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Chas & Dave & Joe Brown at Birmingham Town Hall

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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London legends bring Cockney charm to Brum
There's a Cockney conquest of Birmingham Town Hall for two nights in April.

Rockin' and Rollin': Joe Brown (pic: Judy Totton)

On Friday, April 5th Chas & Dave top the bill at the Birmingham City Centre venue and the following night, April 6th, veteran rock 'n' roller Joe Brown takes to the stage.

Both acts are enjoying renewed popularity. Chas & Dave, whose hits include Gertcha and Rabbit, were the subject of a recent acclaimed BBC4 documentary, Last Orders, with the likes of Jools Holland, Pete Doherty and Phill Jupitus paying tribute.

Waiting for last orders: Chas & Dave

Joe Brown, who had big sellers like A Picture Of You and That's What Love Will Do in the '60s, is attracting a new generation of fans thanks to his latest album of classic songs played on the ukulele. Where else could you find versions of Motorhead's Ace of Spades and the Who's Pinball Wizard on the same record as George Formby's When I'm Cleaning Windows? The Ukulele Album also features ELO's Mr Blue Sky, 10cc's I'm Not In Love and, Chas & Dave's There's No Pleasing You.

Joe says playing the Town Hall the night after Chas & Dave is coincidental but he will be amending his set-list because of it.
''I performed There's No Pleasing You on my last tour but to keep us all interested we've put five new songs into the set for this tour. To mark the fact that my mates Chas & Dave will have played Birmingham the night before me I'll be putting There's No Pleasing You back in for that show,'' he says.

He hopes Birmingham fans will also enjoy the songs penned by Brummie Jeff Lynne, Mr Blue Sky and Where Were You Last Night, originally recorded by The Travelling Wilburys Jeff, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty. ''They should go down well in Birmingham, Jeff's a great bloke,'' smiles 71-year-old Joe.

With a little ukulele in his hand: Joe Brown (pic: Judy Totton)

The increasing popularity of the ukulele prompted Joe to record the album but the instrument is not new to him. ''I was playing the uke when I was nine years-old,'' he reveals. ''The ukulele is very underrated, it has a good sound, a sound of its own.''

It also got him into trouble with the BBC. In 1963 Joe was one of the first artists to have a record banned by the Corporation, his version of George Formby's With My Little Ukulele In My Hand. ''It was full of innuendoes, which is why the BBC banned it,'' he smiles.

Joe Brown (pic: Judy Totton)
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Why? London legends at Birmingham Town Hall
When: April 5 & 6
Phone: 0121 345 0498
Where: Birmingham Town Hall
Cost: Chas & Dave 21.50/ 24.50 fees; Joe Brown 26 fees
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