It is with great regret that we learn of the passing of Chris Barber, chart-topping Jazz bandleader and a key Champion of the Blues, without whose impact music would have taken a different course.
Chris was and in a sense remains one of the headline supporters of the British Blues Exhibition, alongside John Mayall, Huey Morgan, Mud Morganfield, Connie Lush, and Pete Brown. He donated a trombone to the exhibition and it has become one of our uppermost objectives to celebrate his contribution to British and world Blues music and his ongoing legacy.
Darren Weale, Founder of the British Blues Exhibition, said, “Chris in person was a gentleman and a man with a multitude of memories and opinions. Among those memories were a remarkable collection of stories about how he interacted with and directly or indirectly helped many, many people and their music, including Lonnie Donegan, Muddy Waters, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and ultimately the biggest hitters of the British Blues scene including The Rolling Stones, John Mayall, The Animals, Van Morrison, and The Blues Band. I was lucky to have known him.”
John Mayall, the late Jack Bruce, Paul Jones, Pete Townshend, Ginger Baker, Eric Burdon and Dick Taylor feature in Suburban Steps To Rockland, a feature film documentary about the Ealing Club, Britain’s first Rhythm & Blues venue. The film is heading for Sky release, but could use some income via its current crowdfunding campaign that runs to the end of August – see https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/suburban-steps-to-rockland#/. There are some tasty rewards for contributing to this commemoration of musical heritage.
Film is an important medium for celebrating the history of Blues music, with The Blues film series in the US being produced by no less a figure than Martin Scorsese.
Other British productions include Out of Time on singer Chris Farlowe and another on Alexis Korner, himself pivotal in the story of the Ealing Club.
A question was asked on BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms Show this morning (in his new morning slot) for the British Blues Exhibition. Could listeners recall the Iron Curtain Club in St Mary Cray, Orpington? Well, yes, some could. Two even met their (ex) wives there, while watching the likes of The Moody Blues, John Mayall and more.
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.
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.