Christmas Time is here again…

About ten years ago I injured a shoulder whilst performing some vague sort of flexibility exercise in one of my less sensible moments. (Yes, I too, occasionally have them).and lately it’s been getting worse so a medical check up and ultrasound scan showed the problem to be a badly torn tendon. A couple of injections at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital have done the trick. Well almost, because I did a bit too much dancing with Gigi, at a Meals on Wheels Christmas Dinner and Dance in Cricklewood, which undid some of the good. However it’s improved since. I just have to temper the dancing, I guess.

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Further on down the road

The funeral of  guitarist Bernie Pallo took place  at nine o’clock in the morning but despite the early hour, there was an excellent turn out. Friends and family came over from France to join many of his colleagues from Meals on Wheels and fellow musicians were there in force. His brother Jean talked of the early days when he and  Bernie were encouraged by their father to study music. They both started on piano accordion but their musical paths diverged eventually. I also said my piece and was followed by Bill Peters from Meals on Wheels. Continue reading

Bernie Pallo’s funeral

Bernie  Pallo’s Funeral will be at 9 am on Tuesday 15th November at the West London Crematorium, Harrow Road next to Kensal Green Cemetary. Buses 52 and 18 stop nearby and Kensal Green underground is the closest tube station. Unfortunately Chris Youlden is too ill to make it. The following day a few friends, including Gordon Smith and I, will collect his ashes and spread them according to his wishes.

I have arranged a wake gig at the Elephant and Castle, Elgin Avenue W9 on Wednesday evening starting at 8.30. The pub is at the Harrow Road end of Elgin. The line-up is Gordon Smith on guitar and vocals, Jim Mercer bass and vocals, Dino Coccia on drums and myself on harp and vocals.

Party time

I arrived at the riverboat last month just as it was about to leave, but I didn‘t have to do a pierhead jump. The gig itself was really enjoyable once I’d stopped trying to find my sea legs and sat down to perform. The band was Gordon Smith, Jim Mercer, Dino Coccia and myself and everybody seemed to enjoy it. The free food and drink helped to make it a memorable trip. The occasion was a fiftieth birthday celebration. On the following Friday Gigi and I went to Henley for another birthday party, this time a ninetieth for an ex-Battle-of-Britain pilot. Continue reading

“Ain’t that the truth”

Gordon Smith, Jim Mercer and I did a gig at the Freston Road housing co-op, which brought back memories of the declaration of the Independent Republic of Frestonia. back in the day….shades of the movie “Passport To Pimlico”. The gig was in the garden of the co-op and there was a very good African band on earlier. I hadn’t sung since I lost my voice for about a month, so I wasn’t sure how it would go, but things turned out fine and I really enjoyed the gig and the whole evening. Jon T-Bone Taylor turned up too so he’s doing okay again after his illness. Continue reading

Time Out

Nothing to be blue about at present except for the lack of gigs. True, I have got a private party gig on a riverboat in September. Hope the water’s not too cold, especially as Gigs and I have just come back from warmer climes in Mallorca. Not quite Thailand but a much shorter journey. Well not that short as we had to get to Gatwick at some god-forsaken hour of the morning to get an Easyjet flight and we had the same problem on the way back. However the actual holiday was greatly enjoyable…and greatly needed. Continue reading

Early days

A week or so ago I went for an early drink at “Ain’t nothing but…” in Kingly Street and ended up staying the whole evening. I met a Geordie there, Gordon Lees, and we talked about other Geordie acquaintances such as Paul Lamb, Gordon Smith and Johnny Whitehill.  He put me in touch with Johnny, who is now singing as well as playing guitar and is keeping busy. There was pretty good band playing there and a couple of them started the evening off early with a harp and guitar duo, which is why I stayed initially. I had a brief word with the harp player. Phil Hughes. The band is known as “11 foot sack” I believe and is well worth a listen. Continue reading

Blues and beyond

I visited The Blues Kitchen in Camden recently to hear Big Joe Louis and his band. They sounded great and seem to have worked up a new introductory routine. There was a good crowd and, apart from the fact that the pub doesn’t sell bitter, I enjoyed the night out. It was part of a week long festival and it is good to see plenty of people enjoying live blues. I was beginning to become a bit cynical about the current music scene, well perhaps not cynical so much as dispirited, so it was good to be reassured that all is not lost in London. I asked about getting a gig there and was given an email address, to which I responded the next day. So far the only response to my approach has been an email advertising a Rolling Stones memorial night. I always thought you had to be dead for a memorial night to be justified. Perhaps it was a tribute night instead. Still, I’m really bad about responding to emails myself so I live in hope. Continue reading

Leavin’ Blues

I managed to turn up late for Ron Skinner’s funeral and also had to go out before the ceremony finished as I wasn’t feeling too good. I managed to recover quite easily after going to the Catford Ram for the post-ceremony get-together, which was well attended. Tributes were paid By Mel Wright and Wolfie Witcher from the blues side of his life. Continue reading

Ron Skinner, bluesman

I just heard from Mel Wright that Ron Skinner, the original Shakey Vick Big City Blues Band bass player and vocalist has died. He was awaiting treatment for cancer but was too weak to receive any therapy. Ron was always a keen bluesman rather than a rock bluesman and it’s ironic that the recently released “Live at 100 Club” album includes him on it, with an amalgam of a couple of his old bands which we called The Blueshawks for that occasion.. Continue reading

Here’s one we made earlier

Met Mel Wright for a drink at the Blue Boar just behind the 100 Club the other day and took delivery of the live recording Cd’s “!00 Club Boogie.” I guess I’ll have to put it on the recordings page and perhaps in the pictures section too. As it was recorded about twenty years ago I used an older picture of me on the cover. I’ve used it before on the “Night After Night” album and it reminds me of when my hair had more colour and less grey. We will officially launch it on April 9th.
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Thought for the day

We won’t be doing the gig at the Inn on the Green this month as things are up in the air at the moment as I mentioned earlier. It’s one of those things that happen to musicians at any time so I should be resigned to it by now, but I have to say the whole music scene is depressing right now, as far as I’m concerned. Nobody supports live music in small venues the way they used to. Continue reading