HE had played in groups over many years but always had a burning ambition to be a solo singer.

It was when he turned 60 that Ed Hailwood decided it was time to make it as a vocal performer. He certainly has and judging from this class performance at The Concorde you would have thought he had spent a life time as a crooner.

For more than 40 years the Southampton born entertainer ran his own music store selling guitars and drums. Now he is making his own sweet music.

As a first class standards singer he has developed a unique vocal blend of artistes like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Michael Bublé

Ed has never forgotten the feeling of listening to his first Frank Sinatra record, the Songs For Swinging Lovers album and was simply mesmerised by his voice.

Ol’ Blue Eyes has become one of his musical heroes and over two lively sets at the Stoneham Lane club he expertly turned the pages of the Sinatra songbook and other Great American Song Book classics.

Ed launched his tribute to The Governor with the 1958 classic Come Fly With Me, Sinatra's first collaboration with arranger/conductor Billy May.

Designed as a musical trip around the world, Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote the title track at Sinatra's request.

Backed by the superb Bournemouth based Ray Shea trio, Ed breezed through a back catalogue of Sinatra classics including The Lady is a

Tramp from the Rodgers & Hart musical Babes in Arms, the 1950’s All the Way composition by Van Heusen and Cahn and the very moving Moonlight in Vermont.

He rounded off the first set with Irving Berlin’s very up tempo Change Partners, from the 1938 film Carefree, introduced by song and dance legend Fred Astaire.

Ed has a great rapport with his audience and created a very relaxed atmosphere as he launched into another popular jazz standard Fly Me To The Moon.

He dived into the Sinatra treasure trove with Call Me Irresponsible, You Make Me Feel So Young and I’ve Got You Under My Skin.

And there was a great interpretation of Didn’t We by Jimmy Webb which was a big hit for actor turned singer Richard Harris.

Ed kept his audience spellbound to the end with another Sinatra special, It’s Witchcraft.

Duncan Eaton