By late 64 I had to leave Ivans Meads, I was simply beat. Dead beat that is - after doing a day job, going to Middleton to rehearse or do a gig then schlep home to Wilmslow (WAY South!) late at night, then get up for work to go to Manchester the next morning!
The Meads were aimimg to go pro' and I did not have the courage to do so with my trainee job in Advertising, at stake.
I decided to hook up with some local lads and form another blues band. This time I was going to be lead singer, so I could spend time booking and try to promote things better.
I started picking up the phone and hassling the Abadi Bros at the Wheel for gigs. After playing a few off nights at the Wheel on our own, they gave me the honour of backing Champion Jack Dupree. We really rose to this and did a great job at both Blackpool and Manchester Wheel gigs.
In the beginning I got Brian Jackson, a local fruit and veg guy, to be our manager - he had a VAN! After a while I found better players in Henry Quick on drums and Dave Moss on tenor.
Dave played me a record by Sonny Rollins. I had never heard antyhing like that before! I loved it . We started doing some Mose Allison and Jimmy Witherspoon jazzier stuff around this time, and Dave Moss did a few tunes on flute. It was decided to record at Neild and Hardy's in Stockport with Eric Stewart behind the controls!
I have the acetate to this day. James Brown's "Tell Me what Your Gonna Do" and Don Covay's "See Saw" on the 'B'side. It still sounds passable!
Eventually the van situation became no more; Brian's wife threatened to divorce him as he was never home. We invested in a rotting death-trap of a van (30 quid). I remember getting a hell of a shock in my arm as I held the coil in place as we were driving down the road in the dark! Round about this time I had an urge to play sax and bought a Selmer Mk6 for 100 quid off Henry's friend Rob from his last band The Shuftis!
I think I had to sell the PA to get that sax which quickly put and end to The Big City Blues.
After about 4 months of intensive practice along with James Brown and Otis Redding records, I secured a job in the Gin House as vocalist and sax-man. I took Ron Walker on guitar and John Burrows on bass with me from The Big City Blues and later Henry Quick joined on drums, thus opening another chapter in the saga. See Gin House page!
Dave Moss (sax) passed .. I believe in 2008 or 2009.
Info on Henry Quick's current band (Bluesblasters) can be found at: www.bluesblasters.co.uk and www.myspace.com/bluesblasters
I was thrilled to to see this web page. Personally if it wasn't for Dave Bowker
(Booker) turning me on to Albert King. BB King, Bo Diddley etc and all the other great US Blues players and being a great singer and guitar player in his own right I never would have become serious about playing.
Dave B. older and much more mature and knowlegable was my inspiration, the first time he played me a 45' of cross-cut saw by AK I was pole axed !!, thanks Dave :)
I know Dave is living in the US now I hope he gets this message.
After playing in a bunch of bands in the UK I ended up coming to the US where I picked up a lot of R&B session work in NYC. A English white kid who could play the blues. Eventually I ended up doing production and sound mixing for Talking Heads and several other upcoming bands from CBGB's, but Talking Heads were cream of the crop IMHO, I helped David Byrne learn how to tune his guitar properly, he was a class guy and VERY talented although he and the band lacked stage chops they were still brilliant and original !!
Thanks Dave B. even at 15 you showed me what great music was and how it should sound.
Thanks to all who contributed to this article.
L-R Ron Walker Guitar,
Martin Tetlow Keys,
Gordon Thornton Drums (R.I.P),
Dave Bowker Vocals /Harmonica,
John Burrows Bass