Park Head Open Mic a success! new date!

Park Head Open Mic (PHOM) happened for the first time last Friday 24th April. It was well attended – around 40 folks there enjoying some great music by about 13 sets of performers. It was such a hit that the landlords have given us a bigger room for the next session on June 5th – we’re already looking forward to it! Photo of the wonderful Rebekah Findlay by Filmar Photography. A write up here and more photographs here.

Gordon Huntley

(The photographs are copyright Jo Collinson)

A few years ago I posted a short piece about Gordon Huntley (page now here, I think) – the pedal steel player with Matthew’s Southern Comfort. A few weeks ago I had an email from Jo Collinson, telling me that she and her husband Ted used to be in a band with Gordon in the early sixties. She was kind enough to share these photographs with me (Jo, Ted & Gordon with unknown bass player in the bottom pic, Gordon at a fancy dress party in the top pic) and some stories too. Jo said:

“Hi there I was just going through looking for Gordon and found your Blog thing and thought you would be interested to know that Gordon played with our band in the 60’s! What a character he was! We did a couple of broadcasts with him – dont laugh, Workers Playtime. Our band was Midnite Ramblers but at the time of the broadcasts from Bristol we were The Red River Group from the Salisbury area and played at most of the American Airbases around.

My husband Ted and I, Jo Collinson, formed the band – a Skiffle Group – in 1959, but when Gordon joined us we went from strength to strength – it was a wonderful experience. We first met him when he popped his head round the door when we were playing at a pub at a little village, The Boot at Vernham Dean. “I heard there was some country music here can I sit in, Pedal steel guitar?” He came in and fixed up this THING and said: “What shall we play?” I said “Cheating Heart?” “O.K shall I bring it in?” These were all new words to us – “sit in” and “bring it in” – we were only 3 chord trickers – “Worried Man”, “Railroad Bill” type. SOOOOOO he brought it in!!

Oh what a sound, we just stood and stared at him, these big hands playing this HEAVENLY music. He played with us whenever he could as he was with another band but he liked our singing and we progressed to “Heard The Blue Bird Sing” The Louvin Brothers and all new artists that he brought into our house – he was an amazing lovely man, unforgettable.

Years later I had the Melody Maker with me on night duty and found a letter from somebody asking about tuning steel guitars and the answer was from Gordon, I wrote to him and we had a long chat on the phone, he remembering my curry – (all ready at all times of the night returning from gigs) and hoped to get together, but sadly it was not to be as he died before this happened. I have rambled on a bit haven’t I? But all my stories of Gordon are not short ones!”

I find Jo’s stories very interesting and hope that she’ll share some more, not just of playing with Gordon Huntley (colour me jealous!) but of other adventures playing music in the early sixties.

Blues Show 30 online and playlist

We had a return visit from Nige & Bob of the Poorboys – some excellent music! I’ll post the individual songs soon, but here’s the links to the whole show – part one:

part two:

Little Axe – Another Sinful Day

David Lindley – Mercury Blues

Blind Lemon Pledge – I Killed The King of The Blues

Marcus Bonfanti – Knock me Down

Cream – Born Under A Bad Sign

Ronnie Earl – Bad Boy

Albert Castiglia – Catfish

John Martyn – May You never

Lee Bates & Billy Newton – Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning

Big Joe Williams – She Left Me A Mule

Billy Jones – Pull My 44

Nicole Hart – No Cuttin’ Loose

Joe Bonamassa – Lonesome Road Blues

Blind Lemon Pledge – Black Man Inna White House

Johnny Whitehill’s Real Deal – Smokestack Lightnin’

Janiva Magness – That’s What Love Will Make You Do

Gypsy Dave Smith – Milwaukee Blues

Hot Tuna – Police Dog Blues

John Hiatt – Ridin’ With The King

Mark Easton – Money Is The Root Of All Evil

New Open Mic night – Park Head, Coundon

My Tri band colleague Phil & myself will be running an open mic session on Friday 24th April at The Park Head Hotel in Coundon – start time 8:30pm. This is an initial session to see how it goes – it may become a regular thing – probably monthly. We already know of quite a few musicians who are coming – if you want to hear some great acoustic music, or want to play acoustically in a supportive setting, come along – all styles of acoustic music welcome – or give me a shout for more details

Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century


Great photos and a song by Stephen Foster that you can download here:

Oh! all of you poor single men,
Don’t ever give up in despair,
For there’s always a chance while there’s life
To capture the hearts of the fair,
No matter what may be your age,
You always may cut a fine dash,
You will suit all the girls to a hair
If you’ve only got a moustache,
A moustache, a moustache,
If you’ve only got a moustache.

No matter for manners or style,
No matter for birth or for fame,
All these used to have something to do
With young ladies changing their name,
There’s no reason now to despond,
Or go and do any thing rash,
For you’ll do though you can’t raise a cent,
If you’ll only raise a moustache!
A moustache, a moustache,
If you’ll only raise a moustache.

Your head may be thick as a block,
And empty as any foot-ball,
Oh! your eyes may be green as the grass
Your heart just as hard as a wall.
Yet take the advice that I give,
You’ll soon gain affection and cash,
And will be all the rage with the girls,
If you’ll only get a moustache,
A moustache, a moustache,
If you’ll only get a moustache.

I once was in sorrow and tears
Because I was jilted you know,
So right down to the river
I ran To quickly dispose of my woe,
A good friend he gave me advice
And timely prevented the splash,
Now at home I’ve a wife and ten heirs,
And all through a handsome moustache,
A moustache, a moustache,
And all through a handsome moustache.

The Breakfast Show on BishopFM

I’ve been promoted already! Tomorrow morning from 8-10am I will be presenting the Breakfast Show on to lead up to live broadcasts from Wear Valley Food Festival at Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland.

No blues, unfortunately, and it is only a one-off (but it’ll all look good on the CV!) Better get my beauty sleep!

Coffee Nation

The standard of service station coffee from machines has improved a lot over the past few years, with many high street coffee shops now placing machines in garages too. Today I had a cup of Coffee Nation cappuccino (with an extra shot) from my local service station and it was delicious – great foam and a perfect taste. I’ll be back again and again!