Lockdown Jukebox #6 : Ian Prowse: Live Stream : 8.00pm, Fridays, Facebook
Thirty years ago - when Liverpool was still in monochromatic economic doldrums - Ian Prowse was the front man of a band, Pele, that brought vivid colour to the city through its ever-present posters, T-shirts and performances.
Nobody then could have expected that Prowse would now entertain thousands for two hours every Friday night in his city-centre flat, or that his shows would be an essential part of the week for so many.
Since 1999, Prowse has fronted a rock ensemble, Amsterdam, and forged a solo career. He has written impassioned songs (see ‘Does this train …’ above), protest songs and love songs. He has recorded definitive versions of other people’s work and been a key part of the Irish Sea Sessions.
All and none of which prepares for his Friday night virtual gigs.
Prowse’s weekly live stream is a brilliantly ramshackle, utterly unmissable act of communion between a musician and his fans.
If you have never heard of the man before, it is of no matter. The welcome is all-encompassing, engaging and uplifting.
The sixth edition (24 April) was as rumbustious as the five before. Opening with Alan Burke’s Derry Jail (originally recorded on Afterhours’ Up to Here), Prowse blasted through his own back catalogue, including a scattering of judicious covers - notably Man on the Moon and London Calling. Near the end a lamenting version of Leaving of Liverpool surely brought the digital house down.
If that is not enough, without a moments schmaltz, Prowse’s eight-year-old daughter Rosalita (named after a Springsteen song) turns up mid set each week and steals the show from her stage-honed father.
Prowse has the only ad hoc merchandise table I have every seen set up in someone’s house. Times dictate and needs must. The money is vital for any performer now - but it is the size of Liverpool singer-songwriter’s heart that has carried him through the peaks and troughs of a three decade career, and it is big enough to carry a tightly-bound community of people with him through these troubled times.
Hugely recommended for anyone weary of spirit, and a privilege to watch.