Slim Line Papas

Anchor Inn, Friskney ~ Sat 27 March 2004

A journey across the fenland area to the north of Boston last Saturday night led us to a venue that has recently been featuring in our weekly columns. Lying a couple of so miles of the A52 Boston - Skegness road is the small village of Friskney. At the heart of the village is the Anchor Inn, a family friendly village pub that puts live music on most Saturday nights. The warm bar with its fire complete with fireside cat and interesting old photos adorning the walls is warm and inviting especially after the dark Fenland roads. Lincoln band the Slim Line Papas had also made the journey to Friskney for the first time, arriving just a few minutes before us. They also feature regularly in our weekly articles, and though each of the three musicians in the band are well known to us after their work with the Hicksville Bombers, Walter Harpman Band, Peter Lee Farina's Triple Threat and The Hoax it was the first time we had caught them together as the Slim Line Papas. The bands play in the restaurant room which allows those who just want to go down to their local on a Saturday night for a chat aren't disturbed by the music.

The Slim Line Papas music is blues based but they do not rely on the standard style blues presentation, utilising the experience of Geordie Pete O'Brien who for many years worked in some of the UK's top rockabilly bands including The Hicksville Bombers, guitarist Egly Lucas and drummer Mark Barrett the Papas are an exciting and musically live accomplished live act.

The trio play mainly 50's style music blending elements of blues, rockabilly, rock'n'roll and even swinging jazz in their entertaining shows. Judging from the band's set list, their live shows don't follow a routine, the spontaneity of their live performances is not always enforced by problems such as a broken snare drum skin, but by the mood of the evening. The use of an old style microphone by O'Brien adds to the group's authentic retro sound, yet not all the songs were from that era, their version of T-Rex's 'Jeepster' was a surprising inclusion in the band's first set.

Double bass player Pete spent half time giving some impromptu music lessons, showing several members of the audience how to play 'slap' bass. They opened their second set with Wynonie Harris's song 'Bloodshot Eyes' before playing some 'low-down dirty' blues featuring Egly on slide guitar and harmonica. The broken snare took a couple of numbers to fix, but gave opportunity for O'Brien and Lucas to perform a fine version of 'Fever', with Pete adding a super fast verse that particularly pleased one member of their audience!

O'Brien's gymnastics on double bass and his song delivery added to the visual impact of the band. Often twirling or climbing on the impressive instrument, he also played it whilst lying on his back, like a guitar and overhead during the evening in true rockabilly style.

A number of the songs played during the evening including 'Goodnight Irene' and Louis Jordon's 'Is You Is' feature on the band's recently released CD 'As Good As Dead ...' which is available at the band's gigs. The Slim Line Papas are already booked to return to the Anchor Inn in May 7th, June 5th and November 13th, make a date now!