Review of the year – Ken Peace

Posted on: Wednesday, Dec 31, 2008

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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!

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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.

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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.

Cadillac Kings

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.



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Ken

December 31st, 2008 at 10:29
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So what are your highs and lows of 2008? What are you looking forward to in 2009?

Either email me, add a comment to a post or use the contact me page of this site.

Happy New Year!
Ken

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Pete Evans

December 31st, 2008 at 11:41
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As tour organiser to the Biscuit, I feel it my honour bound duty to expand slightly on the “Highs” and “Lows” of Ken’s year although “Expand” is probably not the right word to use for his low point … I think we should just say that the rickety old loo at CatHead was hit by “The Phantom Floater of Delta Street!!”

As regards the high point – all I can say is that if we ever find who moved the supporting concrete pillar in the underground car park at The Comfort Hotel in Downtown Memphis, we’ll ‘ave ‘im. Certainly one must commend the durability of the Chrysler PT Cruiser, such was the impact of car against pillar – however not a mark showed on the bumper. I think those of us in the other car are still aching from laughing so much!!
Nice one Ken and a great review – let’s look forward to a great 2009.

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Jimbo

December 31st, 2008 at 14:14
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My highs of 2008 were seeing Ray Owen and Juicy Lucy rocking the Jan Skeggie rock and blues fest to a memorable close, on a more sadder note he has since suffered major health problems and we may not see the like again, although he is going to try rehearsals in Jan, lets hope his lungs hold out, the band won’t be the same without him !!

Good luch Ray !

Two excellant concerts by Andy Fairweather Low at Colne, and more recently at Pacific Road, this guy just gets better and better !!

Meeting one of my heroes at Colne, the wonderful Mr Bob Stroger, what made it even more pleasurable was that he wasn’t listed, and I don’t think anyone knew he was playing beforehand, I certainly didn’t

There’s too many to list, but I can’t omit the three excellant gigs at the Academy in Buckley, it’s my home town, and we’ve waited so long for something like this, let’s hope that (if) and when they return they get the support they deserve, and thanks to all who supported the ones we’ve already had !!!!

Not many lows I can think of, I missed Maryport for the second year (tight purse strings I’m afraid ) and we’d already decided to go to Colne instead, I have no regrets on that decision because we had an excellant weekend, notably thanks to the aforementioned AFL,Albert Lee, Steve Cropper, Dr Feelgood ( yes I know I’ve seen them a zillion times, but they were still on fire )Nine below zero, again I’ve seen them loads, but this time they were exceptional !!

Downside of Colne was the non-apearance of Wilko, and Colin Blunstone, but still a fabulous weekend !!!!!

Looking forward to in 2009, definately going to pencil in a date at Worthenbury, I havn’t been to a Hooker’s gig since they left the college, I’m ashamed to admit !!!! and a hopeful return to Maryport, definately on the agenda are trips to both Skegness next month and Colne !!!!

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Grahame

January 2nd, 2009 at 20:53
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Agree with Jimbo about Andy Fairweather Low – didn’t manage to slip into my review, but a great gig at Pacific Road – a bit of everything in two hours – some gospel, blues, country and of course the big Amen Corner hits. Surprised by what a fine guitar player he is – mind you if you are in Eric Clapton’s band for 11 years you can’t be no slouch! Went to Big Boy Bloater at The Academy in Buckley – what a fine venue, and look forward to hopefully some more visits in 2009.