The Obscuritones came to the studio yesterday and made perfect guests for my last show of this series. I normally steer away from having Bands on with so many members due to the small space at Resonance but I had heard them through a door whilst they were rehearsing a while back and thought it would be worth the chaos. Of course that’s easy for me to say as its Francisco that has the hard task of setting them up and getting them a good sound.All I have to do is hope that everyone feels relaxed and enjoys the experience.
I had met Phil (drummer) a couple of weeks back and its obvious that he is one of the good guys , a hard worker who clearly really believes in this Band and so he should as they delivered a tight sharp set in the studio with plenty of sparkle from Jane and Joey on vocals.Not easy to do first thing on a Sunday when you have had a late one performing in Wales the night before!
Hugh did some beautiful guitar work,really fluid and understated.He seems very unaware of what a good player he is,which appears to be a common theme with this Band.They have a lot more muscle than they realize.
You then have Andy on double bass. Here is a guy totally at ease when playing, driving the drums and guitars and holding it all together. What is also nice about this Band is having another female on board which is Sam playing acoustic rhythm guitar for that authentic rockabilly sound.Sam was full of cold but of course as soon as the red light went on, Dr Theatre took hold and she performed faultlessly.
Finally Phil who as I suspected from meeting him is one of those players who really listens,tunes right in to what the Band are doing to give that gorgeous swing that made it impossible for me to keep still!
Having six on meant I just got a taste of their lives and loves with me having to cut Jane’s track and conversation very short as the hour was up before we knew it.
Were they worth the chaos of chairs and cables and instruments everywhere? Absolutely,in fact I have already invited them back on….better warn Francisco though!
How to have a smile put on your face: Have Paul Lamb arrive at Resonance Studios wearing snakeskin boots with a bottle of red wine in his hand. Now here’s a man who knows what he likes , knows what he is doing and definitely knows how to have a good time! Its very clear that this man is completely dedicated to music and has an absolute drive to always be improving, which after listening to the sounds he got out of his harp , seems near impossible.I have had some great harp players on my show all with very individual styles but Paul created such sweet notes that it was like a bird singing. The way that Chad (guitar/vocals ) and Paul melded together was pure magic.Giving each other room to show off their chops while still being sensitive to the songs showed that these two have enormous respect for each other and the artists who’s songs they cover. Most working class Northerners I know never take themselves seriously but they do take what they do seriously,that vibe from Paul merging with Chad’s South London boy easy charm makes for a great mix.
Paul had some very funny stories to tell from his day’s starting out which he can recall so vividly it was very easy to get a real feel of what it must have been like.
My over riding thought of spending time with Paul and Chad was that there’s two men who discovered at a young age a passion for music, away to express themselves through their instruments and have stayed true to themselves, kept on their own path. Many a man would be very envious of that.
It makes perfect sense why their duo CD is called “Going down this Road “. If you are lucky enough to have them at a venue near you, don’t stay in and watch your box set, go and be part of what musicians do best when they do what they love and that’s put a smile on your face.
It seems my show has turned in to the who’s who of the most famous harmonica players. Last week Mark Feltham and on tomorrows show Paul Lamb.He will be joined by guitarist/vocalist Chad Strentz from Paul’s Band ” Paul Lamb and the King Snakes”. They are another Band who go out in different formats to keep working,which is great for me as I get to hear them stripped back,the real core of who they are. I feel sure I am in for a real treat with these guy’s not only with their live set but stories from their packed full musical past.
You always know when not only are you around real pro’s but also real gentleman when they walk in to the Resonance studios exactly as the church clock outside strikes 11am. The precise time I had asked my guests Dennis Greaves and Mark Feltham to arrive. Why would I bother to mention that? Because it speaks volumes about the type of guy’s they are. It shows they gave myself, Francisco ( engineer) and Resonance the same commitment as doing a session at some big station. You just know that you are going to have a great show right from the off with that kind of attitude.The first thing that really struck me was how sharp they both dressed. Two very strong ,charismatic men with an easy going relaxed charm. It was the first time they had performed on Radio as a duo so I felt very lucky that they had given me their time and I was able to sit so close and listen to one of the best live sets I have ever had on the Show. It shone through that they have worked together since teenagers ,so tuned in to each other with their voices blending beautifully. I actually had hairs stand up on my arms ,they were that good.
What I really took from spending time with them is their passion for music, as if they had just started out. Their desire to always push themselves, to go outside of their comfort zone, to deliver something fresh and exciting for the audience and most importantly to always be learning. If you ever needed to be shown what a strong work ethic is then these two could be the poster guys for it!
To have that sort of drive after all this time in a profession which notoriously can spit out a once nice musician in to a jaded cynic show’s what genuinely cool dudes they are.
Thank you Dennis and Mark for renewing my belief that nice guy’s do exist and do succeed!
I am really excited that tomorrow I will have Dennis Greaves and Mark Feltham from legendary R&B Band Nine Below Zero on my show. Dennis and Mark have started doing duo gigs so I will be lucky enough to be sat right next to them when they perform a live set in the studio.
These guys have shared the stage with everyone from Chuck Berry,Eric Clapton,Sting, The Who ,The Kinks ….the list goes on. The thing that will be frustrating for me is only having an hour with them as I know with all their history I will only scratch the surface.Looking forward to seeing what chosen tracks from their past they bring along too, just have to hope they love being on the show so I can invite them back on to continue what I am sure what will be a really interesting show.
Yep the day’s are shorter and the heating’s back on. Thank heavens for good friends like Andy and Carole who after my show on Sunday invited myself and guitarist Sandy over for the most amazing late Lunch with fine wines,Calvados and piles of Vinyl to look through which they have recently been left by a dear friend. We left clutching a load of Mono albums to play and a gift to Sandy of The Small faces Ogdens Nut Gone flake with the wonderful pull out artwork.Oh happy day’s!
My play list on Sunday 15th September :
1. Stefan Grossman – Blues Ain’t Dry
2. Tony Joe white – Polk Salad Annie
3. Eric Bibb – Shavin Talk
4. Skip James – Devil Got My Woman
5. Gary Clark Jr – Don’t Owe You A Thang
6. Captain Beefheart – Grown So Ugly
7. Tame Impala – The Bold Arrow of Time
8. Dirt Trainload – Gotta Go
9. Billy Childish Thee Headcoats – Just Like A Dog
10. Jack White – Hypocritical Kiss
11. Vince Taylor – Brand New Cadillac
12. The Sex Pistols – Problems
Andy sadly died on 23rd July 2013. This Sunday I will be repeating the Show from May 2011 when Andy was my guest. I had met him at a “What’s Cookin’ ” Night at The Sheep Walk in Leytonstone (My Band was on before him). He arrived with his shopping trolley which housed his Amp and other equipment. We immediately got on and had a good natter about different people we both knew. He struck me as someone who was honest and straight. No bullshit kind of guy.He was frustrated like most musicians in London at the quality of gigs on offer but of course like all good performers once he was on stage he gave his all regardless of how many were in the audience or how the Venue had treated him. I remember another gig at Filthy McNasty’s ,Andy had performed and he was asking me afterwards if I thought the crowd had liked it and maybe he had done some wrong song choices. They had loved him but as with most great frontmen they are a strange mixture of confidence and insecurities.After all the gigs he had done and all the praise he had received , he still needed approval and wanted to do his best.My Band then went on to support him a few times when he joined The Killer B’s, real heavyweights. I saw a completely different kind of performer with this Band.From gritty ,dark and brooding to busting out some James Brown type moves. I was really surprised. I liked seeing this side to him,much sexier,cooler ,very different to his solo gigs. Again at all these gigs we would chat and moan and laugh and share our “Front Person” anxieties. It hard to believe I wont be seeing him again. I thought I would be doing many more gigs with him. Sometimes in life you meet people that you feel you have always known. Andy was one of those people. He will be very missed.
I am still in summer cocktail mode,so much so I forgot to do a post for my show on Sunday! I am back for a six week stint,before Resonance are off to Derry ( City of Culture 2013) to do some interesting Shows that will be broadcast 12pm -2pm on Sunday and I will be busy with my Band touring in Italy.
Resonance are holding a benefit Concert 11th September,looks like a good night and for a worthy cause.
RESOFIT � a stand-up benefit for Resonance104.4fm
featuring Stewart Lee + Shazia Mirza + Rob Newman + Lewis Schaffer + Rosie
Wilby + Baconface
at the Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon St, London WC1H 0AH
11 September 2013 at 7.30pm. Tickets: �20, �17.50 concs.
My play list on Sunday was :
1. Kill it Kid – Your’re in my Blood
2. Babajack – Skin and Bone
3. Little Barrie – Tip it over
4. Little Axe ( Skip McDonald) – Come here dog and get your bone
5. King Size Slim – Milk Drunk
6. Chicken Legs Weaver – After Dark, My lovely
7. Jessie Mae Hemphill – Black Cat Bone
8. June Carter – Jukebox Blues
9. Lonnie Donnegan – Frankie and Johnny
10. Hound Dog Taylor – Give Me Back my Wig
11. Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues
Here is my track list from the show. Lots of great raw Blues.
1. Wolf Club Lunar Society – When 9 ‘O clock Strikes
2. The Fallen Leaves – Trouble
3. Black Corsair – Black Heart
4. The Untouchables – Joy Train
5. John Fairhurst – Up On The Hill
6. Alex Haynes and The Fever – That’s Just Bad Timing
7. Jessie Mae Hemphill – Go Back To Your Used To Be
8. Othar Turner – Shortnin Henduck
9. J.D McPherson – Wolf Teeth
10. J.B Lenoir – The Whale has Swallowed Me
11. Schoolboy Cleve – She’s Gone
12. Stoneblower – Jesus Christ
Yep tomorrow is my last show as Resonance closes for August. In fact it could be my last show ever as I still haven’t been told the new schedule for September. Well what will be will be and if this is it I have loved every minute. I have met so many amazing musicians and have become great friends with many of them too. I always feel inspired after the show, whether its to write more songs ,be a better performer or just to remember how good life generally is and how lucky I am to be doing what I love. I shall have a couple of world exclusives tomorrow with some never heard before songs by past guests on the show and also some great raw Blues tracks from the past given to me by Alex Haynes. I am off now to enjoy this glorious evening….