Joe Brown's still entertaining after decades in music
BACK in the 1960s, Joe Brown's ukulele playing was deemed so risque that he had the dubious honour of being one of the first artists to be banned by the BBC.
In 1963, his recording of George Formby's With My Little Ukulele In My Hand was considered so close to the knuckle that it got Joe into trouble.
But despite this initial setback and subsequent rock and roll career, Joe continued to love the instrument.
Now he's back on the road, with a show that takes in both an acoustic and electric set.
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His concert, which arrives at the Victoria Hall on Thursday, March 21, covers his 50 years as a performer before he turns his hand to the songs featured on his latest offering, The Ukulele Album.
The 71-year-old Londoner says: "There's a lot of stuff on there that you wouldn't expect to hear on the ukulele on the album – songs like Pinball Wizard and Ace Of Spades.
"It produces a great sound. It's a great instrument – everyone should have one."
Joe's rise to fame began in 1956, when he formed the Spacemen skiffle group.
Although he's never had a music lesson, he can play around eight different instruments – including the guitar, fiddle and mandolin.
What's more, many of the guitar greats (George Harrison, Mark Knopfler and Keith Richards) have named him as their inspiration.
Joe's five decades in showbiz takes in his own early hits – Dark Town Strutters Ball, Shine, Picture Of You, That's What Love Will Do – to appearances at Glastonbury and Cropredy and Jools Holland's Hootenanny.
"We enjoy playing on tour," says Joe, who is joined by his son Pete on stage.
"We go back to the same theatres all the time so we have to change our show around a little bit.
"We've been doing a lot of stuff from our new record on the recent shows and it's been going down really well.
"We try to keep our audience interested – and ourselves interested in it as well.
"I don't really like the travelling around so much but I still love performing – I'd have to, otherwise I couldn't do it anymore."
Joe Brown is at the Victoria Hall, in Hanley, on Thursday, March 21. Call the box office on 0844 871 7627.