Fox & Woolf take sixties British cool to the regions
The Who. The Beatles. The Kinks. The Rolling Stones. It’s the sound of Britain’s swinging sixties and, for millions of people the world over, the theme tune to their youth.
Kiwis might be grounded in New Zealand right now, but nothing is stopping them reliving some nostalgic British cool this month when Ray Woolf, The Rodger Fox Band and vocalist Erna Ferry tour The Hits from the Brits in Carterton, Palmerston North and Thames.
While Mr Woolf and Mr Fox have teamed up for the New Zealand public many times over the years, they’ve only trialled this brass immortalisation of the ‘British Invasion’ once, this time last year in Upper Hutt.
Fox says they’re keen to get it back on the road with a performance that really “captures the fresh, vibrant nature of these arrangements.”
Woolf is particularly looking forward to recapturing days gone by with hits that he’s been singing since he was a teenager. While many Kiwis consider him a national household name, the crooner who made his home in Northland decades ago is in fact an East End Brit.
“I was playing in pubs in the UK when I was thirteen” says the now 74-year-old who came to New Zealand with his family in 1962. “So, these British songs, they are a basic love. They’re where it all started for me and it will be great to sing them all again.
“From the one show we tried out last year before the first lockdown, I can guarantee that range of songs is fantastic and, consequently, the energy of the gig is too” says Woolf. “I urge them to let their hair down and join us for a great, late spring night out.”
The only mild concern Woolf has is around touring like he did in the old days: “Three shows in a row…It’s quite a haul for us old fellas so I’ll be doing a bit of working out before then!” he jokes.
Whether Woolf does actually hit the gym in coming weeks or not, Fox guarantees that he and the rest of the performers will look pretty sharp. Ferry, known for her powerful, soulful contralto voice, is also a talented seamstress with significant experience in operatic costume and stage sets. Naturally, she’s excited about wardrobe for the bold Brit themed tour.
“I’ve got twelve Union Jack flags which I’ve had in stock for some time. I got them out the other night and started working out what we’ll do with them to really bring the stage to life” says the Lulu fan, who also came up with the title for the show after working on a British Invasion theme for the local operatic society.
Fox says it’s great to see this coming together again after a year that has been touch and go to say the least: “I clearly remember last year when I coined the idea for this project. I was just browsing through the British material we had of this era, including Get Back, Satisfaction, and I started adding arrangements and components in that we didn’t have. Very quickly I sat back and said to myself, “Bloody hell, we’ve really got a show here!”
The Hits from the Brits story was featured in NZ Herald’s Waikato News, Manawatu Guardian, Stuff’s Hauraki Herald, Manawatu Standard / Enjoy , The Wairarapa Times Age/ Midweek. ,Coast FM and Coromandel CFM.