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Jubilee Concert: 1st Half (Live)

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Album Review

Recorded live in 1981, Lonnie Donegan's Jubilee Concert marked the 25th anniversary of his first hit single, "Rock Island Line," and sought to replicate, therefore, the mood and magic of a classic Donegan show from back in the day. The guest list was phenomenal, as Chris Barber, Ken Colyer, and Monty Sunshine, the very cream of the 1950s British trad jazz scene, stepped out to pay their own musical respects to the King. The 23-song set, meanwhile, covered most of the essential bases in Donegan's musical career, perhaps eschewing some of the more blatant novelty numbers in the catalog (no "My Old Man's a Dustman," for example) but making up for that with the sheer passion and energy that marked out "John Henry," "Tom Dooley," "Grand Coulee Dam," and so forth. Besides, a raucous "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight" surely sates any listener's desire for vaudevillian madness. Of course, Jubilee Concert is not a patch on a true vintage Donegan concert recording — no one should buy this in preference to the Conway Hall collection, for example. But, if you require proof that "old skifflers never die, they just keep on getting better" — it's a hard set to ignore.


Born: 29 April 1931 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Folk

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

To look at Lonnie Donegan today, in pictures taken 40 years ago when he was topping the British charts and hitting the Top Ten in America, dressed in a suit, his hair cut short and strumming an acoustic guitar, he looks like a musical non-entity. But in 1954, before anyone (especially anybody in England) knew what rock & roll was, Donegan was cool, and his music was hot. He's relatively little remembered outside of England, but Donegan shares an important professional attribute with Elvis Presley,...
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Jubilee Concert: 1st Half (Live), Lonnie Donegan
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