City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Craig McMurdo Anniversary Concert

By Meg Royan - Posted on 14 August 2007

Show details
Queen's Hall
Craig McMurdo (vocals); Tom 'The Colonel' Finley (piano); Roy Percy (bass); Phil Anderson (guitar); Stuart Brown (drums); Gordon McNeil (saxophone); Kevin Ferris (trumpet); Ewan McAllen (trombone) and Swingcats: Alison Orr, Nicola Auld, Laura Ellis (backing vocals)

As always, Scotland's King of Swing, Craig McMurdo, delivered a fantastic evening
of entertainment. The atmosphere was electric as the audience anticipated what
was to be an evening of unsurpassable music and song. Although not a sell out,
the crowd was enthusiastic and joined in with great gusto when instructed to do

It is now 20 years since the debut performance of Craig McMurdo and That Swing
Thang and tonight was not just a celebration of the band but also a dedication
to all those who have influenced and helped throughout their time on the circuit.
Dedications included When Joanna loved me for one of his dancers Jo, Summer
for his mum (which had him nearly in tears), and She for all the
ladies in his life (which had us all nearly in tears!).

Their first performance took place in November 1986 at the Shore Bar. They played
various venues over the next few years including the Jive Café and were
soon regulars at the Edinburgh Fringe. Craig's reputation has grown, along with
the band, and he is now a regular headliner at both the Glasgow and Edinburgh
Jazz Festivals. He has performed for HRH Prince Charles, Paul Newman and Danielle
Steele, to name a few, and has performed at many prestigious openings including
Mary Poppins, Les Miserables and The King & I.


Along with the good old favourites, Craig performed a few songs by one of the
original band members, Ray Gillespie, who has also written a new musical The
Avenue of Dreams
which Craig kept promising would be produced next year with
a four week run in the Festival 2008 (watch this space!). Ray joined the band
and played lead guitar with his song Angel on the blue Lambretta, a song
which Craig commented brought to mind Audrey Hepburn. A firm favourite of mine
was Ray's Ain't got no money which will surely be included in the 'old
favourites' in years to come.

The whole show was well put together and the attention to detail in the production
was evident, even though Craig did make a mistake at one point, but was quick
to point it out and make it part of his unique patter! All 31 tunes were delivered
with great enthusiasm and an obvious love for the genre. It truly is watching
a genius at work as he croons through the play list, interspersing the songs with
his patter which, married with the dry wit of pianist Tom Finlay, works well with
entertaining the crowd.

Craig produced a climactic end to the show where couples were off their seats
dancing in the aisles. He received a standing ovation from the whole audience
and gave us two encores:That's life and his now almost signature song,
Mack the Knife. Sue, an 18 year veteran 'swoonette' said the show was "Fantastic!
Craig is in his element with the Big Band…he's so charismatic!" So,
he's done it again! An outstanding show that was enjoyed by all!

Play List First Set - Sing, Sing, Sing; Choo Choo Cha Boogie; 5
Guys Named Mo; Man's Best Friend is a Bed; Speak Low; When Joanna Loved Me; At
the Avenue; Blues for Sure; Angel on the Blue Lambretta; Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy;
South America Take it Away; Quando, Quando, Quando; Summer Wind; Just a Gigolo/I
Ain't Got Nobody; Copacabana
Second Set - Don't Mean a Thing; Sinatra Melody - Lady is a Tramp, Come
Fly with Me, Fly Me to the Moon; She; Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens; Wonder
of You; Ain't got No Money; Moonlight, You Mean Old Fraudster; Big Train; How
Sweet It Is; Witchcraft; San Francisco; Buena Serra; I'm Gonna Live Till I Die

Encore - That's Life; Mack the Knife

© Meg Royan. 3 August 2007. First published on