Grahame’s Pick of the Year . . . Part 2
Posted on: Sunday, Dec 30, 2012
LIVE . . .
2012 saw plenty happening on the live front, and I saw some great performances, mostly locally. The Warrington Blues Festival in September saw The Producers headline, and on fine form, with BITNW favourites, The Cadillac Kings (above) delivering their usual swinging set, laced with no shortage of humour and top, top playing. A treat on the second stage saw local harmonica ace Johnny Hewitt sitting in with Forty4, who had also opened proceedings on the main stage. Right back in February, the inaugural Theatre of Blues at The Severn Theatre saw stellar sets from the likes of Rhythm Zoo, Dave Arcari, Jon Amor Blues Group, Big Pete and more . . . however my favourite set of the festival came from the excellent and funky Northsyde . . . a great band! Well done to Dave & Shirley Sawyer (Warrington) and Andi Harrison and Dermot Hall (Shrewsbury).
The annual Worthenbury Blues & Roots Festival was under canvas this year due to the inclement late June weather, but that did not diminish the fun and enjoyment of this always great day . . . the aforementioned Northsyde (above) were again on great form; as was the truly excellent Lyndon Anderson Band from the North East . . . with other top sets from The White Knuckle Blues Band, Eddie Martin and his big band and the rampant r&b of Big Boy Bloater. Local favourites Tommy Allen and Johnny Hewitt had the tent buzzing with their ‘Chicago Duo’ set as did Tom Attah and Franny Eubanks . . . and mustn’t forget the rootsy ‘King of Oz’, the superb Rory Ellis. As ever a doff of the cap to Pete Evans, Paul Taylor and Ian Williams and all their team.
I caught fine shows at Alexander’s in Chester from Rhythm Zoo, Forty4 and Bill Sheffield with Dave Saunders; and Telford’s Warehouse also had their usual quota of blues nights, with outings to the the likes of King King, Jon Amor Blues Group, The Cadillac Kings, Ben Poole Band. I managed to miss John Fairhurst twice, but hope to atone on 26th January!
As Ken mentioned in his end of term report, hands-down show of the year came from the mighty JJ Grey & Mofro at Manchester Academy 3 . . . . the Florida-based Grey and his magnificent six-piece band tore up the venue and created such a great vibe with their mix of swampy Southern soul, blues, country and rock . . . fingers crossed they are back next year!
FAREWELL . . .
The blues world lost some great musicians and performers in 2012, including the Arkansas-based powerhouse guitarist and singer Michael Burks (above); the fantastic bluesman/punk/rock ‘n’ roller Nick Curran succumbed to oral cancer at the age of just 35 . . . a quite brilliant guitarist and performer, I urge you to check out his five albums if you haven’t heard them.
Also farewell and thanks for the music to Fontella Bass, Jimmy McCracklin, Eddie Burns, Dave Brubeck, Etta James, Louisiana Red, Johnny Otis, Johnny Bassett, Terry Callier, Big Jim Sullivan, Doc Watson, Cody Burnside, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, Levon Helm, Bugs Henderson, Jerry McCain, Lou Pride . . . and more . . . RIP
(Michael Burks pic by Paul Natkin)