Hugo pays tribute to gritty rocker of note

Francois Hugo in the Joe Cocker tribute show
Francois Hugo in the Joe Cocker tribute show

BAY musician Francois Hugo, whose voice and blues feel make him the ideal vehicle for Joe Cocker’s iconic style of music, is presenting a three-night tribute show in honour of his musical hero who died from lung cancer in December.

The show will be performed at the Old Grey sports club from Wednesday to Friday.

“I’ve been a huge Cocker fan since that day, many years ago, when I discovered the music of this amazing talent,” Hugo said.

The fact that their voices were eerily similar added to the allure.

Hugo is a blues singer with a powerful, gritty voice much like Cocker’s and he was soon drawn into Cocker’s music in a big way, “to the extent that it has dominated my life ever since”.

He has performed many Cocker tribute shows all over the country over the years to sold-out seasons.

Hugo will be supported by a sevenpiece band with Jethro Butow on guitar, Deon Mattheus on bass, Kevin Mattheus on drums, Boet Strydom on keyboards and Hammond organ, and Claire Venn and Therese Smith on vocals.

Michelle Mattheus will make a guest appearance on the saxophone.

Cocker, who was recognised as one of the foremost voices in the history of modern rock music, died on December 22 last year at the age of 70. Born in the industrial town of Sheffield, England, his first real break came when he performed alongside The Beatles at the famous Woodstock music festival in 1969.

The performance was so powerful and different that it launched him into a long music career. Cocker released 34 albums and his many hits include the likes of You Can Leave Your Hat On, Unchain My Heart and Feeling Alright.

Cocker was never a songwriter though and preferred to take songs from other bands and cover them in his own style.

“And boy, did he make them his own,” Hugo said. “His voice and feel often changed the song completely from the original.”

Cocker retained his fondness for The Beatles music and recorded many of their songs, including With A Little Help From My Friends, Come Together and others that became major hits for him.

Cocker was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours list for services to music.

Despite his many successes, he has was never inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.

Hugo’s tribute show is presented by Rockface Productions and Purevoice at 7.30pm nightly. Tickets at R120 are available at Tempo Musik on (041) 581-3917, or contact Lynette on 079-461-3372.

There will be a menu and bar facilities available at the venue.


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