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 Sarah James                       Gordon Russell 

Sarah James --- TWO TIMERS --- Gordon Russell

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May 8, 1997 - CLIFFS PAVILION, Maritime Rooms, WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA / UK

REVIEW 1

The TWO TIMERS have played at the 4th Lee Brilleaux Memorial at Cliffs Pavilion in Westcliff-on-Sea (the yearly Dr Feelgood party) and what else is to say but they were the absolute surprise of the evening! I do not know what exactly I had expected, was happy enough to meet Gordon and his girlfriend who came from France to play that night - but they made my day especially because I was a bit depressed after getting to know former Feelgoods Gypie, Sparko and Wilko won't be present for various reasons.

When Gordon and Sarah started their set I started to forget my frustration. What a great duo, dynamic songs and what an incredible sound! Never before I have heard two people producing something like that on stage (without any tricks!). And not just me was impressed about the straight presence: Sarah's great voice and ability to use various instruments - and Gordon, using a suitcase as bass drum(!), played acoustic as well as electric guitar in a really brilliant style. It was obvious most of the men in the audience - including the present musicians (hi Figure! :-)) - also enjoyed to see such a good looking girl at center stage. By the way, if I remember right, Sarah was the first female musician playing at a Lee Memorial, and it was great to see her prooving the guys us girls can be great performers too! (Hope you don't mind me saying so, friends!)

After seeing the TWO TIMERS live, hearing the new CD and watching their promo-video, there is just one thing left to say: I look forward to see them again as soon as possible! It would be great if they get the possibility to play in other countries too, not just in France because it would be a real shame, not everybody can get the chance to see the TWO TIMERS live on stage!

By Gabi Schwanke / GERMANY - May 1997

REVIEW 2

... Next was in my opinion apart from the Feelgood set the stars of the show. We saw the very welcome return to these shores of the man who I believe helped Dr Feelgood back into the big time league Gordon Russell with Sarah calling themselves 'Two Timers'. Lee once called Gordon one of the best young guitarists around (He may be a little older now but doesn't look it). They did 5 or 6 numbers and Gordon still proved he is an excellent guitar player on both acoustic and electric also keeping time with a bass drum pedal banging at an old suitcase, while Sarah sang with a sassy Blues/Rock feeling I have not heard for years. She also proved to be a master or should it be mistress of the spoons/shakers/drum and gob iron. If there was any paint left on the walls after their set I would be surprised. Next up was Snowy White who played 3 numbers with Kevin on Drums, Dave Bronze on Bass and then the stars of the show. DR FEELGOOD. Pete, Phil, Kevin and Steve started off with the Classic 'Take a Tip', not played live for many years. After this the Feelgood songs rolled off in blistering bursts of energised force. 'She Does it Right', 'Back in the Night', 'Roxette' Etc. Then part way through 'Milk and Alcohol' the PA gave up. After a short interval the band came back minus Pete and with Gary Miller and Dave the Harmonica player to do a quiet version of 'I can Tell' helped by the massed voices of the audience. Shortly afterwards a borrowed PA from the upstairs Bingo room was put into action right next to my ear hole. Wow I had any remaining cobwebs shoved deep into the brain after that but who cares. From then on it was party time as Gordon came on to play for the remainder of the set with Steve, while Phil handed his bass to Dave Bronze starting with 'Route 66'. ...

By Steve Smith, Beeston Rylands / UK - Source: Feelin' Good Newsletter Issue 8/July 1997
(Read full review at Official Dr Feelgood Website's Memorial Page)

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November 4, 1998 - MILL STUDIO, GUILDFORD / UK

The intimacy of the 100-year-old plus Mill Studio was a perfect setting for the third "Blues at the Mill concert... The Two Timers brought the good time aspect of the blues with Sarah James showing her great talent for impeccable musicianship, while Gordon Russell demonstrated what a fine guitarist he is and why he was such a respected member of Dr Feelgood during his seven-year, four-album stint. Their repertoire is both eclectic and exciting, ranging from Robert Johnson's "They're Red Hot" and Slim Harpo's "Tee Na Nee Na Nu" to a rebel-rousing version of Willie Dixon's "Whole Lotta Love". "Mama Don't Allow" showed Sarah's versatility on a range of percussive and other instruments including drum, spoons, kazoo and harp.

Sarah and Gordon are no slouches either when it comes to writing a nifty tune or two, with "The Harder You Pull" - featured on the Blueprint 98 CD - "Footstompin' Music" and "Do It" from their own album being particularly well received. Another beautiful original, "Forget I Am A Woman", allowed Sarah to demonstrate her great warmth and vocal range. Gordon played both acoustic and electric guitars to great effect, and also used an old suitcase as a bass drum. The audience were absolutely bowled over and the encore, Little Richard's "Slippin'And Slidin"', left them appreciating why the duo are so popular in France, where they were formerly based, and why they will conquer this country with style and great talent.

Howard Williams - BLUEPRINT Magazine / UK

 October 25, 1998 - FESTIVAL DE VAUREAL / FRANCE

Les echos de concert Two Timers au festival de Vaureal le 25 octobre 1997 Dans votre quete de l'absolu et de la perfection musicale qui enrichit et embellit la nature humaine, prenez la direction de l'inoubliable. A la croisee des chemins du Blues et du Rock, vous trouverez "Two Timers". Un duo petillant d'emotion et d'energie, originaire de Londres, avec Gordon Russell la guitare et percussions, Sarah James au chant et harmonica.

De version electrique en version acoustique, the Two Timers evoluent en maitres de la musique. Au-dela du simple coup de coeur engendre par la magie d'un festival, c'est une impressionnante lecon d'harmonie et de presence sur scene a laquelle nous avons assiste avec l'ensemble du public du Festival de l'Harmonica de Vaureal qui s'est deroule les 24 & 25 octobre 1997. Une prestation memorable avec ce petit plus d'humilite qui place the Two Timers dans la cour des grands, des minutes gravees pour l'eternite dans la memoire de chacun.

Un public de Vaureal tout acquis a leur cause, le regard encore rempli de bonheur et de plaisir, le coeur debordant de cette joie profonde que seule la resonance et la justesse des notes, le feeling savoureux savent transmettre. Un public completement retourne et subjugue devant cette deferlante d'emotion et de saveur riche. Nul n'avait idee en arrivant au festival de Vaureal de la grandeur de l'evenement auquel nous allions assister pour repartir tard dans la nuit, repu et comble de bonheur que seule la musique procure. Le festival de Vaurea a confirme par sa sixieme edition, si besoin est, qu'il fait parti du panel des grands evenements. A tous les festivaliers et passionnes de la musique, retenez bien ce nom "Two Timers", n'ayez aucune retenue pour les integrer dans votre programmation en prenant soin de leur reserver une place de choix.

Emmanuel Roze - BLUES & CO Magazine

December 21, 1998 - CORN EXCHANGE, IPSWICH / UK

with Dr Feelgood and Nine Below Zero

We witnessed the gig at lpswich Com Exchange on 21st December, and it was an absolutely stormin' performance by each of the three bands.
Seeing "Two Timers" for the first time (with no idea what to expect), was a revelation in itself and they put on an amazing opening set. After their version of "Whole Lotta Love", the place was rocking, and anyone who has seen their female vocalist perform before will know the meaning of "love at first sight". I'm ashamed to admit that I've forgotten her name, but she is a sensational performer (right down to her spoons!). Literally anyone who who appreciates pure talent should see these two.

By Martin Axman / UK

December 11, 1999 - CRAWLEY BLUES CLUB, CRAWLEY / UK

Two Timers featuring Sarah James and Gordon Russell were just fantastic. They always play with incredible enthusiasm. I noticed quite a few new faces in the audience and I must say in a way I envy them because despite seeing Sarah and Gordon many times you can never repeat that moment when you witness an act for the first time. It was a real treat to see so many people obviously enjoying their show. A truly magic night and what a superb encore they gave on this our special Christmas Bash. A great turnout and a great end to the year. They will be back for sure in 2000.

Dave Pugh / UK

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March 12, 2000 - SPALDING BLUES CLUB, RED LION HOTEL, SPALDING / UK

Spalding Blues Club has become renowned for putting on some great acts, yet again the Red Lion Hotel was full last Sunday evening, for the debut performance by the Two Timers. This British duo, featuring former Dr Feelgood guitarist Gordon Russell & the striking red-haired Sarah James are based in France, and by all accounts very popular over there, indeed when they supported the Corrs at a concert, the enthralled crowd demanded an encore from the duo. Whilst the act are well known across the continent, they are largely unknown here, partly due to the often staid demands of British audiences who perhaps try to relive their past listening to tribute bands & rehashed hits, rather than move on with music that demands that they listen again with an open ear. Once again here are a duo who rely on their live musical skills and an array of instruments rather than electronic drum machines & backing tapes. Energetic vocalist Sarah plays a variety of percussion, including snare drum strapped around her waist, cymbals, shakers and the spoons, as well as harmonica and kazoo, Gordon plays both electric slide, acoustic guitar, mandolin, as well as the suitcase drum, which is exactly what it says, a large suitcase played with a bass drum pedal. They performed a wide range of material, which had a variety of influences from country blues, to rock, hints to of the bluesy side of Lindisfarne, especially in some of the harmonica work. The duo don't want their sound to become stuck in one particular groove and it was good to see a blues club audience responding very favourably towards their original songs, such as 'Aubrey Rex', written about Sarah's uncle whom she only knew from a faded photo, who was killed in action in the war, 'My Big Mistake' and 'Forget I'm A Woman' which weren't strictly of the blues genre. Other standout songs included 'The Harder You Pull' reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt's style, a song about unrequited love 'I Keep Knocking On Your Door', 'Long Gone' a classic blues style number and the best version of Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' Mississippi's heard since Earls Court 1975, which brought their tremendous set to a superb close! Insistent demands for an encore were fulfilled when Sarah and Gordon returned to treat us with their version of 'Stand By Me' and a rock'n'roll style medley. Hopefully their reception at Spalding will be reflected at other venues across Britain, thus ensuring that the Two Timers will be enticed back home from the continent, at least for tours!

Sent by Tom and Ali / UK from the Fizgig. This review also was sent to the Boston Target Newspaper.

May 4, 2000 - OYSTERFLEET, CANVEY ISLAND / UK

Oysterfleet Hotel, Canvey Island 4/5/00

This was the 7th memorial concert to remember one of the major figures of the British R'n'B scene and to raise money for local charity. Prior to this year the memorial concerts and associated activities have raised in excess of £20K for the S.C.E.N.T Nurses, who helped care for Lee Brilleaux towards the end of his life. The sold out concert saw five acts, headlined by Dr Feelgood & Friends, the "Friends' being Wilko Johnson, The Big Figure, Sparko, Dave Bronze and Gordon Russell. Seeing Wilko cutting across the stage playing the Feeigood classics such as 'Roxette" certainly brought back a lot of fond memories. Another highlight was the "guitar sparring" of Gordon Russell and Steve Walwyn at the end of the night. Once again a fitting tribute to the man that, certainly in the eyes of Feelgood fans, made a difference and through the money raised will continue to help others. The major highlight of the night was an all too rare British appearance by the Two Timers. This duo of Gordon Russell and Sarah James has developed into a very professional and dynamic outfit. The combination of Gordon Russell's guitar / mandolin playing and Sarah James's percussion / vocal talents gives rise to a very entertaining and somewhat unique set (more details on the duo can be found in Blueprint issue 28). This mini-set commenced with "Larry's Last Goodbye" from their current CD, Aubrey Rex and Other Stories. This was then followed by a further track called 'Out Of My Head' with the unique percussion playing and mature vocal delivery of James really lifting the crowd. Having appeared at the previous year's concert they are clearly established as a favourite act. A real energy driven delivery of John Fogerty's 'Travellin' Band" showed their ability to produce a real R'n'B sound, this was subtly followed by another original in 'My Big Mistake". A step back to Russell's time with the Feelgoods and a Wilko Johnson song 'I Don't Mind", again powerfully andcolourfully delivered. The set ended with two more original songs, taken from the current CD, 'Everybody Else’ and 'Good Glasses'. The only slight downside was that the schedule prevented the Two Timers from delivering an encore. The freshness that Two Timers bring is something that hopefully more people in Britain will get to experience in the near future.

Geoff Rippon - BLUEPRINT Magazine / UK - July 2000

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November 29, 2000 - PLYMOUTH PAVILION, PLYMOUTH / UK

TWO TIMERS OPENING FOR STATUS QUO

"… A special mention for support act the Two Timers. Featuring just guitar player Gordon Russell with suitcase bass drum (yep, you've read that correctly - it was a suitcase that was kicked in time. Sounded very good, too!) and percussionist/feisty singer Sarah James, the duo's electrified acoustic blues/skiffle selection was given a very warm reception for a support act from the first number - the first time I've heard such a thing. Despite the lack of instrumentation, the duo produced an incredible sound that gave the Quo a run for its money in terms of vibe, and at certain points even managed to beat them. The Two Timers' website warns you to prepare to be seriously entertained - I was. I hope they can do it again for me sometime."

Reviewed by Andrew Segal, BBC SOUTH WEST

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December 14, 2000 - APOLLO, OXFORD / UK

TWO TIMERS SUPPORTING STATUS QUO

Hadn't got a clue who they were, no idea what to expect, didn't even know their name until they told us…

It didn't look very promising, frankly. All there was on stage were three guitars on stands, some percussion instruments and a stool. I feared the worst, some tedious singer/songwriter no doubt. But! This was not to be. Purposefully striding onto the stage were a man in a shiny grey suit and a woman in an orange dress. "We are Two Timers" she said. He sat and down and donned an acoustic guitar, she took up a tambourine and a mouth organ, then they tore into their first number.

It was a blues! And boy, could she sing. Somewhere between Maggie Bell and Lulu and with real power (Their names I discovered later are Sarah James and Gordon Russell). The sound was, it dawned on me, very much Page & Plant/Led Zeppelin but stripped down to just the essentials. Ok, there was no bass but it didn't, in the circumstances, matter a great deal. Ms James provided the rhythm section, snare drum, cymbal, noisy shaken thing, tambourine and mouth organ with Gordon switching between electric and acoustic gee-tar plus the suitcase bass drum. For those of you with long memories, it was very like the old Medicine Head set up.

All the songs were basically blues, and none the worse for that. There was one love song "You Don't Love Me Any More" but the rest boogied along with aplomb. Try "Long Gone" for a lively foot tapper or "Out Of My Head". They were all excellent. Great tricky endings too. And then the final number. Hang on, I recognise that, it's track one, side one, Led Zeppelin (!) 2. "Whole Lotta Love" but acoustic! What a fantastic finisher.

Go and see this band! Buy their albums! Buy the T shirts! They deserve to succeed. I am now a convinced Two Timers fan. When's the next gig?

PS: Why was I there? Well, to be truthful, Two Timers were the support act. The headliners? Oh, just the greatest rock'n'roll band in the land. Cue air guitar, dim the lights, cue that 12 bar and "Come on sweet Caroline/You're my sweet Caroline…"

© Paper Plane - LEISURE Magazine / UK - January 2001

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January 18, 2001 - THE MARR'S BAR, WORCESTER / UK

What an excellent night (again!!!) at Worcester's premiere music venue.

As a regular at the venue I was curious to find out what Two Timers were all about. Marzy and I had considered going to Ronnie Scott's in Birmingham to see John Martyn but Marzy chose to stay at "home"; and so did I - fortunately.

Sunday night is now Curry & 'Coustic night and after some fine local acts Two Times did their bit after the interval. As soon as they walked on stage I knew we were in for something special. What I saw and heard I had not been expecting!! From the moment that Sarah started smacking hell out of her percussion armoury I was totally hooked. What a night!

I didn't know any of their toons but no matter - I do now! The whole set was an exciting barrage of bluesy style songs which Sarah put across in her own uncompromising style; she doesn't just sing - she PERFORMS. She looked superb in her reds and pinks (oh, and the white boots), she sang, played and danced and she put her whole self into it.

Oh, and then there's Gordon; Well dressed and groomed, giving his all as he provided his own bluesy patterns to every song. This guy is good!! His bass drum (suitcase) went down very well with the audience, who to a person, showed their appreciation and didn't want the show to end. But, all good things do come to an end and I am looking forward to seeing Two Timers again.

Also, congratulations on the CD's, I know from talking to you two after the gig that you've put everything into them. Well it shows as well; extremely professionally presented, packaged and performed.

Thanx, Pete

By Peter Brown - Sent via e-mail / Feb.25, 2001

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November 9, 2002 - WARNER BLUES WEEKEND, CRICKET ST. THOMAS / UK

The marvellous Two Timers closed the afternoon's session with a short, brilliant set in which guitarist Gordon Russell confined himself to his trusty Martin acoustic, allowing singer, Sarah James's stunningly beautiful voice to shine through.

In full "electric" mode, on the main stage, the Two Timers were even better - boy, do they work hard! It's difficult to believe that two people can generate so much sound - never mind sound of such consistently high quality. Gordon plays driving electric and acoustic guitar, occasionally returning between songs to play very effective slide - while keeping up a relentless bass drum beat with his right foot, on his trademark battered suitcase. Sarah, meanwhile, sings her heart out, also playing harmonica and a huge array of percussion - even the spoons! The Two Timers are truly a phenomenon. They get better every time I see them. As a live act, I truly cannot recommend them highly enough.

Tim Aves, Blues in Britain, Vol 1, Issue 13

 

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