Stepping out of the sticky summer fug and into Soho’s legendary Ronnie Scott’s to see Texas launch their new album Red Book, I wasn’t expecting to be converted.
But I came away with a quasi-religious zeal that they are, quite simply, an incredible band.
If you have never been to Ronnie Scott’s, it looks like a Mafioso trattoria complete with red checked table cloths, fringed lamps and subdued lighting. But dodgy dcor aside, this jazz institution has hosted the world’s greatest musicians and the canny casting of Texas, as part of the same rank and file, showed that they are, in their own right, a supremely hard act to follow.
Lynch pin in the ensemble is the svelte and sexy Sharleen Spiteri who wowed the crowd from start to finish. “It’s like playing in my front room”, she beamed as soon as she walked on stage, guitar in hand, which set the scene for one of the best, most genuinely relaxed gigs I have ever been to.
Likewise the audience of invite-only fans, lapped up the two punchy new singles Getaway and What About Us (Dallas), both classy pop songs that are going to firmly push the band back into the nation’s consciousness. The dust was also shaken off the band’s golden oldies such as the passionate Halo, the soulful Black Eyed Boy and the pounding Summer Son, all of which were welcomed back with a series of whoops and hollers.
But it was Spiteri’s mesmeric duet with ’80s legend Paul Buchanan of Blue Nile fame, on the track Sleep, that really brought all of her talents to the floor. Singer, songwriter, pianist, performer, she is so easy to admire and has a soaring voice that is impossible to ignore and this track is one of Red Book’s stella hits.
Texas have been around since 1986 and their staying power is testimony to the authenticity of their music. There is no pouting, no preening, no effervescence of ego, just damn good tunes, played by damn good musicians and their new album is primed to be another success story for this outfit of Glaswegian revellers.