It’s quite a while since I wrote anything here. It can’t have been all the partying I’ve been doing, although I did enjoy Christmas with my family. Nor has anything ultra-extraordinary happened in my life. On the contrary, it’s been pretty much déjà vu. Regular pub visits but not much in the way of music, at least not my kind of music. However, all is not lost.
A couple of months ago Jim Mercer asked me to join him in a gig at the Alley Cat in Denmark street, just off the north end of Charing Cross Road. It’s the sort of club I would consider running myself, not too big but spacious enough and near a tube station (Tottenham Court Road) and served by plenty of buses. We do a duo every other Tuesday, with Jim on guitar rather than his usual bass and we play during the happy hour, between six and eight. We had a break over Christmas and will be back on Tuesday 22nd January. Chris Youlden says he will make it that evening. In theory it keeps me out of trouble.
I’ve also agreed to do a gig at the White Lion in Streatham for a children’s charity which helps children in Nepal. For further details about the promotion go to the following website: events @music4children.org which gives some details about the White Lion and the way it ahs been changed into a community bar from what seems previously to have been a pretty run-down pub. Not that I have too much against run down pubs as long as they are still open. There is always hope of some improvement instead of the place becoming yet another Tesco local store, with or without beef burgers. The gig will be me, Dino Coccia on drums, Alan Vincent on guitar and possibly Jim Mercer on bass, but as he’s still in the Caribbean, I can’t confirm that yet. Chris is unable to do that particular gig but may do further ones should they arise.
I met Chris the other day to pass on some information and show him a video of Betty Lavette covering one of his songs. We met once more at the J.D. Wetherspoon’s on Charing Cross Road. Chris is doing okay with a few health niggles, but his wife is having quite a few problems, so I hope things pick up for her soon. I don’t think I’ve completely convinced him to get an I-pad but he seemed impressed at being able to watch the You-tube of Betty’s performance and then write and send a reply without having to leave the pub. I met Dino the next evening in the Princess Louise in Holborn. As I wrote previously; déjà vu. A belated Happy New Year to everyone.
Just before my birthday I met up with Chris Youlden, Mel Wright and Brian Diprose for a long overdue drink. We agreed to meet at the Wetherspoon’s pub on Charing cross Road and as there was a back entrance on Greek Street, I decided to enter from there. It was a surprise to see posters and photographs on the walls from the Marquee Club as I went in, until I realised that this had been one of the Marquee venues towards the latter days of the club. Once in the main part of the pub I was able to remember it better. The place is really spacious and with more than a nod to it’s musical past. The beer was up to usual Wetherspoon’s standards and I shall no doubt be frequenting the place more often in future. Another surprise was that Mel had finished his third novel and presented each of us with a copy.
It concerns a bunch of sixties people coming to terms with the fact that they aren’t getting any younger, well at least that’s my rather biased interpretation of it. It’s set in Hastings and the town also seems to be undergoing the problems of facing up to the recession. Mel has done an amazing amount of research on the town, including the saga of the end of Woolworths. One of the main characters is naturally a blues fan. I wonder who that is based on. I really enjoyed the book. It’ entitled One Thing And Another and is available from Dartford Forum Publishing for £4.99
The website is
My 75th birthday day bash went well and I’d like to thank everybody who turned up and partied. Also I have to thank Paul Lamb, Big Joe Louis, Laurie Garmon and Chris Youlden, among others, for sitting in and doing a great job. While I’m at it I should like to thank all those people who posted birthday wishes on facebook. Thanks too to the band, Jon T-bone Taylor, Jim Mercer and Pete Miles for the gig. Lastly I have to thank my partner Gigi and her friend Stephanie, for producing the cup-cake spectacular on the night. That is it as far as partying is concerned…well perhaps my 100th. Mmm maybe I’m the one who should be facing up to the reality of the past disappearing too.
So much for enjoying the fact that I had some more gigs. The reality is that the Chippenham gigs have now been cancelled after the manager departed at short notice. Rather than jump off the nearest tower block, I decided to move the gig on the 6th of October to the pub even closer to me in Chippenham Road. So my birthday blues celebrations will now be at The Red Squirrel at the junction of Elgin avenue and Chippenham Road, W9.
We’ll probably start the celebrations at about eight even though there may be an extension. That sounds like another alcoholic turbo boost.
The band will be Jon T-bone Taylor on guitar, Jim Mercer on bass and vocals, Pete Miles on drums and myself . Chris Youlden has confirmed he’ll be there too so a good night is a probable. So if anyone reading this knows anyone who’d intended to turn up at the Chippenham, please let them know of the change of venue.
Someone, possibly from Germany, as I think the name was Gerhardt, recently emailed me about buying two Cds, but it had gone into my spam box and when I tried to move it, it somehow got deleted. I then closed down the computer so the trash can got emptied too. Anyway, if that gentleman reads this, could he please email me again and I can apologise to him.
A few month’s ago, Jon T-bone Taylor and I were in the audience at the Chippenham, the pub at the end of the road I live in, enjoying the music of The Johnnie Nikki Band. A couple of week’s later we did a gig there ourselves and have managed to do about seven more since then, including some last-minute substitutions when other bands have pulled out. To think, a while back I was bemoaning the lack of gigs. I‘m beginning to enjoy playing again, though the place reminds me at times of what a rough Mississippi .back-country juke might have been, with the odd argument ending in a fight. Still, if you only play blues you have to take what you can get. On the scheduled gigs we get a number of blues people, but on the last-minute gigs we don’t get so many. Then it’s what I call a small but select audience, though I’d like to know who the hell selected them. Continue reading
A while ago Jon T-bone Taylor got me a gig at the Chippenham at the end of my road. As none of my regular band was available I got together a four-piece including Jon and we did the gig. At the end of the evening the manager gave me a list of dates up until Christmas, one gig every five or six weeks. We’ve continued to do those and in fact have been given another three extra gigs as well, when other bands have pulled out at the last minute Continue reading
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. Continue reading