Busy time in the Woods
This is the busiest time of the year for Keith Woods, the eponymous figurehead of the Tales from The Woods roots music collective. Not content with organising one event at the 100 Club in London he is organising two - a week apart. The first was a tribute to Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent - 50 years after their UK tour - and the second is his fourth tribute to the famous 2Is coffee bar where British rock and roll was born.
I wasn't able to attend the first TFTW event, but here are some comments from David Carroll, who was there for part of it: I saw two sets, the first of which was by Graham Fenton (Matchbox) with the TFTW Houseband. They sounded pretty good to me; John Spencely was particularly impressive, I thought. The other set was by Ervin Travis (from France) and his band (also from France?) performing songs by Gene Vincent. The similarity was spooky or uncanny if you prefer - he even had Vincent's eyes (fortunately he hadn't copied the aural deficiency of the other Vincent). This band was too loud for my liking. However, with the evening being a celebration of Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent, I felt that it was probably in the top three TFTW promotions so far.
I intend to go to the second event next Sunday, which is more to my taste, where the line up includes the great Margaret Lewis (pictured at the second 2Is event a couple of years ago), Roy Young, Tony Sheridan, Howie Casey, Terry Dene, Out of the Shadows (with Brian 'Licorice' Locking and Clem Cattini), Wee Willie Harris and Ray Duval.
Talking of line ups, the early news for this year's Porretta Soul Festival is that it will include Clay Hammond & Bruce James, Barbara Lynn, Candi Staton, Chick Rodgers, Theodis Ealey and Swamp Dogg. I'm not familiar with Chick or Theodis but Dave's research reveals that Melvia 'Chick' Rodgers (pictured) was born in Memphis and moved to Chicago where she came under the patronage/tutelage of Koko Taylor (Koko's daughter is her manager). There are various clips on YouTube showing her singing gospel at the Chicago Blues festival with her Gospel Harmonizers and singing blues and soul with a Dutch blues band. It appears that she has visited Holland at least twice and Dave reckons that, subject to the quality of the chosen material, she would be well worth seeing. As for Theodis Ealey, Dave has two CDs by him, Headed Back to Hurtsville and Stuck Between Rhythm and Blues, and he rates him as a soul.blues performer.
A few Final Words as usual: Robert 'Squirrel' Lester of the Chi-Lites has died aged 67; well known rocksteady performer Lynn Taitt has died aged 75 (here's a photo of his collectable 1968 LP on Bigshot); folk singer Kate McGarrigle (mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright) passed away aged 63, and country singer Carl Smith died aged 82. The list goes on and on.