My route to the Blues – Pete Evans
Posted on: Wednesday, Jun 13, 2007
Seeing my old mate Michael Ford from Keighley submitting his introduction to the blues prompted me to throw my hat into the circle.
Cast my mind back to the hot summer of 1966 and Rhyl outdoor baths and my attempts to get off with a gorgeous blonde girl from my year at school. Things were going fine until all of a sudden I heard this amazing guitar solo and the girl was forgotten for ever.
As with many others it was the “Beano” album and whilst I’d heard Clapton in The Yardbirds, I’d never heard anything like this.
A lad from the Welsh school (for you people from the wrong side of the border, it was a Welsh language school) had a battery powered record player and had just bought the album and it was my first real intro to 41 years of progressive anorakism (is there such a word?)
Rhyl was a comparative desert in terms of records but I was able to progress to Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack and then one day I found a copy of an album on Marble Arch entitled “The Blues” with tracks by Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf and the superbly titled Washboard Sam.
This was obviously what it was all about.
In the early 70’s at University in London I was able to waste my grant at Dobell’s Jazz Record shop in Charing Cross Road (sadly no longer there) and discovered more people like Elmore James, Lonnie Johnson, Otis Rush, Robert Johnson and many more, all on American imports. Little did I realise that one day I would meet many of these wonderful old men and have some absolutely amazing moments.
Who would have thought that that defining moment at the old outdoor baths at Rhyl would one day lead me to a Chicago southside blues bar and a Mississippi juke joint…. by the way, I can’t even remember that gorgeous blonde’s name!