Monday, 7 September 2009

Ten Years After
My earliest musical recollection is of Sunday mornings when dad would put on the Leak gramophone, which he had bought from James Hadley Chase when that gent moved to Switzerland or somewhere, and played something worthy of the corner reflex cabinet speakers. I recall Berlioz - Harold in Italy; various female singers - Lita Roza, Connie Francis etc; and, above all, Chris Barber. I was hooked on Trad Jazz at an early age which, like snooker, is tantamount to admitting a misspent youth .
Chris Barber has been performing Jazz and Blues (he does not like the label Trad) for 60 years and next year will become an octogenarian. He was instrumental (sorry!) in intoducing UK to the blues and jazz of New Orleans. In 1958 he and his manager, Harold Pendleton, founded The Marquee Club in the basement of the Academy Cinema at 165 Oxford Street,London and in that year Britain saw the first electric guitar when Muddy Waters played with Chris Barber in that club. The Marquee went on to become one of the most significant venues for new musical acts - The Rolling Stones played their first gig there on 12 June 1962. Two years later it moved to90 Wardour Street which is where I remember seeing some amazing stars including The Yardbirds, John Mayal and one of my favourites - Ten Years After. Alvin Lee's guitar work rivalled Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck to my mind. I particularly looked forward to his rendition of At the Woodchoppers' Ball
Chris Barber, meanwhile helped to establish the National Jazz Federation which eventually became Reading Festival via Windsor (1967)

If you were expecting a ten year anniversary of some kind then in July 1999 Marcus, Douglas and I cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for The Parkinsons Disease Society.

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