band.

ONE massive Sixties hit defines this man to most and, with respect to Chris Farlowe, that song is probably bigger than him. As a true pop classic it seems to grow in stature as the years pass, and has been covered by a veritable shed-load of artists.

As a relative youngster who wasn't around in those crazy times, I turned up at the
Plough merely to see a rendition of this giant track by the real-life man who originally sang it, in the flesh. Ignorantly, I only came for this one song.

Shame on me, for I was taught the valuable lesson that this superstar is no flash in the pan. He may have had his share of luck in life (amazing voice, hence big hits being written for him), but he has more than matched his luck with effort.

X-Factor may churn out one-hit wonders, but this is someone who grafts for his recognition. How do I know this? Because Chris Farlowe is 72 and still tours worldwide, and backing musicians The Norman Beaker Band are no spring chickens either.

Mind you, you would be forgiven for thinking that Chris and his boys have been bathing in ass's milk for the last 50 years, for they exert the youthful exuberance of teenagers.

The crowd (again, no spring chickens – sorry!) were dancing in the aisles to blues, soul and pop faves such as
"Stormy Monday" and "Handbags and Gladrags". (Incidentally, the latter was Chris Farlowe's song long before Rod Stewart and Stereophonics got their mitts on it: another lesson for me.)

The banter between songs (and sometimes during) via Chris, Norman Beaker and the audience, belied a determination to make and perform music while facing old age and an increasingly shallow industry that favours image over sound. Bizarrely, the 1960s saw the birth of manufactured pop – and Farlowe's image was as important as any back then.

Nowadays, he more than demonstrates the substance behind the style.
Out Of Time he certainly ain't. As of now, that track won't be the only thing I remember him for.