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
L-R Ron Walker Guitar,
Martin Tetlow Keys,
Gordon Thornton Drums (R.I.P),
Dave Bowker Vocald /Harmonica,
John Burrows Bass