Sky and Storm pass over
Blues, rock and roll, soul, fifties and sixties pop, cajun, jazz, folk, vinyl records, LPs, EPs, singles, New Orleans, Memphis, UK rock, nostalgia, girl groups, ska, rocksteady.
Charlotte Street Blues is a new blues bar in central London and it has the makings of being a really good venue. It has tasteful decor, reasonably priced drinks and promises blues seven nights a week with major live US acts most Saturdays. If future bands are anything like as good as Mississippi Heat who played there last night the club can't fail.
The Vinyl Word today says farewell to two of the greats of the last 30 or so years - Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.
My first trip to New Orleans was in 1989. Between the two Jazzfest weekends I drove around Louisiana and up to Memphis. I paid my respects at Graceland and Sun Studios and had a wander round Beale Street, which struck me as being like a film set. It wasn't crowded in those days and there were quite a few genuine black clubs, including the Club Royale where I think I was the only white patron and enjoyed a soul band called SRO. Just off Beale Street, byt the statue of W C Handy, I came across an intriguing ceremony taking place - the crowning of the 1989 Cotton King and Queen - apparently a tradition going back many years - by none other than Rufus Thomas. Sadly, Rufus died in 2001.During my journey around the deep south I kept crossing paths with the UK group who had gone to New Orleans with Festival Tours. One such occasion was at a gig at Mulate's restaurant in Breaux Bridge where Beausoleil were playing, with special guest Richard Thompson of Fairport Convention fame. Group leader Michel Duchet is to the right of Richard.
There are three interesting music obituaries in today's papers:
The Blues Estafette in Utrecht was an annual pilgrimage to witness some of the lesser known blues names plus one or two better known acts. The trip would begin in Dartford where we would meet up to begin the drive to Holland. Once there, the first evening would start with a 15 course Indonesian rijst-tafel, followed by an impromptu jam session in a local club with many of the acts from the festival taking part. Next day the festival itself was a marathon of 12 hours with virtually non-stop music on two stages. It was one of the great music events of the year, but sadly it no longer takes place.
The early sixties were a frustrating time if you were living in the UK and interested in American blues and soul music. The music got little or no airplay and finding out what was available amd actually getting to hear it was no easy matter. There was Radio Luxembourg of course and , later, the pirate stations, but there was much great music that was practically impossible to hear on the radio. So it was very much a voyage of discovery for teenagers, like me, living in suburbia and delving into these exotic black US sounds.
Here we are in the middle of the Twenty20 World Cup with typically cold, damp June weather and already Australia are out. Hooray! They will probably keep the Ashes later in the summer but at least we can snigger for the moment. Twenty20 may only be fun cricket, rather than the real thing, but it gets the public interested so it can't be a bad thing. I would like England to win, but if that's not possible I would like to see the West Indies triumph.
I've been trawling through my photos again and picked out some that might be of interest. First, here's Margaret Lewis and Kenny Bill Stinson at Jazzfest. Maggie was the undoubted star of last year's 2Is show at the 100 Club. Also at Jazzfest here's the photogenic zydeco queen Rosie Ledet.
For the last month or so The Vinyl Word has had no significant deaths to report, but it was too good to last. The Grim Reaper has struck in earnest with a trio of significant deaths in the last few days.
More photos from the album - this time of Woodies and friends pictured over the years. First, here's John Howard in deep conversation with Lazy Lester as John 'Soulboy' Jolliffe looks on.