Still Hard and Blue – fifty or more years on

For admirers of British Blues, it is possible to see many of the performers who were part of the British Blues Explosion in the 1960’s still performing with as much passion as ever today.

Look out for:

The Rolling Stones – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts remain from the original line up. Several other members of The Rolling Stones come and go from the line up and have separate bands, such as Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings.

John Mayall. The Bluesbreaker himself who advanced the careers of guitarists including Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton continues to tour, and is a supporter of the British Blues Exhibition.

The Pretty Things – with two original members, this band continues to tour.

The John O’Leary/Alan Glen Allstars – a band with a varying membership, and in their last Monday of each month shows at the Bull’s Head in Barnes, London, both the core band and guests have members who were some of the dynamite in the British Blues Explosion. John O’Leary also performs with his own band, Sugarkane.

The Downliners Sect – Don Craine has been wearing his deerstalker hat on stage with this outfit for over fifty years.

More to follow….



About the British Blues Exhibition

The British Blues Exhibition is a hub for British Blues history and for the contemporary scene. That includes musicians of all ages in British Blues; overseas acts who tour the UK; wider culture such as theatre, art, and literature; and the people behind the scenes. We have many exhibits and our travelling exhibitions are making appearances at events. We are working towards establishing a permanent exhibition celebrating British Blues. With support from Chris Barber, John Mayall, Mud Morganfield, Huey Morgan, Connie Lush, and Cream lyricist and poet Pete Brown, we’re Breaking Blues Again.

An immersion into blues history with John Mayall, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie

Good news that this was found and is being published


John-Mayall-Bluesbreakers-1967-Live-CDA blues fan’s 1967 reel-to-reel tape recording of four then-relatively unknown British musicians has captured live what today would be dubbed a supergroup.

John Mayall, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were together for just three months that year as part of Mayall’s Bluesbreakers band.

The music was recorded in five clubs in and around London, including The Marquee and The Ram Jam. It is, for blues aficionados, an immersion into musical history. And it sounds like a 1960s live electric blues performance should: rough, echoey, raw.

The four musicians all went on to various degrees of fame. Mayall is still an active blues man at 81, the “godfather” of the British electric blues that swept the country in the 1960s and helped promote it beyond its black roots base back in the United States.

At various times and in various incarnations, his band has featured Cream’s Eric Clapton and…

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Connie Lush supports the British Blues Exhibition

Mike Rivers and Connie Lush February 2015

Connie Lush, one of the premier vocalists in British Blues, has confirmed her support for the British Blues Exhibition. She has done so memorably by contributing one of her trademark hats for display at the exhibition. In the photo above Mike Rivers of the historic Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, tries it on for size. Read more about Connie in her page here.

The Wish For What You Want competition

The British Blues Exhibition is announcing its first competition. If you Wish For What You Want and enter, you might just win this…. Details of the prize and how to enter will be made public in due course, but the main prize will be for 52 (fifty-two) CD’s, one to listen to every week of the year, with the competition closing date not long before Christmas 2015, so the lucky winner can enjoy a particularly good Christmas and a musical New Year. Most of the CD’s are, of course, Blues, but not all…. The winning entry to the competition will be drawn by award-winning British harmonica player, Paul Lamb, of Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes.

The first CD’s selected to be won are:

1. – The Sharpees (UK), Mississippi Thrill, feat. Roger Cotton (Peter Green’s Splinter Group), Brian Willoughby (The Strawbs) and Richard Hayes (Bad Influence). Real Rockin’ Rhythms and a British Blues sound (akin to Dr Feelgood);

2. – The City Boys Allstars (US), Blinded By The Night, feat Tom ‘Bones’ Malone and ‘Blue’ Lou Marini of The Blues Brothers Band. Blues, Rock, Soul and more played by a big band of some of the best musicians on the New York scene;

3. – Andy Twyman (UK), Blues You Haven’t Heard Before. Superb one-man Blues Boogie from a young master of the craft;

4. – The Axis of Awesome (Australia) – an inspired comedy Rock act who tour the UK at intervals – signed copy of Cry YOURSELF a RIVER; 33 million viewers have seen their ace Four Chord Song on You Tube;

5. – The Enzymes and the Active Ingredients (US), feat. Murphy Dunne from the Blues Brothers Band. Seriously eclectic Rock ‘n’ Roll;

6. – The Billy Walton Band (US), signed copy of Wish For What You Want, out on Vizztone Records on 27th January, the new album by a fabulous New Jersey band touring the UK in April and June 2015. Feat. Southside Johnny, Tony Braunagel (Back Street Crawler, Eric Burdon, Robert Cray Band), and Mike Finnigan (Bonnie Raitt, Phantom Blues Band);

The other 46 CD’s will be announced in due course. Watch this space.

Interview re. British Blues Exhibition feat. Paul Lamb

This is the interview that took place on 10th February 2015 (UK time) on the Music On The Couch radio show in the US. Paul Lamb of Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes features, talking about his lengthy and significant Blues music career.

Ace British bass player Roger Inniss is mentioned as being a spokesman/curator, like Paul Lamb (harmonica) for the exhibition.

Audio interview with Don Craine, the Downliner in the Deerstalker

Don Craine at home

The first audio interview recorded for the British Blues Exhibition is with Don Craine of the Downliners Sect.

Listen here:

Please note that there is explicit language (swearing) in this recording. Do not listen to this if you are offended by such words. A bleeped version may be produced at a later date. Meeting Don Craine in his Twickenham home yards from where he has spent much of his life as a Blues musician near the Eel Pie Club and the British Blues music stronghold of Twickenham, Ealing and Richmond is a rare treat. Don’s exotic interests and catchy sense of humour came through strongly as we talked about his upbringing, the hated piano lessons, the love of Skiffle leading onto the Blues, and the magnetic pull of Soho and its iconic music venues. Don charts the beginnings of his career from being fourth with a band in a Twickenham talent contest to peaking in the UK singles chart at number 29 with the Downliners Sect, and going to Sweden after being signed by EMI to find a massive welcome, only slightly affected by an incident that left Don turning up with facial injuries. These stories, plus including interactions with the Rolling Stones, being supported by The Kinks, and much more is covered by the man who has been wearing a deerstalker hat on stage for fifty years and more. One will be on show at a British Blues Exhibition event in 2015. Don continues to perform regularly, including at the Eel Pie Club at The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham and at the monthly Back to the Flamingo Club nights in the Bull’s Head in Barnes.

New logo for the British Blues Exhibition

Exhibition logo

The British Blues Exhibition has a logo. The logo is in a heraldic shield style indicating history, contains a representation of the Union Jack. Its centrepiece is a deerstalker hat, a very British symbol and worn by Don Craine of The Downliners Sect on stage for over fifty years. This is flanked by a guitar, central to British Blues and representing the Gibson ES-335 model favoured by the late Alvin Lee of Ten Years After, and a trombone, the instrument of Chris Barber, the father of British Blues.

The motto, Breaking Blues Again, is in honour of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, and sums up what the Exhibition is aiming to achieve.