Otis Lee Crenshaw – Original Review | Review by Steve Bennett

Otis Lee Crenshaw – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

In the transitional years of British comedy, folk singers such as Billy Connolly and Jasper Carrott used to banter between their songs until gradually the talking overtook the music. But with jailbird country/blues singer Otis Lee Crenshaw, superlative stand-up Rich Hall is going the other way.

Ten years after the character's inception, his set is now more about the music, atmospherically languorous, whisky-soaked country tracks evoking the badlands of Tennessee. Their premises might be witty, but there’s rarely more than a couple of jokes in them, for risk of spoiling the delightful music, delivered with the aid of two backing musicians.

There are more laughs in the betwixt-song banter, with potshots at commercialised country or the redneck mentality, or wry jokes about the realities of poverty. There’s not quite enough of this for my comedy sensibilities, as Otis inches ever closer to being a serious musician and away from the laughs.

The only concerted attempt against this is an ambitious improvised song about an audience patsy, which frequently goes awry –Crenshaw’s struggling and apologies becoming the joke itself.

Review date: 1 Sep 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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