PAUL Jones is making a York hotel his base for four days as The Manfreds play Darlington, Hull and Gateshead, culminating in the Grand Opera House, York, on Thursday

“That’s not quite the end of the tour as we have Reading tacked on for Friday,” says the 76-year-old singer, who is on the road with Maximum Rhythm n’ Blues With The Manfreds.

The tour publicity bills The Manfreds’ travels as a “mammoth tour for 2018”, but Paul would not have plumped for that description. "Actually it isn’t a mammoth tour,” he corrects. “If you want to look at a ‘mammoth tour’, how about Mark Knopfler; he’s doing a tour for two years. Ours is only 30 dates with gaps in between them.

“When John Mayall tours, he thinks that if he has a day off, it’s a wasted day, and he’s 84 now!”

The Manfreds’ 2018 tour sees Jones, Mike d’Abo and co being joined by “very special guest” Georgie Fame, of Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames fame.

“We have tours with a guest every other year in the autumn and ironically we started with Alan Price [Georgie’s former band partner ]. Over the years we’ve had [the late]Long John Baldry; PP Arnold; Chris Farlowe; Maggie Bell; Colin Blunstone, from The Zombies, and we even had Paul Young one year.,” says Paul.

York Press:

Georgie Fame: saying Yeh Yeh to linking up with The Manfreds for the first time

“We’ve had some classic starry singers...but never Georgie, though I’ve been trying to persuade him to tour with us for a number of years; it probably runs into double figures now, and we’ve finally entrapped him!

“And the good news is he’s really enjoying himself, and it feels very special for us. There’s a lot of personal enthusiasm for Georgie in The Manfreds. His opinion of us was never low, but working with him has raised our profile as far as he’s concerned!”

How come? “There’s always been a strong jazz element to The Manfreds, and rhythm & blues too, and those are two points where Georgie is an absolute legend. We were never on the lists of bands that played jazz rock, but nonetheless that jazz influence was there, and I think it was Manfred [former band leader Manfred Mann] who said that ‘if you want to know who we are, turn the 45s over and play the other side’, putting the radio-friendly song on the A-side and the things we really wanted to do on the B-side.

“Hey, you’re in a band and there are lots of people in that band wanting to express themselves, so that’s what happens. But sometimes people are dismissive of some of their hits, unjustifiably so, like one of Georgie’s songs – I won’t say which one– where he said ‘I don’t like it’ when I really enthused about it! He said, ‘I like the song, but I don’t like what I did with it’.”

Georgie Fame will feature in two big chunks of tomorrow’s show, with The Manfreds as his band, except for one song at the piano on his own, and he and Paul will share vocals on Watermelon Man, a Mongo Santamaria hit from 1963 covered on a Manfreds EP in 1965 and later by Fame too.

Tickets for Thursday’s 7.30pm concert are on sale on 0844 871 3024 or at