Everyone remembers Figgis Green, that folky pop group who were huge in the 1960’s and 70’s and less huge—but still touring regularly and putting out albums—in the 80’s and early 90’s.
Their main singer was Mandy Green: long haired, long skirted, a beauty with a voice that could shake the angels. Sharing the vocals and playing lead guitar was Tony Figgis - famous for his shaggy moustache and his fondness for brightly coloured silk shirts.
On the drums, Tony's cousin, Roland Black. Playing bass, Mandy's brother, Mitch. Rhythm guitar was handled by two wonderful musicians--Rick Redding, and after he left the band, Ben Quigley. And rounding out the group, on fiddle, Keith Reader, and then Peter Chedwick.
The Figs' best-known song was “Roving Minstrel”, a catchy thing about a faithless suitor and his careworn lady, tormented hearts, lessons learned and a really fortunate ending. It was the group’s anthem, and they always closed their shows with it.
It was Mitch Green who floated the idea of a 50th Anniversary Tour. The Figs’ fan base had never really gone away and for years had been vocally advocating—in online groups and on message boards—for just this kind of reunion.
For a variety of reasons, it didn’t happen. But Mitch was still keen, and he kept at it. He eventually got Mandy on board, and then Rolly. Neither Rick nor Ben was available, so session musician Bob Chaplin was recruited to play rhythm guitar. Keith and Peter were also unavailable. Bob suggested his extremely talented friend Beth Homewood—who was hired on the spot.
Which left just one enormous gap to fill: that of Tony Figgis, who had tragically died in 1995 after being struck by lightning on a golf course.
The most logical choice was Mandy and Tony's son, Jason.
Jason is a professional jazz guitarist, and he comes with the added bonus of knowing the Figgis Green catalogue inside out—he'd grown up with it.
Mitch turned up with his original Hofner violin bass (Paul McCartney was and always has been his absolute hero). And Rolly, who had moved to the States and made a second career for himself scoring music for films and tv, dug his old Ludwig touring kit out of storage, and showed up with it, complete with its customized bass drum front head featuring the band's arty green fig leaf logo.
Jason arranged for a leave of absence from his ongoing gig at the Blue Devil jazz club in Soho.
Mandy was there, and Bob and Beth.
They rehearsed at Stoneford Manor, on the south coast of England, and perfected their show.
And on Friday, October 5, 2018, they went out on the road.