Magic Our Raymond (Froggatt)

Raymond Froggatt

Walker Theatre

Friday 18th May 2018

An evening in the company of the mercurial mind of Raymond Froggatt is an evening to be remembered. To spend time in the company of this doyen of pop music is both a privilege and a joy.

Pop sensation Raymond Froggatt came onto the stage to start the show and he appeared a little breathless. Had he run from the furthest dressing room, did the start of the show make him rush? One is unable to say he also seemed to be having trouble with his legs and occupied a seat for most of his performance. However enough of the health reports by his first song one had forgotten that he ever seemed so, as his understated vocals so easily took control of every song and turned it into an event.

Flanked by musicians that have been with him for life Raymond started to talk, in an interesting not showy way, of who he has written songs for in his long spanning, half century career. Val Doonigan, The Dave Clark Five, Sir Cliff Richard Tammy Wynette and Isaac Hayes have all been fortunate to have Raymond pen for them and his pen sure is golden.

With song after song of great melodies and supremely poetic lyrics it isn’t long before one is saying to oneself, “OK Mr. Froggy you got me.” But how can these amazing songs have come from this humble Brummie from Aston? The man is a genius that’s how.

With a delivery that one could liken to Bob Seeger, Joe Cocker and Captain Beefheart and a style that deliberately flirts within all genres; Raymond Froggatt is a completely unique one off. Yes we have had Brummie song writers before, yes they have been good but the difference is most pop songs appear to be great lyrics to a prosaic melody or vice versa, R.F. manages so skilfully and understatedly to combine both so one gets great melodies with such poetry.

It is almost there was a little bit of Raymond Froggatt in every drop of ink he uses and his lyricism is masterly.

Haunted with a silly name he explains it wasn’t for fun, it isn’t homage to Selwyn Froggatt (Bill Maynard) the 1970’s TV sit com hero, no it not because of him, it’s because he was born with it. Being a songwriter he didn’t see the relevance of changing his name and as Ozzie Osbourne’s Father said , it had to be real as you wouldn’t chose it!  That was on par with his other interesting stories talking about the people he has written for and how his life is reflected in so many of his words. The audience lapped it up and the whole experience became kind of intimate and intriguing.

He strikes one as someone you would like to meet down the pub and while away an hour or two. Some people on a level like Raymond has reached and occupied for years would be aloof and possibly arrogant; maybe it would even be forgiven. However the down to earth, take me as you find me approach that he has on stage, has endeared him to his fans old and new.

That is something else that strikes one about the unique troubadour and that is the fact that he still able to generate a new fan base. Some of the longer standing artists tend to rest on their laurels. Not this crew. The laurels that Mr. Froggatt may ultimately desire to rest on have not yet even grown. This guy will go on influencing others, writing for others and winning others over for years to come.

The band comprised of a very off piste, in a good way, Bassist, he didn’t just play the bass line he explored and it was good, with acoustic and electric guitars and a drummer it was an uncomplicated back line but that again was part of the charm of this special show.

One is always interested in seeing bands with the same backline as other bands,  yet  producing an individual and characteristic sound. It is fascinating. Of course the music and tempo can vary but with this traditional backline, it is astonishing to see what can be achieved.

Raymond Froggatt is a gem. He is a poet with a gossamer sensitivity that gives his work a quality that assures longevity …and so it should.

This is a Four Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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