Kay and Ken Moir are planning a good night out when they visit Cali-R on June 30 to see The Real Thing at the Summer Soul Explosion.
So are a lot of other couples, of course, but Kay and Ken will have more of a journey than most to get to Dunstable Conference Centre – 9,500 miles to be precise.
The Moirs emigrated from Dunstable to Queensland, Australia, with their children Brooke and Ben four years ago, but as Cali-R promoter Sid Hudson explained: “Kay used to be a regular at Cali-R nights and when she heard that The Real Thing were playing in June, when the family holiday back to England was due, she made the arrangements around that night!”
The Real Thing are no strangers to Cali-R nights either, having performed on several occasions to enthusiastic audiences every time. But the forthcoming night will be poignant – the first time that Chris Amoo and Dave Smith will take to the Dunstable stage without Chris’s brother Eddy, who died suddenly in February, aged 73.
Chris, who described lead singer Eddy as “my rock and right arm”, talked things over with Dave and they decided that they would stop touring until April and then pick up the pieces from there.
He added: “The fans’ outpouring of support makes us realise how much love there is out there for The Real Thing, and we’re doing this for them, and for Eddy, who was the greatest showman. It would have been Eddy’s wish for us to carry on and still feel the force.”
Eddy’s family, meanwhile, are in the process of setting up the Eddy Amoo Foundation Trust for Aspiring Musicians and at his funeral in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral they asked for donations to the trust instead of floral tributes.The trust aims to help musicians in L8, where the band grew up, to pursue a music career by helping them to find agents or get into education.
“L8” is the Toxteth area that lent its name to their LP Four From Eight and inspired their song Children Of The Ghetto, covered variously by Earth, Wind And Fire’s Philip Bailey, Courtney Pine and Mary J. Blige.
Forty years on, The Real Thing are rightly regarded as pioneers of British soul/pop with a big back catalogue of familiar songs such as You To Me Are Everything, Can’t Get By Without You, Let’s Go Disco, Can You Feel The Force, You’ll Never Know What You’re Missing and Whenever You Want My Love.
Tickets for the evening at Dunstable Conference Centre, High Street North, Dunstable are £20, available from Big Stuff, Queensway, Dunstable (01582 666678); Vinyl Revelations, 59 Cheapside, Luton (01582 876391); The Wheatsheaf, High Street North, Dunstable (01582 477725); and via www.cali-r.com
Eddy, Chris, and Dave, in the last year of Eddy’s life, were working on a feature-length documentary about The Real Thing’s career. It will highlight the band’s place in black British popular culture and will be released later this year.