The Grateful Fred Ukulele Trio

Things you can do with just a ukulele...

February 23rd 2016:

Review from "The Hairy Photographer's" website:


" The Sylvie Simmons band of choice whenever she's anywhere near Formby *****  "

Sylvie Simmons - Renowned Music Journalist, Author, Songwriter and Musician and Leonard Cohen, Serge Gainsbourg Biographer

Sylvie Simmons with the Grateful Fred Ukulele Trio...November 2014

Sylvie Simmons with the Grateful Fred Ukulele Trio...November 2014


...The Grateful Fred Ukulele Trio, aka "The Benylin Brothers", because of their streaming colds, consists of Good Ol' Grateful Fred himself, Peter McPartland [of The Big I Am] and Vinnie Gillespie.

These boys weren't messing about as they delivered a blistering but eclectic set [all played on various ukuleles] consisting of rock ["Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time"], rhythm and blues [Sam Cooke's "I'll Keep Running Back"], The Beatles ["I Will"], a superb version of Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting", a stunning rendition of "Need Your Love So Bad", with Vinnie "the Peter Green of the Ukulele" Gillespie on lead uke and finishing it all off with Don Henley's "Boys Of Summer"with a flamenco twist to it.

A great performance by the Trio...

Peter Cowley




...The Grateful Fred Ukulele Trio [or GFUT for short] romped through a set of covers and original songs. 

The covers included "Downtown Train", "May You Never", "Cloudbusting" and "Oh Boy"- an eclectic selection if ever there was. 

Self -written numbers included Pete McPartland's countryish "Friendly Fire"and Colin's "Denver Railroad", "a revamped B-side from 1969" which featured an incredible bluesy wah-wah ukulele solo from Vinnie Gillespie [on just four strings!]...

Peter Cowley




Review from Elizabeth Gibson from The Atkinson Theatre, Southport 6 May 2015:

"The last time I saw Grateful Fred's band there was a more diverse range of instruments and so I was surprised and intrigued to see the ukes. I was keen to hear what the three would play and how they would work together.

The result was startling and wonderful, for me. I had imagined three ukuleles together could produce a limited sound and musical landscape - and that landscape was sweet, pretty, summery. 

What I heard from this trio was a stunning range of colours and timbres. While there were the sweet, pretty, summery tunes such as "Just A-Roaming Round" and "Lean on Me", there was also the blues-y "Enjoy the Ride" and the dark, 50s-esque "Say You Will Remember Me".

However, the highlight of their set and again, one of the highlights of the whole evening, was their gorgeous rendition of Cat Stevens' "Here Comes My Baby". 

I'd probably heard the Cat Stevens version at some point in my youth as my parents are fans of his, but I didn't have it clearly in my memory and so this version was quite fresh for me. I loved it. 

I'm so glad someone recorded it and put it on YouTube, so it is immortal. It was one of those performances where you just feel so privileged to be there because it is amazing and you know it will become - in your eyes at least - a classic. Even as I was listening I felt this.

The three worked off one another beautifully: a great, husky lead vocal, nicely harmonising backing vocals and some top-class uke work including several amazing solos.

I can't believe what I've discovered from YouTube: that it was a seven-song set. It seemed like less; the whole thing seemed to go by in a joyous blur of great music".