National Blues Festival 2009
Although it was difficult to better last
year’s 20th festival and celebrations, 2009 overall I felt
was better balanced.
Once again we were treated to Americans
who rarely visit the UK and it is to Burnley’s credit that they secure
prestigious acts – the Burnley pedigree does have a lot of clout in The
States but it beggars belief as to why it wasn’t sold out - surely folk
know by now that Burnley always serves up quality - just because some
of the main acts may not be household names doesn’t mean they aren’t
quality - credit crunch – bollocks – the M.E.N. sells out just for a
night of karaoke – thank God I’m one of the minority not the moronic.
Well that’s enough of the soap box, onto
the music – bearing in mind this is only a ‘snapshot’.
On Friday it was great to have Lightnin’
Willie and The Poorboys here. Although they are regular visitors to our
shores this doesn’t mean they aren’t good enough for Burnley – far from
it. They are so entertaining and the stories that Willie tells makes for
an all round performance.
With Lil' Ed.. great
performer, but not top of my friendship list... he wouldn't give me his
Saturday saw the return to the Pendle
area of Ricky Cool, but this time with his band – and what good time
stuff it was.
Doug MacLeod made a mockery of loud music – magical.
Chris with Doug MacLeod....
no wonder he's looking happy.... the audience loved him
With Oliver Darling.
All the innocence of youth.... and me with my rug on that I got
for 50p in The Gambia
The man who can do no wrong for me, Earl
Thomas, with his resident UK band, Paddy Milner and the Big Sound were
And to finish off, the best of the west
coast, Rod Piazza, came in direct from L. A. – no joking to send all the
harp fanatics into raptures – fantastic stuff.
Honey and Rod
Sunday’s highlights for me were the call
and response duet during his encore when Hamilton Loomis brought onto
the stage 13 year old Alex McKown – this young lad could be pretty good
– he’s got a nice delicate touch – plays the guitar, doesn’t thrash it.
Hamilton Loomis and Alex
The blues is in safe hands
with this young man
Chris with Hamilton Loomis
Then Kenny Neal, from the Baton Rouge
area of Louisiana. Although not everybody’s cup of tea (he can be a bit
funky) I couldn’t wait for his act and he didn’t disappoint. What a
family of musicians.
Chris with Kenny Neal (far
right), members of Kenny's band (family) and Teardrops Manager (far
And to finish the festival, Chicago
legend, Magic Slim and the Teardrops. Although not in the best of
health, once he’d warmed up the groove he got going was the business and
when he brought Kenny Neal to play harp with him – great stuff!
Chris with Magic
Slim (who looks as tho' he's had another good night on the sauce)
TIME FOR SOME OF THOSE
That's right.... someone is
missing their curtains from their front room
Looking at this.... you'd
think I could sing
Somebody said you can't get
Dickie Bows like this anymore.... thank God
Notice how I've made sure my
socks are the same colour as in the pattern of the carpet
Rumour has it that a Peary
King - or is it Queen, has been after this hat
As usual when I'm at Burnley
I'm proud as a peacock
Little did we know on Easter
Sunday 2009 that The Burnley National Blues Festival would also be
taking its final bow.
My personal thanks to
EVERYONE connected with the festival for such a wonderful event. I've
got some very special memories. I will miss it.
National Blues Festival 2008
EMCEE at the 20th Anniversary of this festival was a pleasure and from
feedback from the punters it was the best for many years.
Burnley is the longest
running Blues / R&B Festival in the country and long may it continue,
especially with the support of AIRCELLE, a Burnley based firm.
Some of my favourite photos
from this festival and other Burnley moments are featured below.
at the 20th Burnley National Blues Festival 2008
Let me set the scene.
It's backstage at the
Burnley National Blues Festival. The area is
liken to a rabbit warren..... corridors, steps up and down, left and
right turns, doors that open in different directions.... it all adds
character to the event.
O.K. ...... so here we go.
I'm in my dressing room (surprise, surprise) and a call goes out over
the intercom ..... 'Henry Butler to the stage area please'.
For those not familiar with Henry he's a blind pianist from New Orleans
and on this occasion he's appearing solo, so I decide it would be the
right thing to do to guide him to the stage.
Henry duly puts his left hand
on my right shoulder and we begin the journey. In a slightly
raised voice ... as is often the case when a sighted person speaks to
someone blind ..... I say "We go straight for a short while
Henry"....."Now take a left"..... In a typical N'Awlins drawl Henry
chips in ..... "Chris, you can go a bit faster y'know". So I
quicken the pace and with raised voice give the instructions ..... "Two
steps down here Henry" ..... "We're coming to a door now Henry" .....
When at this juncture Henry pointedly informs me.... "Chris, I may be
blind, but I sure ain't deaf!!".
What a Top Man!