It was back to "What's Cookin'" at the Sheep Walk in Leytonstone on Wednesday night to see a solo set from Pete Molinari. I had never heard of him before, but we went along because it was the last chance to get to a "What's Cookin'" night this year. I am very glad we did.
Pete does proper songs, with words and tunes and all that sort of vaguely unfashionable stuff. Some of them sound like they could have been written any time in the last 50 years, which is a compliment as far as I am concerned. He also has a nice line in cover versions, a number of which appear on his current EP "Today, Tomorrow And Forever", recorded in Nashville with the Jordanaires. The EP includes his version of the old Jim Reeves song "Guilty", which was one of the highlights of Wednesday's set. Other highlights included an impromptu Hank Williams medley for his final encore, an Italian number and a couple of his originals - "One Stolen Moment" and "I Don't Like The Man That I Am".
Pete appears to have two voices. The better, cleaner one has hints of Hank, Elvis and the Big O, which has got to be a good thing. The other one is a bit more nasal, and only appears to be used when he also plays the harmonica. Perhaps there is a Dylan default selection for harmonica players, or maybe they all sound nasal because they are out of breath by the time they start singing. Who knows?
Here are a couple of the highlights I have already mentioned:
"Guilty" - from "Today, Tomorrow And The Future" (2009); with the Jordanaires
"I Don't Like The Man That I Am" - from "A Virtual Landslide" (2008)
Here is the video for one of the othe highlights, "One Stolen Moment":
I mentioned Roy Orbison back there. I am indebted to my friend Steve for alerting me to this, er, "tribute" to the Big O:
I know, I'm spoiling you. But you deserve it.