SHE may have been making music for more that 40 years but Barbara Dickson has never been content to rest on her laurels.

From her early days on the folk club circuit she went on to enjoy considerable success in the Seventies and Eighties with songs including Answer Me, Another Suitcase in Another Hall and The Caravan Song.

As an actress she was the original Mrs Johnstone in the musical Blood Brothers and played pools winner Viv Nicholson in Spend Spend Spend.

Now she’s back on the road with what she calls her ‘big band’ featuring renowned musicians Troy Donockley, Nick Holland, Brad Lang and Russell Field and will be at Bolton’s Albert Halls on Wednesday night.

“The five of us do make a good noise on stage,” she laughed. “I need to do the things that people would expect me to do even though i I don’t play I know Him So Well. “But I do play my own hits. If I didn’t sing Caravans there would probably be a riot.

“But I don’t play them because I need to, I play them because I want to because they mean so much to people.”

“Then having done that I can pretty much do what I want so I can go into the world of the theatre, I can do songs from my past, tell stories and play songs by Gerry Rafferty or The Beatles.

“And there will be new things as well. It has always been important to me to move forward. I don’t mean despising the past but I do like to have something to reveal to people.”

Monday’s date will see Barbara returning to a favourite stomping ground from the days when she was first starting out.

“I did a lot of work in the folk clubs in Accrington and Chorley in the early days,” she said. “I remember playing for the Accrington Stanley Sportsman’s Association and during the day people were very kind and would show me Pendle Hill.

“I’ve got very fond memories of those early appearances in that area.”

Those early folk club days gave Barbara a thorough grounding and have helped her career ever since.

“People who come along to a show will say ‘you’re really good at talking to the audience’. I learned that from the folk clubs,” she said.

As a music lover, Barbara knows what she would want from a concert as an audience member and tries to deliver that with her own shows.”

“I don’t want to go and listen to what a song sounded like on record 40 years ago,” she said. “I want to hear how that artist has developed and what they are up to. That is the essence of a live performance.

“It’s not good to cut yourself off from your past but you do need to keep moving on.”

Many people still associate Barbara she admits that it’s not an art form she is particularly fond of.

“I’m very cautious when people ask ‘do you like musicals?’ because there is a thing about bigger being better and I don’t believe that in the slightest.”

She admits she’s in her element when she’s on stage with her band.

“I was advised to give that up when I was a ‘pop star’ but I feel happiest when I’m playing the guitar or behind a piano and singing,” she said. “That sort of strutting in front of the stage Tina Turner-style is not me – it never was.”

Barbara Dickson, Albert Halls, Bolton, Wednesday, February 13. Details from 0843 208 0500 or