CONSIDERING that he has written so many classic songs it comes as a surprise to hear that Steve Harley doesn’t enjoy listening to his back catalogue.

Steve, the driving force behind Cockney Rebel in the Seventies, and more recently a highly-successful solo artist will be heading to Lytham later this month with his acoustic trio, playing stripped down versions of fans’ favourites plus new songs.

“At the start of a run of dates I will go through some of the back catalogue,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t enjoy it very much. You start thinking your voice is silly or you wonder why you phrased a song in a certain way.

“You have to tell yourself to stop doing that because you have to remember that a particular song was of its time and you were at a certain age or it was fashion.

“You have to talk yourself out of hating yourself so I try my best not to get too hung up.

“Once I’ve seen a lyric written down from an old album I do enjoy playing it on my own on the piano or guitar and that’s when I think ‘we could do this’.”

Steve will be joined by regular musical partners James Lascelles and Barry Wickens for the intimate evening.

“We do quite a lot of the trio gigs and I love them,” he said. “It’s intimate for us too you know.”

He laughed at the idea that performing as an acoustic trio is less demanding than a full band gig

“Actually the trio shows are pretty intense,” he said. “There’s no hiding place up there. I’ve just got the two guys alongside me and every word is crystal clear and every mistake is obvious.”

For the shows Steve has permitted himself the luxury of a prompter for some of the songs.

“There are a lot of words for the old grey matter to cope with,” he said.

“I’ve always said that a song is a moveable feast. And after all, it’s my song so I think I’m allowed a little poetic licence. Nowadays I may change the melody slightly or the odd lyric on some songs which I think is fine. If you want the original, go and listen to the record. The live experience is different.”

Now 66, Steve is busier than ever with various projects from full band shows, trio dates and special guest appearances.

“My life’s an odd one,” he said. “Just before Christmas I was singing to 5,000 people with an orchestra in front of the Parthenon in Athens and then a week later I was playing an acoustic trio show at Pizza Express in London.

“All I need is an audience. I love playing, I love touring, I love travelling.”

It is getting on for eight years since Steve last released an album - Stranger Comes to Town - but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t got plenty of new material.

“I write all the time,” he said. “The hardcore fans want new stuff and I want to do it but it’s question of getting into the right state of mind to get into the studio.

“I’m just one of those people who knows instinctively when the moment is right. The converse of that is that I know when it’s not right. Then again, I could be a procrastinating idiot!”

Steve also highlighted the difficulties artists have in getting their new material played on mainstream radio.

“You get very conscious that Radio 2 is not going to play you because you are not flavour of the month,” he said. “Having an audience is all most of us want.”

So it’s at the live shows that Steve can fully express himself.

“I saw that the first hundred tickets or so for Lytham sold within days,” he said.

“I’m a punter and a fan and I know what it’s like waiting to see something you’re really looking forward to. I never forget the fans’ point of view.”

Steve Harley Acoustic Trio, Lowther Pavilion, Lytham, Saturday, February 17. Details from 01253 794221 or