Two superstars of soul hit Fife

Ben E. King and Jimmy James are coming to Fife
Ben E. King and Jimmy James are coming to Fife

The soul sound will be resonating around Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline next week as two of the world’s best soul musicians come to town.

The title ‘Superstars of Soul’ is completely true and this show offers exactly what it says on the tin.

It’s definitely not one to be missed by soul fans, when Ben E. King and Jimmy James come to Fife on Thursday, August 29.

The singers will be performing together in this stunning new show, accompanied of course by The Vagabonds.

And Jimmy recently took time out to speak to The Press ahead of the date in Dunfermline.

He said he’s looking forward to being north of the border.

“I love coming to Scotland for sure,” he said.

“It’s one of my favourite countries.

“I love it, you always get a good reaction and reception from folk up there.”

The Jamaican singer is really excited about this latest venture, as although he regularly continues to perform live on stage these days, this current tour of the UK is extremely special to him.

He continued: “I have been on the road all along, but to be back with Ben E. King, that’s just an honour.

“They asked ‘would I like to’ join him, and I said ‘I’d love to!’

“I’m just so thrilled and excited to be doing this tour.

“It was hearing Ben E. sing that made me want to sing.

“When this came about you can’t imagine how I felt.

“This was the man I heard sing tracks like ‘Stand By Me; and who inspired me.

“It was something great I’m not going to turn down.

“A mutual friend, Les Baker, was on tour last year with Ben E, driving him around.

“He invited me to the O2 in London for the show and I got to say hi and meet Ben.

“We hit it off.

“Then it was after that I got a call asking would I be willing to tour with him for this show.

“I jumped at it and said ‘I’d love to!’”

It’s no wonder Jimmy is delighted to play alongside Ben E. King as he’s one of the defining soul singers of all time.

From his early days as the lead singer of The Drifters, through to his solo work, Ben E. King’s music has been of great importance to millions around the world.

The musician’s many hits include ‘Spanish Harlem’, ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’, ‘Don’t Play that Song’, ‘I Who Have Nothing’, ‘Don’t Take Your Love From Me’ and of course the legendary, multi-million selling ‘Stand By Me’.

This, his most famous track, was re-released in 1986 when it was used as the soundtrack to the film of the same name, starring River Phoenix and Corey Feldman.

As a Drifter and a solo artist, King achieved five number one hits.

He also earned 12 Top 10 hits and 25 Top 40 hits from 1959 to 1986.

But it wasn’t just Ben E. King who enjoyed a long and successful career - Jimmy has had one too.

Performing with live band, The Vagabonds, Jimmy has had hits with the likes of ‘I’ll Go Where the Music Takes Me’, ‘Come to Me Softly’ and ‘Now is the Time’.

They also released a cover of ‘Red Red Wine’.

The Vagabonds were originally formed in 1960 and disbanded in 1970.

In 1974, Jimmy, who owned the name, reformed the band.

And over the years he’s toured the UK with Foundations frontman, Clem Curtis and took part in a show called ‘The Soul Explosion’.

So with this brand new tour, what can people expect from the ‘Superstars of Soul’ show?

“Sing-a-long stuff, stuff people know and will get up and sing and dance to and just have a good time,” said Jimmy.

“I want the audience to let their hair down and enjoy themselves.”

With Ben E. King having a career which has spanned six decades, and Jimmy being around for many years himself, what is it about soul music that keeps them going?

And why soul music, rather than any other musical style?

Jimmy told The Press: “It’s heartfelt, it comes from the soul.

“It’s almost like one to one music.

“Whenever I’m on stage I’m singing the songs but want people to realise even though there’s hundreds there I’m singing to each and every one individually.

“That’s what it means to me.

“It’s about connecting musically one to one.”

And with such a long career history, did Jimmy ever think when he started out as a soul singer back in the *s, he’d still be performing to crowds around the globe at this age?

“No, I never expected that at all,” he laughed.

“I have been so fortunate that I have been blessed with a gift, I have kept my voice in reasonably fair shape and my health has been okay, but I never expected it.”

What’s been the highlight of his career?

He added: “I’ve had so many, it’s difficult to choose.

“Probably this new tour and I think the one that stands out most of all was years ago when I was invited to support Sammy Davis Junior in London.”

Ben E. King and Jimmy James are live onstage in ‘Superstars of Soul’ at Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline on Thursday, August 29.