Face the music and dance at St Albans blues night

PUBLISHED: 15:42 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 May 2010

NEW ORLEANS diva Lillian Boutte, who played the Maltings Arts Theatre in St Albans on Saturday night, knows how to shake her booty. But the truly amazing thing is that she got most of the audience up dancing too. I have been to several live music gigs at

NEW ORLEANS diva Lillian Boutte, who played the Maltings Arts Theatre in St Albans on Saturday night, knows how to shake her booty.

But the truly amazing thing is that she got most of the audience up dancing too.

I have been to several live music gigs at this venue and you always get a few people up but the majority keep their bottoms firmly glued to the chairs.

Backed by an impressive quartet with two outstanding soloists guitarist Denny Ilett and pianist Tom Pilling, she delivered an inspirational set including Cry For me, Storeyville and a very moving testament to the suffering experienced by Louisiana folk when Hurricane Katrina struck called New Orleans 2005.

Lillian's lively humour was shown off to advantage with the Irma Thomas song You Can Have My Husband But Please Don't Mess With My Man.

Her style could be described as a mixture of blues, gospel, r'n'b and jazz but she could sing the telephone directory and make it rock.

The warmth she exuded on stage could have fired up the National Grid but instead it turbo-charged people to get up (or do I mean down) and boogie for Britain!

Alana Crowdy on upright bass and Daisy Palmer (how great to see a female drummer) completed the superb line-up which turned a damp evening into a sultry night in New Orleans.

I sincerely hope plans to turn The Maltings into a mini-cinema do not prevent live gigs of this nature happening in the future as they offer St Albans folk a chance to see the finest the blues world has to offer without travelling into London.

I hear rumblings already that the promoters may be priced out of the market and forced to look elsewhere for cheaper venues. That really would be sad.

MARY BROSNAN


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