Recorded at: Alchemea Studios, Camdon, London
Graphic design: Bob Brunning and LandGraphics, Amsterdam
The De Luxe Blues Band started life back in 1981 when American guitarist/singer Danny Adler was asked to put a band together to back visiting U.S. artiste Eddy Clearwater. Danny phoned pianist Bob Hall and Mickey Waller, the drummer who had played with Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart and many other big names. Bob suggested to Danny that I make up the foursome on bass and Eureka! We had a Band.
I then sensed an opportunity. I rang up a Virgin Records A & R man and invited him to come and see the band play at the concert. I didn't feel it necessary to point out to him that he would be witnessing our first ever gig together and without the benefit of any rehearsal. He came, saw and was conquered. Much to my surprise I got a call the next day offering us a Virgin recording contract. Gulp. Moreover he wanted to record us live, in concert, soon. Larger gulp.
So Virgin hauled their brand new digital mobile recording studio to the famous Half Moon club in South London and recorded the entire set.
Little did they know that they were preserving on tape the band's first ever "proper" gig. We certainly didn't tell them, and our first album was released a couple of months later, in October 1981.
Savoy Brown and Groundhogs veteran Bob Hall, Danny Adler, Mickey and I then started an enjoyable career touring the U.K., Italy, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Belgium and Holland for close on a decade. We made four more albums and enjoyed our life on the road (during my holidays: I was, and still am, the headmaster of a primary school). Bob was the first to become disenchated and quit halfway through an Italian tour. However by then we had welcomed Dick Heckstall-Smith aboard ship and he proved to be a more than adequate replacement. Dick, of course, is one of Europe's most talented horn players and one of the very few who primarly plays the blues. Most sax players favour jazz, although they may be adept at playing blues fills. Dick was a founder member of the Graham Bond Organisation, and went on to play with John Mayall, Collosseum, and many other well known bands before joining the De luxe Blues Band.
The band decided to call it a day, albiet temporarily as it would turn out, when, in 1991, Danny Adler returned to the States for personal reasons. I welcomed the respite and Dick and Mickey continued to play with several other bands. But we all kept in touch and when I asked them whether they would be interested in re-forming the De Luxe Blues Band in 1993 they were immediately keen. But how to replace Danny?
I had meawhile been invited to join London blues band Buffalo Phil at around that time and when I heard Phil Taylor, the Vocalist and harp player, Dave Beaumont, the excellent slide guitar player and Allan Vincent, their experienced and talented guitarist, I didn't hesitate. Would they be interested in joining a "new" De Luxe Blues Band with Mickey Waller and Dick Heckstall-Smith? Yes, they would. We started rehearsing.
The next logical step seemed to be to record an album. And I had an idea. I had been researching material for my new book, "Blues in Britain: 50's to the 90's" at the time and had interviewed various U.K. blues artistes. Why not try and involve some of them in the project and produce an album that featured the new De Luxes with some special guests? So that's what we did. It was a great pleasure for us to invite musicians Otis Grand, Earl Green, Johnny Mars, Paul Lamb, Chris Rees and Big Joe Louis into the studio and give them their head.
I then asked Big Joe Louis and veteran record producer Mike Vernon which record company they would recommand to release the material. Without hesitation they both said, "Tramp", based in Amsterdam, run by a real enthusiast. I rang up owner Paul Duvivie rather tentatively to see if he might be interested expecting the usual protracted negotiations. Being a man of quick decisions and employing a welcome economy of words, Paul politely cut me short, simply saying, "Yes, we have a deal".
So here it is. The De Luxe Blues Band's sixth recording. By the way, there's a "bonus" track featuring the Sensational King Biscuit Band recorded live at London's Hundred Club during a star studded benefit concert for Dick Heckstall-Smith, who was ill at the time. The concert was filmed and recorded and, hopefully, will be seen as a six part T.V. series called "One Hundred Per Cent Blues" on your local T.V. station soon. The De Luxe connection? I played bass with the Sensational King Biscuit Blues Band for the occasion and actually joined them for one week! But that's another story.
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