Sometimes you have some kind of mental block about something and you just don’t like it. It doesn’t matter how many times someone tells me that Rick Wakeman is the world’s greatest keyboard player or how brilliant Steve Howe is as a guitarist I’m always going to hate Yes because Jon Anderson, their king hippy lead singer, has a voice that sounds like a constipated pixie and they release albums called “Tales from Topographic Oceans”. Likewise Rush may have legions of fans that will tell you that their flamboyant drummer Neal Peart (a man who can’t even spell his first name) is a far better drummer than Keith Moon but sadly, I’m not going to believe you and I’m going to tell you that Rush are one of the worst bands on the planet with their pompous over egged sci-fi garbage and plastic heavy metal.
Likewise, I don’t really like trad-jazz, swing or barber shop quartets. Unfortunately Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra have all these features and so it doesn’t matter how slick their playing is or how oh-so-amusing their New Orleans corn-ball schmaltz is, I’m not going to like it. You can picture this band of brothers in their black tuxedos, pencil thin moustaches and their dickie bows with sweat streaming down their faces as they play some packed out dive somewhere near Macclesfield. They are authentic in a way but kind of empty and a bit nauseating. Their songs praise the wonder of coffee and bemoan that fact that their rich landlord has taken all their money and then they whinge about ‘too much junk on the radio and too much trash on TV’ and include other touches of America but as soon as you realise that they are English it all becomes a bit fake and unconvincing.
I could comment or their jaded playing and their lame scat singing but I won’t, I’ll just say that if you like New Orleansy twenties style trad-jazz mannered stylings that you’ll probably like this and might want to catch the band play live locally during a summer full of Newcastle appearances. However if, like me, you have a taste for something more authentic I’d give it a miss. They do what they do very well but it’s not really my cup of black coffee.
Reviewer: Greg Johnson