Birthdays’r Us.

Coming up to the monthly gig at my local, The Squirrel , which happens to coincide with my actual birthday, hence my 78th Birthday Bash will take place there this year. Hope to have a few guests again. The gig actually clashes with the rugby match between Georgia and New Zealand so we’ll kick of briefly during the half-time interval and then we’ll continue after the match ends. We shall know more about the rugby state of play by then and presumably the more experienced teams will have overcome their initial problems against the lesser teams. I wonder if the All Blacks fans will be singing Georgia on my mind by then, or marching though Georgia?.

Two weeks after that we will be at the Elgin on Ladbroke Grove Which is a bit closer to my old haunts Bob’s Goodtime Blues and The Inn on The Green. Maybe we’ll bring out a few of the supporters from those days. We know you’re out there even if we don’t know where you live, we do know where you drink! Well I see enough of you in my carousing on Portobello.

On a more worrying subject, I have been induced to do things I never thought I would be doing, when I actually danced to a duo using a drum machine, one of my pet hates, the machine, not the dancing.. This was at The Squirrel and I must have been drunk. Even worse, I got up, or was rather dragged up, at the Cock in Kilburn one Friday night, to dance to Karaoke. Is this a sign of senility I wonder.

I was able to do penance later by dancing to proper live music when I and Gigi went along to Little George’s surprise 50th birthday party in Dogstar in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton. It was a really great evening of music and dancing I’d seen George a few weeks earlier at The Elgin but wasn’t doing dance penance then. A few days later Gigi and I joined in a friend’s birthday celebration at the Vaults in Waterloo where we were able to catch Errol Linton in action. The penance is now done.

Eagle flies on Friday…

It’s coming up to the first Friday of the month so we’ll be playing our usual gig at the Squirrel in Maida Hill. Last week saw Sean Taylor, guitarist, singer/songwriter performing there with a drummer whose name I didn’t catch but who was very interesting, given that he also plays in concert orchestras, so it was good to hear his technique in a different context. Steve was also on the case and I enjoyed the evening more than I had expected to do.

The bands have been changing recently but the music continues every Friday and there might be more regular nights but that’s only an idea at present. A few other excursions to pubs have included the re-opened Cock and Bottle in Artesian Road and Finch’s and The Castle on the Bello, plus the newly named Red Lemon on All Saints Road.

On Tuesday Gigi and I went down to The South Bank for a stroll. It was more of a stroll than we had expected because the bus terminated prematurely in Regent Street and not Trafalgar Square. I think I probably lost a pound or two as a result of the unintended exercise, but we enjoyed the trip. Yes of course it included wine…

Summertime blues

For the latest gig at the Squirrel, we had Neil Littman depping for our regular drummer Mel Wright. Mel will be back for this Friday’s gig there. The gig was well received and we even had a couple of extra singers with the presence of Bonnie Taylor and Carmen Carr.. Incidentally, Carmen’s band the Red Roosters are doing a gig at a wedding on the day before our Squirrel gig and she has invited me to join the band, so that should be interesting.

The last time I did a wedding gig, they were all wearing kilts…well not all, they hadn’t asked the band to do that. However that was a long time ago but I can still remember some of it. I shall not explain why I can’t remember more of it but anyone who regularly reads this blog will be able to hazard a reasonable guess.

There has been a change of management at the Squirrel with the departure of Jason to pastures new. He is moving to Dorking, to I believe the King’s Arms, so no doubt I will be down that way sometime soon. Matt from The Warrington has been supervising the transition to the new manager who is due there imminently.

The music is continuing on Fridays and we are there as I mentioned, on the 3rd July. This is intended to be a regular first Friday of the month gig. The line-up will be Alan Vincent and Jon T-bone Taylor on guitars, Steve Taylor on bass and Mel Wright drums as mentioned earlier. I personally could do without the heat wave and I don’t think drinking water is a sufficient counter to it. We’ll see.

Monarch of the bend…

Sad to see the end of another great blues career. The one and only B. B. King is gone and his place won’t be filled, that’s for sure. The original less-is-more guitarist has left a great legacy via his recordings and memories of his live performances. There will be tributes galore and well justified. He lived through great change in the acceptance of the blues outside the black community and we have all benefited. Long may his spirit live on.

On a more mundane level, there are some changes in the forthcoming Squirrel gigs with the July 31st date brought forward to Friday the 3rd and following ones will be on the first Friday of each month. However the next performance is still on June 19th. Hope to see you there.


The gig at the Squirrel went well and it was good to see Brian Neville again. He turned up with a couple of large photographs of me on stage at the Hundred Club on what must have been my 65th birthday bash there. The original photos were taken by Jimmy Appudurai-Chua and when the landlord of the Squirrel saw them he commandeered one for the pub. It now hangs in a frame on the wall there. I didn’t make the blues hall of fame but I am number one in the Squirrel Hall of Fame. I didn’t realise I was so good looking, (Actually I know someone who still thinks I am.)

Talking of Gigi, she and I went to an exhibition of drawings and paintings where we ran into John A Liammari from Yonkers, New York. He played in a club there back in the day on piano with Frank Sinatra. I had to leave early but Gigi stayed on and then went to the Squirrel with John and his daughter and a group of friends. The outcome of that evening was that we arranged to meet up again before John returned to the States.

The reason I left early, was to meet up with Chris Youlden and Jon T-bone Taylor at the Spread Eagle in Camden. We had a quick drink there then went on to The Jazz Café Where we enjoyed the Bettye Lavette concert. She has a great bunch of musicians backing her and as usual was well received. After the show we ended up at the Camden Eye for last knockings. No surprise there then,

A couple of days later Gigi and I met up at the 606 Club in Lots Road. There we joined John Liammari and the group from the art exhibition. There was a modern jazz piano-led trio, again an excellent group of musicians. After the last set John got up and did a rousing medley in contrast to the previous music. He is 91 and still got it. Another enjoyable evening.

After all this carousing my penance was in the form of going without heating for three weeks due to an erratic boiler.(I’ve met some of them in my life) Apparently the fan in it was faulty but I’m still waiting. Perhaps they’ll finally turn up as promised. Of course the weather has finally improved and I’ve saved on my gas bill. It can’t all be bad.

The blues ain’t nothin…

After receiving a number of enquiries concerning Chris Youlden I met up with him for a drink. He’s still having problems with his leg ulcers but we had a good catch-up in his local. Unfortunately he still finds it hard to travel much though we will be going to see Bettye Lavette at Camden soon.

I went to “Ain’t nothing but…” in Kingly Street the other day and caught up with Matt Radford and the Blues Legends. It’s a really cooking band and I had an enjoyable evening. I also was glad to see Rob running the place again and also was pleased to say hello to Kevin, the first time for ages. I must get down there more often.

I’m playing at The Squirrel again this Friday with the usual line-up. Al; Vincent and Jon t-bone Taylor on guitars, Steve Taylor on bass and Mel Wright on drums. We have been promised a couple of songs from jazz singer Miss Valentine who also does a session there once a month so it looks like turning into a good evening as there might be one or two other people sitting in.