added Jan 04
THE BLUES BAND
As enthusiastic as ever, The Blues Band continue to be Britain's finest, most skilled practitioners in the art of the blues. 2004 found them undertaking their 25th Anniversary tour!
The story begins .... In 1979 Paul Jones, ex front man of chart-topping '60s UK band Manfred Mann, was working mainly as an actor in London's West End squeezing in a few harmonica sessions in the day time. He missed playing his favourite music, the Blues, and decided to contact his old Manfred Mann colleague, Tom McGuinness, to discuss the idea of forming a band. "just to play some blues. "It was intended to be just a part-time occupation around London's pubs; they expected just "beer money" and to have some fun. Jones and McGuinness recruited ex John Mayall drummer Hughie Flint (Tom & Hughie had enjoyed chart success in the 70s as McGuinness Flint). Tom heard on the grapevine that Blues bottleneck guitarist Dave Kelly (from The John Dummer Blues Band - and brother of Jo Ann Kelly, also a very successful blues singer) was currently available and invited him along for a rehearsal. Dave took along his bass player friend, Gary Fletcher.
Within weeks these masters of R&B were packing the pubs in and around London. However, record companies had no interest in a group of ex-Sixties stars, no matter how good they were. This was no deterrent - the band recorded the first album, The Official Blues Band Bootleg Album, and sold it directly to their fans by mail order. Suddenly management companies became interested in this little money spinner. The album sleeve was blank white - the band hand-stamped their Blues Band logo on to it - and spent hours signing the first 3000. Radio One DJ Simon Bates raved about it - then surprise, surprise - the sales rate of this cottage industry record opened the eyes of several major record labels. A record deal was signed with Arista Ariola (later to become BMG Records).
The following years were filled with success. A high profile appearance on Germany's premier TV show "Rockpalast" launched the band in Europe and the demand for tours, festival appearances and TV work was astounding. In Britain the band left behind the pub circuit, toured concert venues and Blues and Rock Festivals, and were one of the headlining acts at Glastonbury in 1982.
Their EP Maggie's Farm entered the UK singles charts and their albums Bootleg, Ready, Itchy Feet and Brand Loyalty all entered the charts. Twelve successful albums have since followed expressing a host of styles and influences.. acoustic records, big band brass sections, but always The Blues, pure and simple - from the band with the pure and simple name, THE BLUES BAND.
Sixteen albums have been recorded, countless tours completed and the demand continues to grow for their very special, very personal interpretation of the music they all love. Fashions come and go, musical genre too. But not only is the Blues always there, The Blues Band are too. The individual members were already held in admiration by generations of rhythm & blues fans when they formed back in 1979. Almost two and a half decades and 16 albums later they continue to add to their growing army of followers. It's not unheard of to find three generations from the same family at a gig!
The band is today acknowledged throughout Europe and beyond as the best purveyors of rhythm and blues. It's members have inspired numerous other blues bands, many of whom have come and gone, whereas The Blues Band have remained a constant, increasingly popular fixture, and all with only a modicum of help from the record business. As the band sometimes joke: "The music industry doesn't bother us and we don't bother them."
This independent streak goes right back to those early days when the band "bootlegged" their own first album - certain copies of which are now collector's items. It's a credit to both their inordinate talent and to their many thousands of fans' loyalty and support that they have sustained such a long career, and brings into question the oft-spoken phrase by parents despairing of their aspiring musical offspring: "When are you going to get yourself a proper job?"
For the latest info visit The Blues Band website.