In 1968, following my spell with Fleetwood Mac, and our membership of Savoy Brown, pianist Bob Hall and I formed the Brunning Sunflower Blues Band. We recorded three albums for Saga Records. "Bullen Street Blues" featuring Bob, myself, Colin Jordan (guitar), Jeff Russell (drums), Peter French (vocalist) and Mick Halls (guitar). The second, "Trackside Blues", saw a change in the band membership. Russell, French and Halls departed and drummer Pete Banham joined. Additionally, a most important guest helped us with the recording of Trackside Blues; my old Fleetwood Mac colleague Peter Green. The third albums was entitled "I Wish You Would".
Surprisingly, no Brunning Sunflower Blues Band line-up ever played live, and in 1971 Bob Hall and I decided we wanted to form a real band which could do just that. But, as usual, ignoring the convention that a band should work first and record later, we flaunted the rules. Thus the rather clumsily titled "Brunning Hall Sunflower Blues band" went into the Denmark Street Studios of Gemini Records to record an album in 1971.
Bob and I had listened to several guitarists and singers, and finally hired Geordie guitarist Pat Grover, who impressed us at his audition by refusing to play any of our original material. A drummer proved more elusive. We eventually chose the beefy, John Bonham double John Hunt for the road band, although we used Savoy Brown stalwart Leo Manning and respected session drummer Barry Guard for the album.
Once again, we additionally invited some distinguished guests to join us for the recording. Jo-Ann Kelly on vocals, and harp players Steve Rye and John O'Leary made mighty contributions to the session. As usual, the record took about two days to record.
Then we hit the road! The honed down version of the band, both in name (Brunning Hall) and membership (myself, Bob Hall, John Hunt and Pat Grover) never seemed off the motorways of B roads - not always compatible with my day job as a deputy head teacher and Bob's as a patent agent. But somehow we survived the sleepless nights.
However, the 1971 "Brunning Hall Sunflower Blues Band was actually the fourth and last album record by a Brunning Sunflower line up. In 1970, much to my surprise, Saga Records wanted a third Brunning Sunflower Blues Band album. Bob Hall and I happily agreed. Once again we looked for musicians with whom we could enjoy working in the studio. We didn't have to look far. The South London Delta had spawned some superb musicians. We persuaded Dave and Jo-Ann Kelly to join us, along with Mel Wright (drums), Steve Rye (harmonica), and John Altman (alto and tenor sax, flute and clarinet). We gave our guests free rein with regard to singing and writing. Dave Kelly wrote five songs for the album, including the title track, "I Wish You Would". His "Good Golly Miss Kelly" contained the classic backhanded complimentary line; "You sweat less than any other fat girl I know". My two songs were certainly cries from the heart; "On The Road" about the obsessive need for musicians to tour, and "C&W Blues" about my neighbours from hell. Peter Green, my old Fleetwood Mac chum additionally contributed a fiery instrumental track entitled "Uranus".
"I Wish You Would" would be the last Brunning Sunflower Blues Band album for Saga Records. The period between 1969 and 1971 had been a hectic one for Bob Hall and I.
This CD is dedicated to the memory of Jo-Ann Kelly and Steve Rye.
Indigo Records will be releasing "Bullen Street Blues" & "Trackside Blues" as two albums on one CD.
I Wish You Would featuring:
Brunning Hall Sunflower Blues Band featuring:
2 LP's on 1 CD
All timings are approximate.
Mastered by Mark at Porky's, London.
(P) (C) 1999 Indigo Records
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Fax: 0171 267 6746
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Made in England/the E.E.C.
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Indigo Recordings Ltd.
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Compact Disc Digital Audio
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