Jimmy Payne Live

First published in Country Music People, April 1978

The Stanley House Ballroom, Chatham
February 28, 1978

I’m not sure whether it was because it was a Tuesday night or due to the complete lack of publicity, but Jimmy Payne’s last show of his short British tour at the Stanley House Ballroom Chatham only attracted around 150 people. Due to kick-off at 8pm, it was closer to 8.30 when the show finally got under way in a rather disorganised state which pervaded the whole of the evening’s introductions, but luckily did not affect the quality or standard of the music. 

Kelvin Henderson’s Country Band opened the show and, as ever, came across with a wonderfully tight musical performance that never put a foot wrong in a programme that veered from the familiar The Race Is On with crisp lead guitar from Larry Newman, to the more obscure Victim Of Life’s Circumstances. The middle segment of their act spotlighted the excellent BLACK MAGIC GUN LP and featured Tom T. Hall’s Pamela Brown, West Texas Country–Western Dance Band and Kelvin’s own Big Wheel. 

Surprisingly Guy Clark’s L.A. Freeway came over even better ‘live’ with Kelvin punching and sweating out each line like a true cowboy. All too soon it was time for them to finish and they couldn’t have chosen better than Lee Clayton’s Ladies Love Outlaws. 

Following a confused introduction, special guest Cash McCall took to the stage with a quiet and subdued act which contrasted nicely with Kelvin’s. He opened with two Eddy Arnold hits, Just A Little Lovin’ and I’ll Hold You In My Heart, with his light tenor voice blending well with the Dobro backing. It’s been some fourteen years since Cash was one of the most popular acts on the domestic country scene, but this short spot showed that he could come back strongly. Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and backed by mandolin on Kristofferson’s Loving Her Was Easier and banjo on a self-penned gospel tune, he captivated the audience with his slightly old-fashioned style and gentlemanly charm. 

After a short interval it was time for Jimmy Payne’s portion of the show. After a shaky start, which didn’t bode very well, vocally speaking, he suddenly clicked into gear. Jimmy’s a confident, competent, consummate performer who knows how to structure a set and give an audience what they want. 

Once he was on his ‘home straight’ with Ride Me Down Easy, Amanda and Ramblin’ Man, he was kicking home the winning goals, song after song. His own, like She’s Free, But She’s Not Easy and Feeling The Weight Of My Chains came across as strongly as the well-known standards that litter his act. 

And then all too quickly it was over. All over that is apart from the encore. From the ebullient response at the end of Sweet Fantasy there was no way any of the audience were about to leave without one. Jimmy obliged with the old Drifters’ hit, Save The Last Dance For Me, which neatly ran into Crystal Chandeliers to send the patrons home happy. And that, friends, is what it is all about!