Bobby Wellins/ Barry Green, National Theatre Foyer, 16th February

p1010095Is Bobby Wellins a national treasure? I’m prepared to concede that in terms of name recognition amongst the wider population, he may fall a little short. But on grounds of longevity, sheer quality and capacity to inspire and move and audience he should undoubtedly be on a shortlist somewhere. As a listening experience this gig was challenging. By the second set the theatre goers had packed out the bar and threatened to overwhelm the music, the first set was better, but the sound was not great (lots of concrete, three storey high atrium). Enough cut through to give tantalising glimpses. Wellins was not straying into any uncharted waters, but his feel, expression and embellishments of simple classic melodies was so full it had Barry grinning and the hairs on the back my neck standing. They closed the first set with ‘It never entered my mind’ and I’d swear there was a hush in the busy bar. If gutsy tenor on classic repoirtoire delivered with the full weight of a long, distinguished and occasionally turbulent career is your bag – then go seek Bobby Wellins out.

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