Profile: Fringe by the Sea headliner Elkie Brooks
- Fiona Shepherd
- 19 July 2016
This article is from 2016
Born Elaine Bookbinder, we chart Brooks' career from her Vinegar Joe days to her successful solo album, Pearls
Top of the Pops viewers of a certain vintage may remember Elkie Brooks as an MOR chanteuse with big hair, a bluesy voice and a run of hit ballads in the late 70s / early 80s. But by the time she hit her commercial peak as a solo artist, she had almost 20 years of singing experience to draw on.
The artist born Elaine Bookbinder spent most of the 1960s casting about on the club and cabaret scene for the right vehicle for her husky voice, before coming to prominence in the early 70s as a lusty blues shouter in Vinegar Joe, where she traded vocal licks with the super suave Robert Palmer. Her unfettered, righteous rock chick performance of ‘Proud to Be a Honky Woman’ on The Old Grey Whistle Test is still a joy to behold and she rode that momentum right into a solo career, gathering her hit renditions of the Lieber / Stoller composition ‘Pearl’s a Singer’, Chris Rea’s ‘Fool (If You Think it’s Over)’ and the jazz torch song ‘Lilac Wine’ on her most successful album Pearls.
Proto-power ballad ‘No More the Fool’ was the last of her big hits but Brooks has continued to release a steady stream of albums, recorded in her home studio in Devon. From there, she operates a family cottage industry in defiance of the music industry’s diminishing returns. There’s a new album in the works and regular live shows which allow her to do justice to a career spanning more than half a century.
Elkie Brooks, venue, North Berwick, 8 Aug, time, price to come.