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REVIEW: Ben E King, Assembly Hall, Worthing

Ben E. King delighted the audience at the Assembly Hall in Worthing on Friday

Ben E. King delighted the audience at the Assembly Hall in Worthing on Friday

  • by John Hammond
 

THE term ‘legend’ is much over-used but Worthing was graced with the presence of two, truly legendary soul singers on Friday night - Ben E. King and Jimmy James, of Jimmy James and the Vagabonds fame.

James’ effortless yet commanding vocals were superb. Before singing Smokey Robinson’s My Girl, he said he might ‘mess it up’ – no chance! In fact, it was impossible to think he’d ever got a song wrong in his life!

The sold-out Assembly Hall may be a seated venue but there was plenty of “pseudo dancing” in the form of wiggling in chairs early on, and a few ‘rebels’ dancing in the aisles – but James brought most people (there are always one or two die-hards refusing to budge) to their feet in his second set with Hold Back the Night.

King got people’s vocal participation going, particularly with The Drifters’ hit, Under The Boardwalk – which he considered ‘one of the greatest sing-along songs of all time’.

He moved on with hits from his solo career, including the first he had after leaving The Drifters, Spanish Harlem, and the song most fans would have wanted to hear, Stand By Me.

Then a soul fan’s dream – both King and James together on stage and their rendition of Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World.

A fabulous night for seat wigglers, aisle dancers and the ‘I’ve paid for this seat and I’m not moving’ alike.

 

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