I fell in with a bad crowd last night. I went out for a quiet pint after a long afternoon spent marvelling at Nicklas Bendtner's inability to hit a barn door but ended up crawling home some time around 2.30 a.m. after an evening spent in the company of Van Morrison, Roy Orbison, Meat Loaf, the singer with the pony-tail from the Commitments and Mr F.
Apart from Mr F, all of these people were in fact one man: Iain Sparks, who didn't let the scruffy surroundings (The Misty Moon public house in Bethnal Green) and the paltry crowd prevent him from putting on a barn-storming performance. We certainly appreciated him greatly, as did the hairy individual behind us who kept handing him pages torn from a notebook on which he had rather sweetly scrawled "BAT OUT OF HELL PLEASE".
There were two real highlights of the show. The first was his Roy Orbison set. Roy is not the easiest man to do well - most attempts to do so end disastrously - but Iain really nailed him. Even the dodgy wig added to rather than detracted from the effect.
The second highlight was the two songs at the end of his Van Morrison/ Commitments set, which were very much in the Van/ blue-eyed soul style. I did not recognise them so asked Iain about them during his break. They were compositions of his own, which are available only a mini-album which he sells at gigs or via his website (where you also get CDs and DVDs of him as Van, Roy and others).
Having listened the CD today I'm pleased to say the two songs - "Play Me Some Music" and "Knockin'" - sound just as good when sober. The other tracks are in the same style (and if "Meet Me By The Moonlit River" isn't a lost Van song title I don't know what it is). They certainly deserve to be heard by a larger and more appreciative audience than was available in the Misty Moon last night.
So with Iain's kind permission, here is my favourite. If you like it - and why wouldn't you? - why not invest in a CD either via the website or by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Knockin'" - Iain Sparks
You have probably already guessed who are coming next:
Is it just me or does Ron look rather chirpier than normal? He even moves his lips at one point.