"This is the bare bones of Joe Brown," says Joe Brown himself.

With more than two hours of music, chat and magical stories in the show Just Joe, the singer and virtuoso guitarist chronicles his career, from his friendship with Johnny Cash, to George Harrison being best man at his wedding.

Joe's career has seen him go from being a young, solo star (his first major hit was A Picture Of You in 1962) to starring in West End musicals such as Charlie Girl (for two and a half years, alongside Dame Anna Neagle) and Pump Boys and Dinettes, to reinventing himself 20 years ago as a generation-crossing solo act with an impressive band.

Joe Brown is touring the UK with his show Just Joe

And yet this isn't quite a solo show as the cool Cockney – now 76 and armed with guitars, mandolin, banjo and ukulele – is joined by another sterling name from the music world.

Henry Gross, himself no mean singer, songwriter and guitarist, was founder of the rock 'n' roll revival band Sha Na Na who played at the famed Woodstock festival – with Henry the youngest performer there.

"We met in Nashville," says Joe. "I've been going out there for years and there was this guy I know in a bar, a real redneck geezer, and he kept pestering Henry saying: "Joe Brown's in town and he wants to borrow a guitar" and he eventually he gave in and said: "Well, send him round", and he did lend me a guitar. And that was 30 years ago."

The result is an entrancing performance which takes in unexpected instrumental gems such as the Harry Lime Theme and Duelling Banjos alongside more conventional songs, even a guitar-picked reinvention of his light-hearted hit Henry VIII.

Says Joe: "When, instead of a band, you just have two instruments it's amazing how they sparkle.

"I don't play electric guitar – we do a few rock 'n' roll songs and they sound great.

"An Everly Brothers song, part of a medley with Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis, sounds like it probably sounded when they first sang it.

"Henry's a great performer and he talked me into doing this. I said "You're kidding, I can't do that, I play instrumentals and stuff, you can’t just go dinging away on a single guitar, you've got to have someone to play with, do harmonies with", and he said, "Well, I'll come with you", and that was that."

Every bit as important as the music is the trail of anecdotes with Joe, as outrageous as the best stand-up comedian. Everyone, from Chas and Dave to Billy Fury, Shadows guitarist Hank Marvin to Dame Anna, comes into the frame.

Joe shot to fame with his hit record A Picture of You

Joe was a major star at the time of both Fury and Cliff Richard, and even had The Beatles as his support band.

Says Joe: "They had their first big hit at the end of '62, and they opened for me at the beginning of '62 in Liverpool.

"No-one realised back then how big they would be but I could see they were different."

He and George ended up living near each other and were always popping round each other's houses. "We loved playing the ukulele together," he says.

Yet Joe's life hasn't been without its heartache. As a young guitarist he backed Johnny Cash along with rock 'n' roll heroes Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran on pop TV show Boy Meets Girls.

In 1962 Joe had been due to tour with Cochran and Vincent, but plans changed when A Picture of You stormed the charts. Their car crashed, killing Cochran and crippling Vincent.

"I would have been in that car," muses Joe. "I miss Eddie, he taught me so much about rock 'n' roll."

Joe's wife Vicki, who sang with fifties and sixties girl groups The Vernon Girls and The Breakaways, died from cancer in 1991. Joe found new happiness when he remarried in 2000, to Manon, former partner of Small Faces singer Steve Marriott.

And music is a family affair with daughter Sam, a star in the 80s and 90s with her own hits, and producer/musician son Pete.

Stepdaughter Mollie Marriott is even now set for stardom, her debut album, Truth Is A Wolf, making waves.

When Joe remarried, best man was George Harrison and after The Beatle's death the following year, Joe played at the Concert For George memorial show. He performed a moving and memorable version of I'll See You In My Dreams on ukulele.

Joe, awarded an MBE in 2009, never slows down. The latest tour is Joe's longest single stint on the road – a response to the critical and public acclaim Just Joe received when it made its debut in 2016.

Just Joe is unadulterated Joe. Pure stage magic, and a show simply not to be missed.

Tickets are on sale now and Just Joe will perform at the Stoke's Regent Theatre (0844 871 7649), on Wednesday, January 24; Stafford Gatehouse Theatre (01785 619080 on Thursday, February 15; Buxton Opera House (01298 72190) on Friday, February 16; Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (01902 429212) on Thursday, March 8; Brierley Hill Civic Hall (01384 573381) on Friday, March 9, and Solihull's Core Theatre (0121 704 6962) on Monday, March 12 and Tuesday, March 13.

For further information visit www.joebrown.co.uk