Saturday 31st March saw the 50th anniversary of Geno Washington playing the legendary Manchester club The Twisted Wheel, so what better way to celebrate than by bringing the great man back.
The Twisted Wheel now has a new home in the Night People club on Princess Street and tonight its packed out, with many of the crowd having danced at the original club.
With top Northern Soul DJ Pete Roberts on the decks there was plenty of dancing even if space was at a premium.
Dead on 9 o’clock the Ram Jam Band sauntered on stage and after a bit of banter with the crowd launched into a bluesy jam before star of the show Geno Washington took centre stage.
At 74 years old Geno has had a long and varied career since leaving the US Airforce, in the early sixties he played in various bands before joining what was to become the Ram Jam Band. The sixties was the bands most successful period with two top ten albums and a large following mainly due to Geno’s energetic stage show. By the end of the sixties the band had split and Geno returned to America where he dropped out of music for a while to study hypnotism before offers to reform the band pulled him back.
Tonight the man immortalised in song by Dexy’s Midnight Runners is in top form and launches straight into Stevie Wonder’s Up Tight followed by I Feel Good. The five piece Ram Jam Band including Steve Bingham on bass, formally of chart topping band The Foundations, are as tight and sharp as you would expect of a band that has been together since 2005 and gig constantly. The set consists a selection of soul classics given Geno’s interpretation, with James Brown, Arthur Conley and Eddie Floyd songs all making an appearance, showing what a strong versatile voice Geno has.
Despite the lack of room in the packed out club, the crowd are doing their best to dance and the whole place is rocking along with the band. There is no room for Geno’s own songs tonight in a set that has a more bluesy than soul feel, but the crowd love it and the set ends with Jumping Jack Flash and finally the Blues Brothers Everybody, Needs Somebody leaving Geno and the crowd exhausted
Despite his age Geno has proved he can rock with the best of them as tonight’s show proved and I would urge anyone who wants to see a great live show to catch Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band at one of there many gigs, they are fantastic!