Richard Smith Concert
Our club was very honoured that Globe Trotting super guitarist Richard Smith managed to come and play for us in November. During the past year he has played in five continents – North and South America (including Brazil), Europe, Asia (including China and Japan) and Australia. He began his current One Man Roadshow (the title of his latest cd) tour of England, Scotland and Germany on October 2nd and flew back to Nashville after a concert the following day.
We were pleased to have the mayor of Bognor Regis, Councillor Phil Woodhall and his mother come to the concert. Bognor Town Council is very supportive of our club and they were made very welcome. The audience were treated to an eclectic mix of unmatched guitar playing skills covering all genres of the instrument. Richard has shown that he at the top of his profession whether he is playing classical, jazz, evergreens or pop. He works out such rich harmonies to accompany his arrangements and will go to any lengths just to find a note or chord he needs – darting up to the 15th fret and back in just a nanosecond in order to achieve the flavour he wants.
We heard classical pieces including El Relicario, Variations on the Magic Flute, Barrios’s Danza Paraguay and Requiem for a Marionette. There was ragtime with Joplin’s Entertainer, stride piano with James P Johnson’s Snowy Morning Blues. We heard some amazing jazz improvisations in Sweet Georgia Brown and Stomping at the Savoy. There were evergreens like Georgia on my Mind, Tenderly, Girlfriend of the Whirling Dervish, and Polka Dots and Moonbeams. Country guitar was fulfilled with pieces by Jerry Reed and the Streets of Laredo and Cherokee Shuffle. Pop pieces were covered by the Beatles’ Here There and Everywhere, Spanish Flea and Music to Watch Girls Go By. Richard even sang a couple of hilarious songs for us – a parody of Sukiyaki which involved Richard eating Yuckie Sushi and a faithful reproduction of the Tennessee Waltz which he heard originally played on his grandfather’s old jumpy wind up 78rpm Edison Victrola. We were introduced to Hawaiian Slack Key tuning whereby with a one finger barre we could play almost any pop music without the need for all this practising! In total we heard 27 pieces played at the highest level of dexterity and musicality. Small wonder then that Richard received a standing ovation at the end. My favourite must be Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever where Richard covered a full marching band of brass and woodwind including a piccolo, but many instruments were somehow played simultaneously. We had a fun evening, but above all the playing was at a top level
and truly unbelievable. Not only was Richard’s left foot keeping time throughout the concert, the audience’s feet were also tapping along.