Want to know about the early days of British Blues and the British Blues Explosion? Check out our Literature page, which has been updated to include essential reading in the shape of books by Billy Bragg and Chris Barber, both of which will appear in our exhibition.
Using our various social media channels, we’ve been sharing a proportion of the images of the British Blues Exhibition collection. Over time, we will probably share one out of five of our exhibits online. Here are a few of the exhibit images shared recently. The images above show (from left to right, starting with the top row) an original 45rpm single by The Rolling Stones, Get Off My Cloud; a copy flyer for The Bromel Club with acts such as The Who and Chris Farlowe appearing in the 1960’s; a 2014 edition of Blues In Britain magazine with King King; an 8-track cartridge of Cream Live; a copy of Sounds magazine with Paul Kossoff and Back Street Crawler; a John O’Leary (Savoy Brown, Sugarkane, The Downliner Sect) Hohner Marine Band harmonica; a lyric sheet by Otis Grand amended by Curtis Salgado; and (some of) Chris Barber’s trombone donated to the exhibition. A lot more will follow in due course. That social media we mentioned?
Facebook – www.facebook.com/BritishBluesEx
Instagram – www.instagram.com/britishbluesexhibition
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BritishBluesEx
Between 16th October and 31st December 2018, there is an exhibition on Women In Jazz at the Barbican Library in London.
One of the British Blues Exhibitions supporters is Jazz bandleader and, to us, Godfather of British Blues, Chris Barber. Not only did he bring to the UK Blues greats such as Muddy Waters, he also worked extensively with Ottilie Patterson, who had a fabulous Blues voice. Check out the exhibition and be reminded of the relationship between Jazz and British Blues music.
On 4th November 2017, the Doc’ n Roll Film Festival 2017 at The Barbican in London launched with a showing of Suburban Steps To Rockland: the story of the Ealing Club. With a Q and A with Director, Giorgio Guernier and Dick Taylor of The Pretty Things, we’ll review the film in our blog.
Amongst those interviewed in the film are:
GENO WASHINGTON (Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band)
JEREMY SPENCER (Fleetwood Mac founder member)
ERIC BELL (Thin Lizzy founder member)
NICK SIMPER (Deep Purple founder member)
MIKE VERNON (Producer – David Bowie, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac)
JACK BRUCE (Cream)
GINGER BAKER (Cream)
JOHN MAYALL (John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers)
PAUL JONES (Manfred Mann)
ERIC BURDON (The Animals)
DICK TAYLOR (The Pretty Things, first Rolling Stones bassist)
In other news, two Blues awards are making waves.
Pete Feenstra (centre, above, with Carvin Jones left and Bluesman Mike Francis to the right) has just received his award from the European Blues Awards. Voting on the next round of awards is open until 12th November.
In addition, the UK Blues Federation has announced its UK Blues Awards which commence in 2018.
A triple blast of news from the British Blues Exhibition to wrap up 2016. Firstly, we have a display at Cranleigh Arts Centre in Surrey for the two weeks ending on 21st September, featuring our latest exhibits, a 1956 Skiffle-era washboard and an even older African one. The display, the first in a fixed location for a period of days, was put in place in honour of Chris Barber and Nicky Moore.
Second, we are working more closely with the UK Blues Federation and some of our online history is being migrated to their website so we can concentrate on being a physical exhibition. Finally, we are working more closely as well with the British Blues Archive, now incorporated into the UK Blues Federation, and which loaned the exhibition the Alexis Korner album in the display pictured.
The news release by UK Blues Federation is as follows:
UKBLUES WELCOMES BRITISH BLUES ARCHIVE
The UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) is delighted to announce that with immediate effect the British Blues Archive (BBA) is to amalgamate with UKBlues and come under the organisation’s ‘umbrella’ with BBA’s online archive material being incorporated into the Education section of the UKBlues’ website (www.ukblues.org) .
In addition UKBlues and the British Blues Archive are working with the British Blues Exhibition (www.britishbluesexhibition.co.uk) and Early Blues.com (www.earlyblues.com) who have agreed to migrate some of their relevant online content to further enhance the brand new and comprehensive resource afforded by this new venture.
This unique partnership will create an unparalleled central resource and reference point for historical material relating to blues in the UK online and forms part of UKBlues’ stated aim to seek to provide educational material and facilities to widen knowledge of the blues in the UK and to assist those also seeking to do the same.
Ashwyn Smyth, Chair of UKBlues said: ‘We were thrilled and honoured when Peter Harvie, joint founder of the BBA, approached us to suggest an amalgamation. The BBA has a wealth of material of all sorts and Peter’s approach came as our webmaster, Alan White, was in the process of setting up an Education section of our website following our decision to seek to develop this aspect of our activities. So this was a great idea that arose at the perfect time. To then have the British Blues Exhibition and Early Blues offer to work with us to further enhance this was the icing on the cake and we thank board members Darren Weale and Alan White for their generous co-operation.
The Board of UKBlues is hugely excited about the possibilities that these new partnerships and co-operations afford us as an organisation but, more importantly, the blues as a whole in the UK. They also serve to reinforce our mission to become a focal point for the blues in the UK.’
Peter Harvie of the British Blues Archive said; ‘We at the British Blues Archive are delighted to be joining UK Blues. The work being done by the British Blues Archive and UK Blues complement each other and the bringing together of our strengths has created in one place a tremendous resource, the place to go to for information, history, interviews and insights on British Blues. We at the British Blues Archive are tremendously excited about the amalgamation and are looking forward to new projects ahead with UK Blues’.
We also welcome this development and the certainty that with three of the main bodies in UK Blues joining forces will be good for the future of the music in this country.
Jazz trombone player and bandleader Chris Barber has been performing for well over 50 years. His Jazz band included notables such as Ottillie Paterson, Skiffle legend Lonnie Donegan (Chris played double bass on Lonnie’s smash hit ‘Rock Island Line’), and Alexis Korner of Blues Incorporated and co-founder of the first electric Blues club in the UK, the Ealing Club, which continues to this day.
Chris was also instrumental in the arrival in the UK of American Blues greats including Muddy Waters and Big Bill Broonzy. His interactions with the Blues have continued, including his appearance at the Lead Belly Fest at the Royal Albert Hall in 2015, and interactions with artists such as Dave Kelly from The Blues Band and Eric Clapton.
Here, in his dressing room at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley, London on 19th April 2016, two days after his 86th birthday, Chris talks about his career from his earliest days until now, listen via this link for content including:
– Why he didn’t play the Eel Pie Island Hotel or Chislehurst Caves (which he passed on the way to his Bromley venue) and why he liked playing Gaumont theatres
– The “fantastic” Muddy Waters – and his being compelled to play acoustic guitar – and Otis Spann
– Eric Clapton
– The Beatles and Billy Preston and The Cavern Club
– Howlin’ Wolf
– Sister Rosetta Tharpe
– Jools Holland and Ruby Turner
– His father and his introduction to music, rationing and wartime evacuation and his first 78rpm records. Plus reading a book on the Blues found on a USAAF rubbish dump
– Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett
– The trombone that he briefly plays during the interview, after unzipping it from its case
– The album ‘Memories Of My Trip’
Chris Barber’s website is here. Go and see him and his band!
Bernie Marsden, guitarist with Whitesnake and UFO and others, is one of those Blues-loving British musicians who have made their mark at the heavier end of music. Here he is interviewed at the Ramblin’ Man Fair 2015 by DJ Alan Hare of Hospital Radio Medway and talks about his life and influences and his latest album, Shine.
Alan is himself interviewed about his own show following Bernie’s interview.
Bernie Marsden’s website: www.berniemarsden.co.uk
Hospital Radio Medway: www.hospitalradiomedway.co.uk
Ramblin’ Man Fair: www.ramblinmanfair.com
More interviews are on our Exhibition Audio page here.
Nicky Moore, the man known as ‘The Voice’ in British Blues, is the fifth Curator announced by the British Blues Exhibition, following Andy Twyman (one man band), Paul Lamb (harmonica), Roger Inniss (bass), and Jamie Pipe (keyboards).
Aspects of the British Blues Exhibition have Curators with particular relevant experience and expertise. The role of a Curator is to help build relevant content in the British Blues Exhibition and to act as a spokesman in their field of knowledge. It can have an additional aspect, to venerate the individual chosen, and Nicky Moore deserves that recognition as a premier vocalist.
Former Hackensack, Samson and Nicky Moore’s Blues Corporation frontman, Nicky is now in duo Kyle & Moore with guitarist Danny Kyle.
Check out his page here.
In the space of a week (30th and 31st August and 3rd September), travelling versions of the British Blues Exhibition appeared in the Great British R & B Festival 2015 in Colne, Lancashire, and at the Boisdale Canary Wharf, a venue whose Patron of Music is Jools Holland. Photos from Colne are below:
The foyer of the British Stage at Colne hosted the exhibition for two days – and the chili from the eatery next to the stand is recommended for next year. A big thank you to the organisers and staff of the festival for their help and hospitality. Onto a briefer expedition to London:
The Boisdale Canary Wharf hosted the exhibition’s Briefcase Full of Blues on a night when Mike Vernon and the Mighty Combo were playing. Mike and his band played a well-paced succession of 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s Rhythm and Blues classics and some songs from Mike’s new album. Piano and keyboard master and Boisdale regular Eric Ranzoni was also present and showed off his new album at the exhibition. One play later, it proved to be a mix of covers and originals played on piano and with vocals, a barrelhouse delight reminiscent of Memphis Slim, Piano Red and Professor Longhair. For piano panache, look no further, seriously.
Thank you also to the staff of the Boisdale Canary Wharf.
Next up for the British Blues Exhibition is a Jo-Ann Kelly tribute night in Sevenoaks, Kent on 26th September, then, with a few appearances in Blues strongholds in hand, it’s off to schools, colleges and places where the word of the Blues needs to be newly noticed.