The Greystones, Sheffield

Saturday, May 26

Paul Young, who had hits with Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home), Love of the Common People and Everytime You Go Away – just three of his 20 plus hits, is laying a different type of hat, a stetson.

In 1992, he formed Los Pacaminos, a band dedicated to playing Tex-Mex and Americana-type songs. Their brand of happy, party-type music has proved popular and they are bringing it to Sheffield this weekend, writes Martin Hutchinson. And the band has built up a great following over the years, as well as recording a couple of albums containing original material and classic Americana.

Paul first came to attention in 1978 with his band Streetband, whose novelty hit Toast was a surprise hit at the end of the year. He then formed The Q-Tips, and while they had no single hits, their 1980 album charted.

“To be honest, I prefer being in a band,” he says. “A solo deal wasn’t something I was looking for, but I was offered it as I’d put some music at one side as The Q-Tips didn’t want to do it.”

He glosses over Streetband though.

“It was a hired band really, and you needed a sense of humour. Most of my touring these days is with Los Pacaminos, we have great fun playing music we really love. It’s basically a hybrid music of Texan blues and R’n’B with the musical heritage of the Mexican immigrants coming into play. We’ve always wanted to get to America but so far the closest we have got is three Country festivals in Europe – one day perhaps. However, recently we are so hot, every gig is a highlight.

“Someone told me recently that they pondered for six months before coming to see us and had the best night ever. Trouble is, you can’t really put into words what it feels like to be a part of a night with this band.”

And after a recent solo tour, which included a show at Sheffield’s Foundry, he also finds Los Pacaminos relaxing.

“I do like being back in a band again. The pressure is off me. I can kick back and enjoy other members of the band singing and playing. And even taking me out of the equation, the standard of musicianship is fantastic – there’s seven of us altogether and we make a great sound.”

With this genre of music being not as well-known as others, the band has to be careful about how much of the set is made up of songs that people will recognise.

“We could fill our show with our own material, there is enough, but we are aware that even after 25 years there are still people discovering us that need a point of reference, so we still do other Tex-Mex songs and rearrange well-known songs in a Tex-Mex style. I’d say there is about 70 per cent original material in the set.”

One song which is, however, sadly usually missing is Speedy Gonzalez.

“We hardly ever play that now. Having said that, when we do the crowd go nuts because it’s such a crazy song.”

And the workload doesn’t seem to be lessening as Paul has a lot on in the future.

“We have 30 songs recorded for an album, we just need to pick which songs and mix them. Trouble is, I’m very busy as Paul Young. We’ve just started writing for a studio album with Los Pacaminos, and as a solo artist I’m collecting a bunch of recordings I’ve done over the last 15–20 years that when put together sounds like a great Paul Young album. Those will need a few more overdubs, then mixes; so what with American tour dates being in the diary for 2018, a solo UK tour in February and Pacaminos dates on my days off, a cruise and some rescheduled European dates, there’s plenty to get along with.”