Band of Friends Interview

13_Band-of-Friends_060-191-Usually, if you look hard enough, you can find someone with a bad word to say about anyone.  I’ve read heaps of articles and interviews about Rory Gallagher though and never has anyone had anything but praise for him.  Two people who knew him better than most are Drummer Ted McKenna and Rory’s career-long bassist Gerry McAvoy.  In advance of their Harmonie concert next week as Band of Friends here is a chance to read the interview I did with both of them, along with Rory ‘stand-in’ Marcus Scherpenzeel, last year.


Mitch Ryder – no stars, just heroes

DSC_2838“There are no STARS on the stage this evening” announced Mitch Ryder as he wiped sweat from his forehead with a bright white towel mid-set at the Harmonie on Sunday night, before adding: “But believe you me, ALL these guys up here with me are great musicians!”
Many younger people might ask ‘Mitch who?’ Those of a slightly older disposition know better though.  Take Bruce Springsteen: ‘The Boss’ is a big Ryder fan, and has even been known to slip in a medley of Ryder numbers at an arena gig. Bob Seger and Ted Nugent are also fans.

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Girls With Guitars Interview

bc1Thomas Ruf was kind enough to arrange a few minutes before the recent Blues Caravan show for me to interview this years ‘Girls With Guitars’ stars.

So imagine if you will getting a few minutes alone with three pretty, young and talented ladies.  Yep, sometimes life isn’t so hard.   Join me now at the table with Heather Crosse, Sadie Johnson and Eliana Cargnelutti in a spotlessly clean dressing room for a coffee and a chat.

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Young, Female & Blue – Girls with Guitars

DSC_2627They seem to be in mass production these days. Girls with Guitars that is. Thomas Ruf certainly knows where to find the cream of the crop for his popular Blues Caravan Tours though. Ana Popovic. Samantha Fish, Joanne Shaw Taylor and Dani Wilde are amongst the past girls to bring lipstick and hot musical licks to the Blues Caravan stage at the Bonn Harmonie. Admittedly It’s a formula that’s worked pretty well in the past – but usually there’s a veteran name in there like Candy Kane or Sue Foley to give the punters re-assurance of quality for their hard earned Euros. This year there are three newcomers: Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson and Heather Crosse. So young are they that even combined their ages total only 73. To quote Jimmy Durante: “I’ve got ties in my wardrobe that are older”. The sizeable crowd suggests that blues fans have plenty of faith in Mr Ruf to deliver a top programme – but is their confidence justified?

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Chris Barber – The Ice Cream Man’s in Town


“I scream, you scream,
everybody wants ice cream!”

They were the words I got back when the name Chris Barber was mentioned to friends and colleagues.  There’s a whole lot more to Barber than that though, and John Harrison’s review of the Big Chris Barber Band at the Bad Godesberg Stadthalle  is by far the longest review on this site to date.  Even so, it barely scratches at the surface of Barber’s career or his importance to modern music.

A promoter of Early Blues greats like Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf.  A founder of London’s Marquee Club – THE place for every aspiring Pop/Rock star of the 60’s and 70’s to play (and where the likes of Jagger and Hendrix cut their teeth after hearing the band’s Barber ‘brought over’ to the UK).  Learning ground for legendary musicians like Lonnie Donegan and Ken Colyer.

“He changed my life, and probably yours too” is how Hugh Laurie describes Barber in an interview

Let John Harrison tell the Chris Barber story through his excellent review that follows.  Take a break mid-way for an ice cream if you want…

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