This is the Trojan Horses first gig in two years and the rapidly filling Gershwin room at the Espy is enjoying the warm Summer evening that is the perfect accompaniment to the band's lilting Ska beats. Most of the band members take turns on lead vocals, injecting their own unique styles into each track, they're sharp, tight and from the crowd's reaction, obviously sorely missed in their absence.
Ernest Ranglin is a legend you've probably never heard of, at a ripe old age of 75, this small and wisened Jamaican still has the ability to pull the punters worldwide and woo a crowd a third of his age. He's played with some of the greatest names in Jamaican music including Prince Buster, The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, The Skatellities and countless more as a session guitarist extraordinaire. His playing style is simply unique, unreplicated by any other guitar player in the world and instantly recognisable. He takes the dominant off beat of Ska and Reggae music and effortlessly weaves lilting jazz rhythms and melodies over it. He can barely be seen over the heads of the crowd, he rarely moves, speaks or changes his nonchalant facial expression, unyet his creaking fingers glide around the fingerboard, pulling out licks and progressions that consistently garner expressions of amazement and awe from the entire venue, even the members of his band look surprised by some of the tricks he pulls off. His backing band are also an amazing group of musicians, led by infamous Melbourne Saxophonist Adam Simmons they provide a brick solid backing to Ranglin, which considering they probably only had a couple of rehearsals together to cover a repertoire of over forty years is no mean feat. Ernest and his band play a set of new songs, covers and classics from his solo material including the seminal 'Below the Bass line√Æ album, everyone in the room is experiencing an amazing event as familiar and unfamiliar melodies fill the air, melodies that tickle the ears, twang the heartstrings and lift a smile from even the most frowning faces. Ernest Ranglin is a legend and no one can quite believe he's even here, but we're certainly glad he is.
Published in InPress