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.
The gig at the Squirrel went well and it was good to see Brian Neville again. He turned up with a couple of large photographs of me on stage at the Hundred Club on what must have been my 65th birthday bash there. The original photos were taken by Jimmy Appudurai-Chua and when the landlord of the Squirrel saw them he commandeered one for the pub. It now hangs in a frame on the wall there. I didn’t make the blues hall of fame but I am number one in the Squirrel Hall of Fame. I didn’t realise I was so good looking, (Actually I know someone who still thinks I am.)
Talking of Gigi, she and I went to an exhibition of drawings and paintings where we ran into John A Liammari from Yonkers, New York. He played in a club there back in the day on piano with Frank Sinatra. I had to leave early but Gigi stayed on and then went to the Squirrel with John and his daughter and a group of friends. The outcome of that evening was that we arranged to meet up again before John returned to the States.
The reason I left early, was to meet up with Chris Youlden and Jon T-bone Taylor at the Spread Eagle in Camden. We had a quick drink there then went on to The Jazz Café Where we enjoyed the Bettye Lavette concert. She has a great bunch of musicians backing her and as usual was well received. After the show we ended up at the Camden Eye for last knockings. No surprise there then,
A couple of days later Gigi and I met up at the 606 Club in Lots Road. There we joined John Liammari and the group from the art exhibition. There was a modern jazz piano-led trio, again an excellent group of musicians. After the last set John got up and did a rousing medley in contrast to the previous music. He is 91 and still got it. Another enjoyable evening.
After all this carousing my penance was in the form of going without heating for three weeks due to an erratic boiler.(I’ve met some of them in my life) Apparently the fan in it was faulty but I’m still waiting. Perhaps they’ll finally turn up as promised. Of course the weather has finally improved and I’ve saved on my gas bill. It can’t all be bad.
After receiving a number of enquiries concerning Chris Youlden I met up with him for a drink. He’s still having problems with his leg ulcers but we had a good catch-up in his local. Unfortunately he still finds it hard to travel much though we will be going to see Bettye Lavette at Camden soon.
I went to “Ain’t nothing but…” in Kingly Street the other day and caught up with Matt Radford and the Blues Legends. It’s a really cooking band and I had an enjoyable evening. I also was glad to see Rob running the place again and also was pleased to say hello to Kevin, the first time for ages. I must get down there more often.
I’m playing at The Squirrel again this Friday with the usual line-up. Al; Vincent and Jon t-bone Taylor on guitars, Steve Taylor on bass and Mel Wright on drums. We have been promised a couple of songs from jazz singer Miss Valentine who also does a session there once a month so it looks like turning into a good evening as there might be one or two other people sitting in.
I never seem to get it with Facebook. Mind that’s because I didn’t bother with it until recently. Likewise Linked-in. I merely joined these things because people suggested they were useful. They omitted to tell me they are useful if you understand how to use them effectively. My problem is that every time I want to respond to something or some-one on either, I’m constantly being asked for my password, which obviously I forget more often than I remember. There’s probably a simple solution to this but so far I haven’t sorted it. The bottom line is that I sometimes leave it too late to respond to requests and lose the chance to do so. So anyone who hasn’t received an adequate response so far, deserves an apology, but then I’d have to know my password or get another one…and I actually am in favour of the digital age, or at least until some clown on a mobile steps in front of me when I’m driving. Whilst I may possibly conceive that I would assist a suicide if necessary, I’d like to be asked first.
Well, wasn’t that little paragraph a change from my usual description of my various pub crawls. Suffice to say that I have been doing the usual rounds. Why, only the other day I proceeded on one starting at the Cock and Bottle, well almost, because when I got there it was to find it closed for refurbishment. I dread to think what will produce. On then to Finch’s in Portobello Road and then to The Castle likewise. Met a few auld acquaintances before making my way homewards via The Metropolitan and The Squirrel, where I will be playing next week, on Friday the 13th just before Valentine’s night. So all those people who worry about being unlucky on Friday the 13th will probably be just as unlucky on Valentine’s night too. That’s why we need to keep pubs viable so they have somewhere to drown their sorrows. And me a cynical optimist. Here’s no accounting for distaste…time for a drink!
Had a great Christmas day with family and friends and was looking forward to the Boxing Day gig at the Squirrel. When I loaded my car it was pouring with rain so I moved it to a parking spot outside the pub early in the afternoon and walked back home, getting soaked in the process. However about seven o’clock I was told that they were trying to get hold of me.
I called the Squirrel and was told they were cancelling the gig as there was no-one in the pub and they hadn’t done any good all day.. I then tried to get hold of the various musicians, some of whom were already on their way. Eventually I managed to get them turned around and that was that.
The next day Gigi and I were in the pub and Jason, the manager apologised and gave us another gig. That will be on Friday January 16th at 9 in the evening, The band will be Alan Vincent on guitar, Jon T-bone Taylor, guitar, Steve Taylor, Bass, Mel Wright on drums and myself on vocals and harp. My apologies to anyone who turned up and I hope you can make it next time.
Yesterday I had to go to hospital to get a couple of Injections in my shoulders to ease the pain from torn ligaments…too much lifting of heavy PA speakers, I guess. I wish everyone a great New Year’s Eve celebration and hope you all have a beneficial year ahead. I might even make a resolution or two.
I managed somehow to get a badly infected big toe a few weeks ago so I hobbled along to a nearby walk-in, or should I say limp-in, clinic. They diagnosed an in-growing toe nail and said I should toddle along to another walk-in clinic at 8a.m. the next day, in Parsons Green, my old stamping ground from my earliest days in London. Here, after battling through the Monday morning rush hour, the diagnosis was an infection and the treatment was a dose of antibiotics. Ah the benefits of a second opinion.
The treatment worked well and the pain receded after a few days and I was able to walk normally, though the calf muscles had cramped up so much during the time when I was trying to decide whether I was hobbling, limping or attempting to emulate the funny walks brigade. I was due to return for a follow-up visit on the Monday but on Friday I was in a lot of pain in my chest and back and finally was persuaded by friends and family and a phone call from a GP, that I should go along to an accident and emergencies department, which I duly did.
They took my blood pressure which was 193 or thereabouts and decided to run me through the mill with blood tests, X-rays ECG scans, Ultrasound scans and yet more blood tests. I have a heart problem which gets checked every year, so they were pretty thorough and finally decided that I wasn’t having a heart attack or anything that necessitated keeping me in overnight, so after about six hours I was released and got to The Squirrel pub in time for the last few numbers of the band and time to say hello to Chris Hunt. Pain killers did the trick over the weekend and by Monday I was fit enough to return to the Parsons |Green clinic where they gave me the all-clear. As I went after the rush hour I was able to celebrate in the pub next door, The White Horse, another old haunt of mine.
The following weekend, I met up with Chris Youlden for a drink and we compared health notes as he had had a few incidents in his ongoing leg treatment, part of which meant limping along to an unscheduled clinic visit to get new bandages and dressings for his leg as his regular nurse was away, I also was able to let him hear one of his songs on my I-pad which has been covered by Bettye Lavette and will be released in January. Finally, continuing the music theme, I am playing every six weeks at the Squirrel (see events), The next two gigs are on Boxing Day and Friday the 13th of February. Is some-one trying to tell me something?