The birthday bash was very successful with a nice turnout including my daughters, grandsons and great-grandsons all pitching. The band of Mel, Alan, Steve and Brian delivered the goods and we were entertained with an interval set from Michelle Buckingham.This was just the beginning, and she was followed by Bonny and Carmen on vocals, Peter and T-bone on guitars, Phil on sax, plus Eddie, on harp and vocals, then Big Joe, with Brian and Laurie, doing their own little Bob’s Goodtime Blues revival set. A big thank you to everyone.
Chris Youlden was unable to make it because of illness. He has been through the mill this year, almost dying in hospital around Christmas last from pneumonia complications, then having to have loads of fluid pumped from his lungs. This was followed by some deterioration in his bone structure around the legs. This has been dealt with now but will take some three months or so to heal. When I phoned he was having his regular visit from a nurse doing his leg ulcer dressing. I look forward to his improvement and a get-stogether for a beer and a proper catch up.
The line-up for the birthday bash on Saturday 30th September will be Alan Vincent on guitar, Steve Taylor on keyboards, Brian Diprose on bass and Mel Wright on drums with yours truly on vocals and harmonica. There are also a few guests coming along to augment the chaos, so it should be a fun night as long as some upstart doesn’t play Happy Birthday. The band start at eight and of course it’s free entry and open to all.
The gig is at The Maxilla Social Club, 2 Maxilla Walk, London W10 6NQ. A number 7 Bus will drop you in St Mark’s Road or a number 295 or 316 stops in Bramley Road just up from Latimer Road Station, which is, of course, closed, as are all the stations between Hammersmith and Baker Street that weekend, thank you London Underground.
The gig at St Harmonica’s was interesting. I walked from the nearest tube which was fine for a while then I turned into the road where the gig was situated and the road became a hill. A hill which became steeper and steeper. It was even steeper when I realised that I had passed the gig. However, once inside, the first to arrive apart from the guy behind the bar, the hill became even steeper when he told me that they took cash only and the nearest atm was further up the hill. Boy did I need that drink when I got back!
The gig itself was really enjoyable except for the embarrassing bit when Paul Lamb introduced me. However he reprieved himself later by joining us for a couple of numbers. Thank you Mr Lamb. After the gig, we were offered another date, but I was going to be in Brussels so I couldn’t take it. Here’s to the next time because St Harmonica’s is a great gig for a friendly club atmosphere.
The trip to Brussels was for a wedding which Gigi and I had been invited and it was a two day and night affair, with great food and wine. We stayed on for a week and enjoyed the holiday and will almost certainly go back there in future.
My next outing was a spot at The Coach and Horses in Leytonstone which with the help of Alan Vincent and Steve Taylor went easier than I had hoped. A lift back to the station got Gigi and I there in time for the last train home, thanks Bonny.
The next outing was at a gig for Grenfell Tower community support at Maxilla Gardens Social club. The stage was outside the club and there was a lot going on with arrangements for kids to have fun and various acts on the music stage, choirs, drum bands, reggae and even an opera singer, Jennifer Coleman who went down much better than she had expected. Well done Jennifer. Our own set was with Todd Sharpville, Steve Taylor and Neil Littman. For the final two numbers we had the added benefit of Chad Strenz on vocals. Thanks again guy. You were great and it was in a good cause.
After the gig I was able to get the use of the Social club for my 80th birthday bash which will be open to all and free. It’s near Latimer Road Tube station, haunt of the old Bob’s Goodtime Blues days, so will be a bit nostalgic. It will be on the last Saturday in September, the 30th, a few days before my actual birthday. Alan Vincent , Steve Taylor and Mel Wright
have signed up for it and it should be fun.
The gig at THe Spice of LIfe for tales From The woods event for the Ray Dexter cancer organisation produced a gret line-up of musicians and the house band were cooking Jon T-Bone Taylor and I did our bit to get things underway and the evening a great occasion. Long may such gigs continue.
My next band gig will be at St Harmonica.s Blues Club which has a great reputation of putting on the blues.The Band is Alan Vincent, guitar, Steve Taylor Bass, Mel Wright Drums and myself. It’s good to have Mel back on board after his first course of treatment, and I am certainly looking forward to it. I’ve had some really bad asthma going on but it seems to have eased up again for now. Can’t wait
The new years eve gig at the Union, which was a last minute dep for Eddie Gee’s band, started as a trio, but became a quartet on the night and when George sat in on sax for a few numbers, a quintet. It went down really well and made a fitting end to the old year because, despite the loss of so many influential musicians worldwide, the music goes on.
The Union is now closed for a while for refurbishing but is a contender for Camra pub of the year competition. Let’s hope it wins. The problem now is where to go until it opens.. It’s obviously not the only pub I use but it is handy because it’s close to home. The obvious replacement would appear to be the Squirrel but as they no longer have ales, having sealed off the old bitter taps, and have given up on music, there is little incentive. I guess the alternatives are The Metropolitan or Angie’s as they are both close by. I still use the Castle and Finch’s on the Bello of course, but they are further afield. I was in Finch’s just the other day and surprise ,surprise, it’s that time of year again. The barman warned me that the price had gone up/ I informed him that I was used to that and when I first started drinking there in 1963, the prices were much lower, though not that cheap at the time, either.
One of the gigs I did at the Squirrel was for the then manager Laura George and her father Ian had been visiting and really liked the band. As a result, Laura decided to give him a surprise Party for his sixtieth birthday and booked the band. This was at the Six Bells in St Albans, an old haunt of mine back in the late fifties. The band were myself, Alan Vincent, Steve Taylor and Mel Wright and it was really enjoyable and Laura did her dad proud with a great turnout of Ian’s friends and family. Now, back to the present, I have no gigs and life is much as usual. To rub salt into the wound, Mel Wright reminded me that we first started playing together fifty years ago. Is someone trying to tell me something?
On New years Eve Eddy and the Wild Dice were supposed to be doing the gig at The Union Tavern but he has had a change of heart and will do a gig in his home town of Bristol, instead. He asked me to step in for him with a couple of his band who as it happens work with me too, so not really a problem. The other musicians are Jon T-bone Taylor on guitar and Neil Littman on drums. There may even be the odd guest so it could be a nice last minute arrangement.
I will be playing a gig in February with the full band at The Six Bells, St Albans, one of my really old haunts during my late teens. It will be a 60th birthday party gig for the father of Laura George who used to manage the Squirrel when I first started playing there. I might even get to meet up with some of my family who live in the area. The best of luck to everyone in the new year.