Gig review: Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes, Glasgow

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Looking around the walls of the Ferry and taking in the many posters for upcoming tribute acts, it seemed that long-established blues guitarist Albert Lee was in good company.

Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heroes - The Ferry, Glasgow

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There was something unashamedly old-fashioned about his set, a head-first dive into the good old days where a man might express his virility through the speed at which he throttles the fretboard into submission. With his freshly-shined brogues and flowing silver hair, the 69-year-old from Herefordshire was certainly steeped in old-time authenticity.

In his 53-year career on the road, Lee is perhaps best known as a guitarist with Head, Hands & Feet, Emmylou Harris and the Everly Brothers, as well as a friendly affiliation with Eric Clapton and a quarter of a century at the head of this group. Sadly his usual guitarist, sparring partner Gerry Hogan, was recovering from an operation and the Heroes were reduced to a backing trio for the occasion, but their sound was still notable not so much for the trad classicism of it as for the sheer invigorating energy of all concerned.

A bunch of classic styles and artists Lee has known and worked with were cycled through, from the crowd-pleasing appearance of the Traveling Wilburys’ Handle With Care and a burst of Clapton’s Layla at the end of Ray Charles’ Leave My Woman Alone, each played with an endearing grit and precision, while their were also some surprises with delicate, piano-led takes on Harris and Willie Nelson’s ‘Til I Gain Control Again and Glen Campbell’s A Better Place, and an appearance by Glasgow native Lonnie Donegan’s son Peter at the end.