Live Blues fading? Don’t you believe it

As 2016 begins, the heyday of the Blues in the 1960’s and the proliferation of venues hosting live Blues and Rock seems a long way away. Instead, stories hit the press about venues closing down and the costs of added security on doors and noise limitation and other legislation, however well-intended, make life hard for people presenting music. However, if you look for them, there are numerous stories of people defending and reviving venues, resurrecting festivals, and creating new venues and festivals. Here is a sample of live musical hope at the start of 2016:

One recently formed body is the Music Venue Trust. We’ll see what plans they have and share them;

The new Blues nights at The Tuesday Night Music Club at The Comrades Club in Coulsdon in south west London, which will feature the outstanding one man band Andy Twyman on 19th January (poster above);

Just six gigs in and soon on 21st February to host Devon Allman, son of Gregg Allman and nephew of Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers and member of The Royal Southern Brotherhood, Blues Rock Aberdeen at The Tunnels, Aberdeen, Scotland;

The very new Hereford Blues Club in Herefordshire – Facebook page here;

The new Mid Wales Rhythm and Blues Club;

Also new – As the organisers say, “Come and join Little Devils and special guests at Last Thursday Blues Club, Carpenter’s Arms, Bethnal Green, London, on the last Thursday of every month kicking off January 2016 – loads of great music from the whole blues spectrum – and there’s a lot of colour in there!! ” Facebook page here;

Older, but still very important, are regular events in tribute to the former great clubs, including the Eel Pie Club, Back to the Flamingo Club nights (poster above), and more;

The campaign to revive The Half Moon at Herne Hill in London as a music venue, not to mention the attempt to keep The Greyhound in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, as a live music venue.

More venues and quotes from people at them to follow.

Still reading? Why not create a venue or a music night or a festival yourself? You can. We will be.

Audio interview with Ali MacKenzie and Derek Griffiths

Ali MacKenzie

Ali MacKenzie

The Crawdaddy Club, Richmond, hosted a live album launch for Birdwood, a band made up of some of the people in British Blues with serious history – and a serious hunger to play the Blues and have fun doing it. The British Blues Exhibition interviewed vocalist Ali MacKenzie and Derek Griffiths and captured a hint of the music and the introduction to the members of the band. Prominent in the history of the two interviewed are people including Ronnie Wood, Art Wood, Chuck Berry, Chubby Checker. Advice offered by Sister Rosetta Tharpe was especially notable. Listen here.

Listen and hear about how Ali’s and Derek’s careers have ben impacted by:

Jon Lord, the Artwoods, Mike Cotton Sound, Ronnie Wood, Colin Blunstone, Keef Hartley, Dog Soldier, Theatre, Art Wood, Art Wood Combo, West Drayton Community Centre, The Who, The Birds, The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things, Denmark Street, Eel Pie Club, Derek Griffiths, Ali MacKenzie, Chris Parren, Rocky Horror Show, The Strawbs, Jim Diamond, Keith Grant Evans, Downliners Sect, Mark Freeman, Chubby Checker, Dave Berry, Chuck Berry, Chuck Berry London Sessions, 100 Club, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Radio Caroline, BBC Radio One, The Move, Tony Blackburn, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Motown, and The Everley Brothers.