So far no good…

Yesterday I met up with Chris Youlden and we had a good catch-up accompanied by very cheap beer, £1.99 a pint in a real ale Festival. Chris has just got over a bad cold but is still having problems with his legs so it was good to see him out and about again. However my cough which I’ve had at least three different treatments for, is still hanging on and I am in the middle of my fourth set of medication. So far no good. Actually a whiskey at bedtime did give me a cough-free night, though it was back to normal today.

We had a really enjoyable gig at The Elgin and it was good to see people from the old Station Tavern and Portobello Green days in the audience. They have a good sound engineer for the in-house PA and I really enjoyed the evening. Let’s hope there will be a few more in the future.

We will be back at The Squirrel next Friday so I guess I will have to get on the case to get some support as there wasn’t any live music there this Friday just gone. It will be the usual line-up and time, 8.30pm or so. Meanwhile New Zealand have just scored another try in the 78th minute so I guess the All Blacks are world champions again. Time to shut up shop now.

Party time.

Lots of birthday wishes thank you all. The birthday bash went well again with plenty of musicians and vocalists to help out. And I needed helping out because I’ve had this cough for months now and though I’ve been to the doctor three times and had God knows how many antibiotic and steroid pills the cough still persists and leaves me short of breath at times. I am now discovering the delights or otherwise of Ventolin inhalers,

A few days later I was in the Grand Union where the Portobello Brewers and Fullers Brewers were jointly sponsoring a charity for the Carnival. They had a raffle for various products, and I won one of 100 specially brewed bottled beers. Obviously I’m not fated to give up drinking yet. The other part of the promotion was a country blues duo who did a really good set. I was going to mention them here and took down their details but in my inimitable fashion managed to lose the information. Apologies to you guys.

This week we’ll be playing at The Elgin on the corner of Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park Road. The band as usual will be Alan Vincent and Jon T-Bone Taylor on guitars, Steve Taylor on bass and Mel Wright on drums. Although I’ve lived around the area for fifty odd years, I’ve never played the Elgin. I’m looking forward to it.

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.