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
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!
We have had Chris Barber’s support for the British Blues Exhibition for some time, based on calls and emails. Yet to see the great man face to face has always been an aim. At his show on 29th July 2015, in Dartford, Kent, we met Chris and he signed the exhibition banner.
Chris took an interest in one or two of the exhibits we had brought along, and can be seen above browsing a 1955 copy of Melody Maker. Meeting Chris and talking with him in person as he readied himself to go and play, will always be one of the best moments in the history of the British Blues Exhibition.
This is an enjoyable article on Chris.
As he begins his latest UK and European tour, we spoke with British Blues Exhibition supporter Mud Morganfield in a hotel location with some background noise, in the morning following his appearance at The Jazz Cafe. Tour dates can be viewed via the websites below and the latest known list beneath them. Mud talks about his father, his mother and her basement, performing on TV’s Later with Jools Holland, joining Hugh Laurie on stage in Chicago, Jukin’ Jenn and her broadcast the Bucket of Blues, his stage dress code, his band, and what he will give the British Blues Exhibition to show off, his recent album, For Pops, with Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and more. It is one thing reading an interview with a top performer like Mud, but listening to him speak is special. Enjoy the interview here. Browse and enjoy all our specially recorded audio interviews here. Websites: http://www.mudmorganfieldsite.com/ http://www.mudmorganfieldblues.com/ Dates known at time of writing: Thursday, 30/04/2015, Arlington Arts Centre, Mary Hare, Newbury http://www.arlingtonarts.co.uk/ May Friday, 01/05/2015, North Sea Jazz Club, Amsterdam, Holland. http://www.northseajazzclub.com/ Saturday 02/05/2015 Rhythm & Blues Night, De Oosterpoort, Groningen, Holland /www.rhythmbluesnight.nl Sunday, 03/05/2015, Isle of Arts Festival, Ventnor, Isle of Wight. http://www.artsisle.org/ Monday, 04/05/2015, Selby Town Hall, York St, Selby, North Yorkshire. http://www.selbytownhall.co.uk/ Wednesday, 06/05/2015, The Castle, Castle Way, Wellingborough NN8 1XA 01933 229 022. http://www.thecastle.org.uk/ Thursday, 07/05/2015, Vonnies Blues Club, Cheltenham, Glos 01452 862332 or 07545385518. http://charltonkingsclub.co.uk/index.php/events/vonnies-blues-club Friday, 08/05/2015, The Met, Bury, Greater Manchester 0161 761 2216. http://themet.biz/ Saturday, 09/05/2015, 1865 Club, Brunswick Square, Southampton 023 80 222 605 www.the1865.com Friday, 22/05/2015, Blues on the Bay Festival, Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland http://bluesonthebay.co.uk Saturday, 23/05/2015, Ashburton Blues Festival, Seale Hayne Nr Newton Abbot, Devon http://www.ashburtonbluesfestival.co.uk/ Sunday, 24/05/2015, Iron Road Rock Bar, 140 High St, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 4EJ 07831 338277 https://www.facebook.com/theironroad Monday, 25/05/2015, Ribs and Blues Festival, Raalte, Holland http://ribsenblues.nl/ June Thursday, 18/06/2015, Boisdale Canary Wharf, London, http://tickets.boisdale.co.uk/pages/events/a-blues-spectacular-with-the-incredible-mud-morganfield/18-06-2015/
British Blues legend John Mayall has kindly agreed to join Chris Barber, Mud Morganfield, and Huey Morgan as a supporter of the British Blues Exhibition. John’s distinguished career stretches back to the 1950’s and he has performed with many fellow greats including Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. John remains a very active musician who recently released his well-named new album, A Special Life.