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Cockney Joe still loves Ossie folk

JOE Brown has been around for ever. If Cliff Richard is the Peter Pan of pop then Joe Brown is undoubtedly its dad.

JOE Brown
JOE Brown

JOE Brown has been around for ever. If Cliff Richard is the Peter Pan of pop then Joe Brown is undoubtedly its dad.

He was having hit records before the Beatles and the Rolling Stones left school and he still manages to look younger than them all.

His cheeky cockney humour has won him fans young and old.

Part of his longevity is down to his philosophy of life: "I enjoy what I do and love performing. If I ever got tired of it I'd retire but as long as I'm enjoying myself then I'll carry on.''

Born on 13 May 1941 in Lincolnshire, his parents moved to London's East End when he was very young.

Joe began his musical career like so many of his generation as a member of a skiffle group.

In 1960 he formed Joe Brown and The Bruvvers and had numerous top ten chart hits, including the best-known, Picture of You.

His natural ability with the guitar made him popular both with his audience and other musicians who wanted him to back them.

He's worked with some of the all-time rock 'n' roll greats including Johnny Cash, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran, names that will mean very little to people under 30 but rock 'n' roll royalty for anyone around during the 50s and 60s.

One of the things that has kept him excited over the years is the opportunity to sample different styles of music.

In the early Seventies he formed the acclaimed "Brown's Home Brew'' which included his late wife Vicki and Joe Fagin. Their music was a mixture of country rock and gospel.

Later he travelled to Nashville where his song-writing talents are widely known and still frequently used.

So, when people go to see his shows they don't just get treated to some of his rock 'n' roll hits, they get gospel, acapella, country, some old standards and even some Cajun-style music.

He says: "I like to keep all the different styles in the live shows. Of course there'll be some of the old hits but we like to make it really varied.''

Joe's chart career is probably over (he last charted in 1973), but he is now loved as much for his personality as his music.

It may even be that Joe's cockney humour has reduced his credibility as a serious musician, but he is undoubtedly one of the greatest, and certainly one of the most enduring, of the popular guitarists to have emerged from the 1960s.

Along with touring, Joe can also be seen in the forthcoming tribute film to George Harrison, a lifelong friend since the days when the Beatles were the opening act for Joe. George was actually best man at Joe's wedding.

So what keeps Joe rocking? "I've never had a grand plan, I just do what I feel is right at the time and right now I'm loving performing.''

He performs over 200 live shows each year and has been to Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre many times, adding: "I feel like I've been coming to Oswaldtwistle forever but I still look forward to the reception I get. I love music and I love doing the shows.''

Joe Brown is appearing at Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre on Thursday.


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