BERNIE MARSDEN’S: S.O.S Old Diggers, hipperlham

“BEAR IN mind this is the first date we’re doing, we’ve still gotta get a few things in proper shape.” Bernie looked a little worried as we sat in the hotel restaurant before the show (couldn’t think of a better way to avoid Angelwitch’s set!), but he needn’t have been concerned. S.O.S. are, you see, truly fab sir! New vocalist Tommy Jackson (ex-Turbo) is an affable Glaswegian with a strong voice that takes a little getting used to, but by the second number ‘Give Me All Your Love’ – -the highlight of the show – he’d won everyone over.

Marsden’s songwriting, before overshadowed a little by Mr. Coverdale who seemed to be able to turn all songs into long, rambling blues exercises, is now showing its true colours. He’s found a harder edge, whilst retaining the subtlety his songs are renowned for, a good example being the opener ‘Liar’ which took me by surprise with its sheer power.

But what really hits home is the sheer enjoyment exuding from the hallowed stage. Somebody remarked to me that the only way to
get an audience on their feet is to have a good time up on the stage yourself, and I don’t mean pretend, it’s got to be for real. S.O.S. were for real and the very fact communicated itself to an audience that for its size made an awful lot of noise. One more thing in their favour is that despite Marsden’s established position as a ‘guitar hero’ (!). there were no drawn out solo’s. Pity really, I could go on listening to that man forever!

Anyway, this band is going places. I’m sending out an S. O. S to all you headbangers to get along and see them, you know it makes sense.


JULY 1982

Reading Review SEP 1982

S.O.S., following the not so amicable departure of vocalist Tommy Jackson, are still fighting fit and rarin’ to go (or whatever it is they say in those circles), with new throat strainer,

Robert Hawthorn, formerly with Last Flight II think), ideally suited to Marsden’s bluesy style,

I’ve seen the band three times now, and they just seem to get better and better. No highlight, everything was on par with everything, and that was ‘par excellence’. ‘If Loving You Is Wrong I Don’t Want To Be Right’, is a beautiful ballad, gleaned from the unlikely source of Millie Jackson, while a storming version of ‘Come On’ was considerably enhanced by the arrival of Mick Moody in casual dress.

By this time the entire audience had given up trying to catch piles from the wet turf, and was on its feet to offer the victory salute. Marsden, obviously incredibly moved by this show of appreciation from the out-front hordes merely grinned, said ‘thank you’ politely and wandered off stage to prop up the corner of the bar in the beer tent. Needless to say, S.O.S. were brilliant.

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