Olympic Blues.

Here is one of life’s little mysteries – So much has happened in
the last ten months, in London, let alone the world. With the Queen’s
rain-soaked diamond Jubilee celebrations, the heady euphoria of a month
of Olympic and Paralympic games; closer to home, the Privateering
sessions, the amazing Vicente Amigo sessions, BluesClub gigs and various
other events….why does it seem like only yesterday that we were here?

There’s a certain irony in Mark’s album cover art as I
often think back to my ‘apprenticeship’ and the mid 1970’s, driving up
and down the M1 in the back of a beaten up Bedford CA panel van with a
three speed gearbox, (maybe one was broken) no tax, insurance or MOT and
a part of me misses the sheer excitement and camaraderie of covering
ridiculous mileages to some dodgy club in the North West and playing our
set to sometimes as many as 4 people. The camaraderie is in actual fact
still there, as strong as ever and the allure of touring hasn’t
diminished in the slightest. A large part of what makes something so
enjoyable is the people with whom you work and over the years a team of
professionals (and friends) has evolved and emerged which make the whole
experience something special. Knowing of course there are people
willing to fork out hard earned cash and come to a show is heartening
and having such a well known catalog and a continuous stream of new
songs from our imperious leader which shows no sign of slowing is the
source of most of the energy and enthusiasm. So to another tour of North

The familiar rumble that is London post-Olympic
traffic can be heard through the very same windows that fifty weeks ago
failed to silence the howling gale that greeted us to our London hotel
way back then. The weather this month in the UK is doing its level best
to make up for an appalling Summer of rain, wind and chill. It really
does seem like only a few weeks ago we were assembled for rehearsals for
our intrepid outing with the ‘poet laureate of rock ‘n’ roll. The voice
of the promise of the 60s counterculture. The guy who forced folk into
bed with rock. Who donned makeup in the 70s and disappeared into a haze
of substance abuse. Who emerged to find Jesus…….etc…etc… Mr. Bob

Since our last show at the nostalgic Hammersmith Odeon
back in 2011, Bob has hardly stopped gigging and recording having
toured South America and parts of the US pausing only to record his new
album ‘Tempest’, which I listen to as I write this. Now a year on, we
look forward to re-acquainting ourselves with Bob’s band and crew who
were so accommodating last year. We had many great times backstage,
before the shows not least our jam sessions with fiddles, banjos,
whistles and accordions. The European tour was obviously a success and I
would even venture to say that Bob enjoyed having us around, although
I could never say for sure.

We are now in our second full week of rehearsal, the
set-lists are pretty much all decided and as usual we have many ‘option’
slots in the list where we will substitute one song for another etc. so
expect a varying set each night. The only down side being the limited
time we have on stage but we’ll be as much music as we can into each
performance. The new double album ‘Privateering’ is out worldwide with
the ironic exception of the U.S. and as I’ve mentioned in the forum, I
am unable to comment on the reasons for this. Needless to say, this is
frustrating in the extreme. The reviews so far have been extremely
positive and the fan reaction, nothing short of amazing. It seems it’s a
bit of a winner…well we like it too.

The journey begins. My cases line up ready to leave my studio bound for the rehearsal rooms in London.

The setlist for the Range Rover launch gig

and the new Range Rover…

The new Hammond XK3c is now in the line-up. It’s a truly wonderful bit of kit and means I won’t be doing any stage hopping to go across and play the B3 on Jim’s side on this tour.

Nigel Hitchcock at the Tower of London. It was great to have Nigel in the band albeit briefly, he’s a great lad and a wonderful player.

(pic Pete Mackay)

Keyboard player disintegrates during heavy rehearsal session..

Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported. (David St. Hubbins)