A while back I came across a forum on the subject of “The Real Deal” with regard to the blues. It was the usual disagreement on whether white people could call themselves “the real deal” if they played blues. Naturally there were the usual collection of bigots, the misinformed, or people plainly not using their basic intelligence on the subject. This applied to both sides of the argument. I almost questioned myself on whether I regarded myself as the real deal, but decided that it didn’t really matter that much.
As a matter of fact I don’t see myself as any kind of deal (though I am tempted to think of myself as “Ideal” – but the women in my life always put me right about that), but as I use the phrase “the blues for real” I suppose I could make some effort to justify it. I also used to use the phrase “Blues with a Feeling” as a hint of what I was trying to play back in the sixties. This of course pays tribute to Little Walter Jacobs, but was not intended to authenticate the music. That isn’t my scene.
I play the music because it reaches me in a way that no other music ever did. True, I did work on a farm, served overseas in the forces and bummed around the country, living rough for a while, but all of these events preceded my initiation into amplified blues and were not some pathetic effort to kid myself that I was “the real deal” as a blues musician. I am not downtrodden or dispossessed, I have not been beaten cruelly or unjustly, or have any of the other things happen to me, that black people had to endure in the States during the era that gave rise to blues music. In that regard, I thank my lucky stars and make no special claim to the music. However, the music has contributed to who I am now. As far as I’m concerned, the blues is real for me. Big Deal!
Next month will be the twentieth anniversary of a gig I did at the 100 Club in London with a band we called the Blueshawks. It was basically some of the guys from my early days, including Wolfie Witcher, Mel Wright, Bruce Langsman and Ron Skinner who had got together for the gig. I sat in with them after they had played their set and the whole thing was recorded with no particular intention of doing anything with it. However, Mel Wright and I decided to release it as a Cd after giving it a listen.
There’s one track on it which was an improvised instrumental and we decided to call it “100 Club Boogie” and use that track as the album title. The reason we have taken so long to get it together is because I have been a bit lax in getting in touch with Jeff Horton at the 100 club to okay it with him. I finally got that together and he’s happy with us to go ahead. Of course when we heard that the club was due to close it almost put the mockers on the project but anyway we’ll release it after Christmas. Talking of which, we shall not be at the Inn on the Green this month as Christmas festivities are clashing with the regular date. However, we should be back there in January.