Review of the year – Ken Peace
Posted on: Wednesday, Dec 31, 2008
Highlight of the year – the fantastic build quality of the Chrysler PT Cruiser.
Lowpoint – the disappointing plumbing in the toilet of CatHead in Clarksdale.
Not a lot of blues for me this year. Compared to previous years I have been to fewer gigs, watched fewer DVDs and listened to fewer CDs. I don’t think that this reflects on the quality of the music more as a reflection of my change of lifestyle. With busy weeks working and travel that often rule out midweek gigs and tend to reduce my desire to leave the house at the weekends. When you are away a lot of the time, a night in your own house, at home, with a bottle of nice Rioja and a DVD is very sweet indeed.
Like previous years I have listened to more spoken word than music. The BBC have a fantastic range of podcasts available that I listen to very often on my iPod. However looking at my “Most played” stats for the year show that my most listened to tune was the Igor Prado band “Hoo-Ray For Hoo-Raw” and the the most listened to CD the fabulous “Inspiration Information” by Shuggie Otis.
The CD that I regret most not buying is Lightnin Malcolm and Cedric Burnside – many Saturday nights I have fancied reliving their excellent shows at the Biscuit but I did not take my opportunity to purchase so I will have to look for a UK source.
Live highlights were of course the fabulous Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival. A fantastic experience for me, my first US festival. What an atmosphere, what a line-up!
I had some excellent nights at some of the blues clubs in my area: in Liverpool at John Welsh’s fabulous Liverpool Marina, Ray O’Hare’s long running Warrington Club and of course the Welsh juke joint at Worthenbury. My highlight of the club shows, probably, Hamilton Loomis in Liverpool, for the showmanship, the great UK band (¡Yes – I know! – it’s not often I say that eh?) and my topper ringside seats.
I can’t fail to mention the stunning show by John Cleary at Maryport – possible the best band I have ever seen. I spent the, all to short, show a mixture of open mouthed, smiling ear to ear or stifling back the tears. Truly brilliant! I am really looking forward to another UK tour in 2009.
Another thing that I am looking forward to in 2009 is travelling less with work and seeing more music here in Blighty. I am also looking forward to blowing some harp with my old mate Neil Partington in some infrequent returns for my old band Down at Antone’s. Watch this space for details.
In 2008 bluesinthenorthwest.com has continued to enlarge, with readership increasing slowly but surely throughout the year. I do my best to post interesting and relevant material but I am always on the lookout for more contributors, more ideas, more feedback and more interaction. So tell me what you want. Write a review of the blues gigs that you have seen. I don’t run this site for vanity, I am trying to provide a service that I could see was lacking. In the last three years, hopefully I have gone some way to resolving that gap but we can always do better. Help me.
My sincere and heartfelt thanks to the contributors to this site – writers and photographers. Without your help I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago. I would also like to thank the many bluesinthenorthwest.com commenters for providing much valued interaction and interest.
Thanks also to the promoters, artists and musicians. Then, of course, the fine, fine blues fans of this region that make the blues so special and treasured. I’ll see you out there in 2009. I’ll be the large guy with a beer, complaining about the lack of good British tapas, identifying the shuffle technique of the drummer and analysing the nuances of the harmonica tone to anyone who will listen.