A while back I did a video interview at my local pub for the National Blues Archive which was arranged by Stevie King whose band are regulars at the Coach & Horses in Leytonstone. He was accompanied by Steve Taylor who did the actual video work. Naturally part of the interview seemed to involve drinking. I’m not sure that will contribute much to the history of British Blues but you never know.
A month ago I did a gig with Jon T-bone Taylor at Ravenscourt Park. All the ingredients were there including waking up at three a.m. with a really hacking cough as part of the necessary preparation. Incidentally, the cough has continued for the last few weeks and doesn’t seem to show any signs of ending anytime soon. For some strange reason this also involved some pre gig drinking, so perhaps it is a contributing factor in blues playing. Anyway the gig was in the Ravenscourt Greenhouses, a novel venue and one I’ve never encountered before. Despite the cough I managed to get through the gig and even received some complimentary remarks about the voice. This kind of compliment, for very good reasons, has never happened before, so even though it was painful, I enjoyed the gig. There was of course some post gig drinking as a kind of medical relief.
A week after that I did a gig at the Chippenham which is a pub at the end of my street. This fortunately was not an acoustic gig. It had been arranged by T-bone and included him on guitar, with my original sixties drummer Mel Wright and Steve Taylor on bass. Yes, that is the aforementioned Steve Taylor involved with the National Blues Archive and drink had nothing to do with the booking. Steve’s wife Bonny had come along with him and she turned out to be a singer too so I had more than a breather thanks to her joining us on stage. The outcome of all this carousing was that we got booked back with another five gigs approximately every six weeks. Unfortunately Mel can’t do all of them because of prior commitments so I’ll arrange a dep when he’s not available.
I then arranged to see a doctor about the cough, but though I was told it was to do with my throat rather than my chest, there wasn’t a lot she could do for it. She did however suggest that I cut down on my drinking. I’m not sure where the logic is here, because I was completely sure that the drinking eased the cough more than a bit. Suffice to say that I did not immediately go to the pub for consolation.
I did however, some days later, end up in another pub, a Witherspoons near the Wimbledon Theatre to meet Chris Youlden, who is a bit of an expert on hoarse voices and singing. After mulling over such matters of moment, we then discussed the forthcoming gig at Banbury, The Blues |Attic Revisited Festival. We will be getting together before then to finalise the show, so perhaps my voice will be better by then, after a few more drinks of course. Talking of which, tonight Gigi and I are going to meet Jim Mercer to help him celebrate his birthday. I’ll take a few harps along at Jim‘s behest. As the gig may be acoustic I‘ll have to have a drink or two beforehand. There is no rest for the wicked..