The South, once The Beautiful South but evidently no longer as beguiling, are still a pretty faithful rendition of the original outfit. The principal vocalists and, therefore, largely the sound of The Beautiful South, were former Housemartins Dave Hemingway and songwriter Paul Heaton, plus a female vocalist, originally Brianna Corrigan, then Jacqui Abbott, then Alison Wheeler.
Heaton and Hemingway were the band's original mouthpiece (Corrigan was a backing vocalist at first), doling-out barbed narrative for the three-and-a-half minutes of musical cinéma vérité that made up a Beautiful South hit. Of which there were very many.
Twenty or so years on from their stellar debut album, 'Welcome to the Beautiful South', which spawned the hit 'Song For Whoever', The Beautiful South lives on with Dave Hemingway and Alison Wheeler fronting the band after Paul Heaton's departure to pursue a solo career. Dave Rotheray, with Heaton the band's co-writer, has also departed, leaving behind two excellent vocalists and a peerless array of soulful modern pop full of Heaton's trademark sarcasm, wit and wisdom.
The band released 10 studio albums penned by Heaton/Rotheray, eight of which reached the UK top ten, two topping the charts, plus a clutch of extraordinarily successful greatest hits compilations.
The most famous of which, 'Carry On Up the Charts', became the third fastest-selling LP in UK chart history (at that time) when it was released in 1994. Nearly two decades later, Hemingway, Wheeler et al are a rare band; one that has changed its name yet neatly preserved the sound and soul of the original. So often, of course, the opposite is the case.
The tour kicks off in Southampton on 11th February, taking in Oxford, Sheffield, Glasgow, Inverness, Bath, Birmingham, London (Islington Academy), Manchester, York and many more, ending the tour, of course, in Hemingway's (and the Housemartins') home town of Hull on 6th March.
We will have tickets when they go on sale at 9AM on Friday 21st October, priced around £20.
Ahead of the spring shows, The South are playing Eric's in Liverpool on 2nd December and the Holmfirth Picturedrome on 3rd and 4th December [3rd now sold out - Ed]. Tickets are available now, priced £20 for Liverpool.